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    “India has the potential to significantly increase the number of existing multiplex screens in the country over the next decade”

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    Q. PVR has opened around 101 outlets in India. How has the journey been for the company so far?

    The journey has been an interesting one. With a remarkable presence in metropolitan cities, PVR has also catered to customers in tier-2 and -3 cities, penetrating equally into both these markets.

    PVR has strategically planned all outlets and has always stayed ahead of the curve in providing customised experience to every market through path-breaking innovations. This it manages to do by paying attention to the minutest details while launching any multiplex in a region. With different formats ranging from Director’ s Cut, Premier and Gold Class for the urban audience to PVR Talkies in tier-2 and -3 cities, PVR has touched the lives of millions of movie enthusiasts.

    Being the largest cinema exhibition company of India, PVR has also undertaken the initiative to support independent movies under its banner, such as Directors’ Rare, and hence catering to a very niche but equally important audience, who has been starved of rich content movies. With PVR Pictures, another subsidiary, PVR strives to provide the best of Hollywood movies to the Indian audiences, in tandem with the Hollywood release, so that our patrons get a global cinema watching feel. The latest movie acquired by PVR is Fox Catcher.

    Adding to this, another subsidiary, PVR leisure, which caters to the hospitality sector, is catering our patrons with its two high-end restaurants, Mistral in Delhi and Mr Hong in Bengaluru, and bluO, India’s biggest bowling chain with 135 cosmic lanes.

    Q. You are opening your first Superplex. Do you think India is ready for such a format?

    According to the recent KPMG report, multiplexes, as of today, account for approximately 25 per cent of the total number of screens in the country with a low screen density of 8 screens per million in comparison with 117 per million in the US. Given the low screen penetration, India has the potential to significantly increase the number of existing multiplex screens in the country over the next decade without causing an oversupply of screens.
    In 2013, the industry added approximately 150–200 screens, with major growth registered from expansion of multiplexes in tier-II and -III cities. Occupancy levels for major multiplex players have risen from approximately 23–27 per cent in 2011, to more than 30 per cent in 2013. This is a clear indicator and gives the industry a boost to expand the number of multiplexes. Moreover, the Superplex is such a refined and well-planned format that it becomes a one-stop destination for wholesome family entertainment. With multiple auditoriums that are strategically built under one roof in different formats, PVR aims to provide a holistic family entertainment package where our patrons may club cinema watching with other leisure activities. From latest technology offerings such as IMAX and 3D and 4K (ultra high-definition) digital experience, to specially designed seats, menu and interiors for children and senior citizens, the company is looking to drive up occupancies.

    Q. What kind of investment have you put in this project?

    The Superplex is expected to be operational by 2015, and the project would cost the company about Rs. 50 crore to develop.

    Q. How long does it take for your multiplex to break even?

    There are many factors that have an impact on the revenues. Ranging from the geographical location to understanding the target market segment, the socio strata of that segment and the catchment area of that location – all are significant factors that impact revenue. Though, we may say that it takes at least 3–4 years to break even.

    Q. Give us a brief about this project? What will be its USP?

    PVR, the largest cinema exhibition company in India, has constantly pioneered new innovations and pumped in world-class ideas in the multiplex business. With a vision to cater to its patrons, PVR has come up with yet another exceptional concept of Superplex, PVR’s biggest property with 15 screens in India. The Superplex will witness various world-class formats of PVR ranging from IMAX, ECX (enhanced movie experience), PVR Premier, Director’s Cut, PVR 4DX and PVR Playhouse all under one roof.

    At a time when consumers have latest technology equipped home theatres and devices, PVR Superplex vouches to attract its patrons to invest their time to have best cinema watching experience. With a world-class format of Director’s Cut, the Superplex offers luxurious auditoriums, complete with reclining chairs, table lamp, call button, and 7.1 Dolby digital sound experience. The concept promises to allure the connoisseurs of luxury and films alike. In addition, the Superplex brings PVR Premier as well, which promises next-level premium cinemas for the audience segment that desires a great cinema experience and will pay a degree of premium for it. The interiors and identity of these auditoriums are plush, sophisticated and cool. PVR Superplex also offers IMAX, the world’s most immersive cinema experience. With a state-of-the-art projection and sound system, it enhances the movie watching experience further.

    PVR Superplex will also offer in-class 4DX motion seats. This is yet another step in enhancing the stimulation of the human senses to further draw one into the movie. The auditorium is equipped with high technology motion seats that move in perfect sync with on-screen action. One can experience special effects such as wind, fog, lightning, or scents that enhance what one watches on the screen. Adding to this, there is ECX – a format that is high on technology. Bear witness to the colossal screen armed with Dolby ATMOS surround system with Harmon Kardon audio, real 3D and 4K digital projection, which ensures that 100 per cent surround is captured along with unsurpassed picture clarity.

