The demonetization drive initiated by the Modi Government 10 days ago has not dampened the spirits of cinemagoers in India. In fact, the exhibition industry has welcomed the move with open arms especially since they have witnessed a hike in cashless transactions.
“Demonetization is definitely a positive step taken by the Government of India and we support this step. It has not affected the exhibition industry much and this move has also certainly increased online ticket sales. So, we believe it is a revolutionary step and will go long way in the growth of our nation,” Director – Strategic Initiatives, Cinépolis India, Devang Sampat, told Indiaretailing Bureau.
Resonating the same thoughts, VP – Operations, Wave Cinemas, Yogesh Raizada said, “There has been no negative impact of demonetization. It has been a positive move for us. Before the Government’s announcement to ban Rs 500 and Rs 1,000, online ticket booking contributed 40 per cent of the total sales but post currency ban it has risen to 60 per cent.”
Cinema lovers in Tier II and Tier III cities are also opting for online bookings just like their counterparts in Tier I and metro cities. And to increase these numbers further, cinema halls are working overtime to attract consumers.
“Generally our online booking contributes 35-40 per cent to the overall collections and due to decommissioning of currency notes it has gone up 10-15 percent in Tier II and III cities and up to 20 per cent in metro and Tier I cities,” said CEO and Director, Carnival Cinemas, PV Sunil.
Similarly, CEO, PVR Cinemas, Gautam Dutta said, “Demonetization is a positive step towards the development of our country and the cinema business certainly support the Government for it. And with the withdrawal of currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 denomination, we have seen a swift impact with increase in online penetration for booking tickets and credit card usage across theatres. We have also mapped out this data for the weekend and compared it with the previous weekend. The online ticket sales have increased to good 61 per cent as compared to 53 per cent last week. We are working hard to create more convenient and seamless ways for patrons to take benefit of the online services by bookings through apps, website, and e-wallets.”
Digital Payments – A Bright Future
Before demonetization, digital payments constituted a minor share of cinema revenues as opposed to cash, but post the note ban, movie giants are expecting the arena will grow significantly.
“Instead of offering discounts, we are open to different types of payments options. We are accepting all debit and credit cards and have tie ups with payment gateways as well as mobile wallet firms to promote cashless transactions,” said Raizada.
Online Customer – A Clear Winner
Cinema hall owners are playing it smart and ensnaring online audience with attractive offers including discounts and freebies.
“Since, the ongoing demonetization is restricted to currency notes in circulation, online booking is a feasible option. We are offering a 30 per cent discount on online bookings, “said Cinépolis’ Sampat.
Cinépolis India – an auxillary of a Mexican theatre major with 265 screens in India – is offering a 20 per cent discount on tickets booked through its website as well as through Paytm or Bookmyshow.
The chain is also endorsing tie-ups with the leading booking aggregators like; Bookmyshow, PayTM, Tixdo which will also ensure online offers are extended on their platforms.”
Discounts on F&B, and convenience fees are some more things movie majors like PVR are draw more online customers.
PVR Cinemas, for example, is aggressively pushing its failed app and website by waiving off the convenience fee, giving 35 per cent discount on pre-booking of F&B and also, giving extra 20 per cent discount to the first time users,” concluded Dutta.