    PVR Superplex will also have a special auditorium designed called the PVR Playhouse – an exclusive fun and entertainment destination for children.
    PVR Playhouse will witness a space exclusively for kids to be at their natural best. The auditorium will have half dim light – brighter lighting than other formats – cartoon characters both on and off screen and special seating facilities like bean bags to create a comfortable environment. For younger kids, PVR will provide visual attractions like plays.

    With its newest innovation, PVR envisions to capture a wide spectrum of audience and provide peerless family entertainment package.

    Q. Kind of footfall are you expecting?

    Noida has evolved and developed leaps and bounds over the past few years. The place has not only attracted a lot of big corporate houses but simultaneously has drawn plush residential housing complexes. Therefore, to cater to this new untapped market, PVR has come to provide next-level entertainment to the people. Moreover, the location is apt for this new concept, as the Logix Mall is situated right next to the metro station with proper parking. Also, it is a destination that can cater to the potential audience of Noida as well as mature patrons from Delhi and NCR regions.

    Q. Are you planning to take the Superplex format to other cities as well?

    Depending on availability of malls and consumer response, PVR’s long-term plan is to open two such megaplexes in each state. The next one is expected to be even bigger with 20 screens in Bengaluru. PVR has also identified immense potential in launching its Superplex in smaller cities.

    Q. How important is a multiplex for a mall or a mixed-use property?

    The association between multiplexes and malls is symbiotic in nature, as both entities get to feed off each other’s footfalls. But now-a-days, with the increasing number of movie releases a year and the services provided by multiplexes, malls are designed around multiplexes. Considering the dynamic nature of the business, real estate developers are setting up multiplexes in their malls to attract more footfalls. Going by our excellent brand recall, every mall wants to associate with PVR because our presence increases the rentals by 20 per cent.

    Q. How important is F&B as a component in multiplex business?

    PVR has not only been a catalyst for the retail sector but has also introduced many innovations in the F&B segment. Apart from offering the regular nachos, cold drinks and popcorns, PVR serves a wide variety of food and kiosks, serving multiple cuisines. At Director’s Cut, PVR offers a full-fledged menu and the facility to ‘order at your seat’ to the patrons. Not only at the auditoriums, PVR has gone beyond to serve its patrons by introducing two successfully running restaurants – Mistral (in Delhi) and Mr Hong (at Bengaluru). Both offer premium class food, ambience and dining facilities.

    If we look at the profits, PVR has recently announced its quarter results (Q1).

    • The consolidated revenues for quarter ended June 30, 2014 was Rs. 363.44 crore as compared to Rs. 337.26 crore – up by 8 per cent.
    • Food and beverage revenues showed a strong growth of 20 per cent over corresponding quarter of previous year.
    • On an average, the contribution of food and beverages to the revenue of multiplexes has almost doubled from 10–15 per cent over the past 3–4 years.
    • Cinema operators see huge potential in increasing volumes 20–30 per cent every year as patrons spend more on a diverse menu.

    Q. Which format do you prefer the most – malls, mixed-use properties or high streets? Why?

    The location of a property is chosen from a holistic point of view. Good location is a crucial factor from the retail business. Now-a-days, people are willing to spend but they require a combine package of cinema watching experience with other leisure activities that a good mall provides. Therefore, we can comfortably say that malls are attracting huge footfalls like never before. With prominent real estate developers taking keen interest in the setup of properties in accordance to multiplexes, to multiply the footfalls, PVR looks at building the best of infrastructure along with state-of-the-art technology.

    Q. Which target group are you cater to?

    We plan to cater to all age groups, across all economic classes. Since the Superplex has been strategically planned to bring all the world-class formats under one roof, we envision to cater to a wide spectrum of audiences with this initiative. Director’s Cut and PVR Premiere offer the best of luxury cinematic experience to the audience. And with advanced technologies like PVR 4DX and ECX, we are targeting the youth, who wants the latest technology with the best of audio-visual effects.

    Also, if we see, in India movie watching theoretically begins from the age of 5, but we do not provide anything for five-year-olds. We have realised that the categories of ages 5–9 need to be addressed. Therefore, we are introducing a fresh concept of PVR- Playhouse at the Superplex to address this target group. PVR Playhouse is a space designed for kids to be at their natural best. The kids auditorium with play seats for small kids, bean bags, rubberised flooring for easy topple, auditoriums on half- dim light, cartoon characters both on and off screen and the middle alley will have a slope just like a slide for kids to have fun.

    With its newest innovation Superplex, PVR envisions to capture a wide spectrum of audience and provide peerless family entertainment package.

    Q. Which cities are you planning to capture in the near future?

    The company has grown exponentially in the Indian market with 23 screens being launched in the first quarter FY 2014–15 across Ludhiana, Mangalore, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad and Hubli. It currently has 445 screens in 101 properties spread across 43 cities and targets to touch 1,000 screens by 2017–18. PVR now plans to invest Rs. 250 crore to add 100 new screens this fiscal.