A lot of tech goes into building PVR & getting it mall ready: Gautam Dutta, CEO PVR Cinemas

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Cinema is the oldest mode of entertainment not only in India but globally. For decades it has been the only form of entertainment for Indians. When shopping malls hit upon the idea of hosting cineplexes within their premises, PVR was their first choice. The brand is the leading cineplex company in India which has been entertaining consumers since a long time.
The company commercially became PVR in 1997. The brand has a strong presence with 628 screens in 135 locations across 51 Indian cities and is growing nonstop. In an exclusive interview, Gautam Dutta, CEO, PVR Cinemas, talks about the brand and its impact on the FEC industry in India.
How much capital is required to become a brand that malls seek? How different is it region or city wise?
The key element for the success of a mall is its ability to drive footfalls and multiplexes being a footfall generator, mall developers prefer PVR as their anchor tenant.
We typically spend around Rs 2.5 crore to Rs 3 crore per screen depending on the location of the mall, development around the city, tier classification of the city and future potential.
Additionally, for technology towards special formats like IMAX/ PXL/ 4DX/ PlayHouse/ Cinema LED Screen, this can go up by Rs 2 crore to Rs 10 crore.
What kind of malls does a brand like PVR Cinemas target?
We prefer to get associated with A+ Malls built by developers with strong credentials whose projects are located in established prime city/catchment areas or upcoming areas being developed which are apt in size to cater to audiences of these markets.
What is the USP of PVR?
Customer comfort, modern screening/projection/sound technology are the strong points of PVR cinemas across the country. PVR pursues a strategy of ‘total immersive movie-going experience’, which means not only watching the film on-screen is important but also offering other services and experiences which provide a 360-degree seamless experience from the time consumer books the ticket to the time he/she exits. This includes our mobile app, website, Quick Tix Kiosk, self-ordering food kiosks, ticketless entry, recliners, service on seat and a varied food menu.
PVR positions itself as the best out-of-home entertainment destination in the country. In other words, a place that spreads happiness enabling a patron to enjoy a three-hour movie-cation and leading to a complete family entertainment experience.
Tell us about the technology involved in building PVR and getting it mall ready?
Technology plays an integral part in building the PVR Cinemas. It involves the best in class projection technology such as laser projector and 4K, 2K tech. Furthermore,we have globally accepted latest gain/silver screens, sound technology – such as the immersive DOLBY ATMOS/DTS-X or Dolby 7.1 surround sound.
Beyond this is the back-end technology support to run servers, box office, concessionaire quick-tix, quick-bites, plasmas, video walls etc. Then are the latest cinema formats such as IMAX, 4DX, Cinema LED Screen ‘Onyx’, Gold Class, Playhouse besides our home grown big movie screen format P(XL) or Premium Extra Large with Dual 4K and RGB laser projection system.
All these add on to convert a mainstream cinema to a premiere multiplex. As of date, PVR offers an array of formats with premium screen category, which stands at 36 screens of Gold Class, 07 of IMAX, 08 of 4DX, 04 of PXL and 04 of Playhouse across the country.
PVR recently launched a new Virtual Reality (VR) Lounge at PVR ECX, Mall of India, Noida. What makes it different from the rest on technological and experience lines?
The Virtual Reality lounge at PVR ECX is an off-screen unique concept in a multiplex. It is a whole new dimension of entertainment; an experience of a world that doesn’t actually exist. It is created by computers that allow you to experience and interact with a 3D world that isn’t real by putting on a head-mounted display. At the cinema, there are four VR pods equipped with latest ground-breaking technology by HP that delivers an unparalleled immersive and interactive experience, blurring the lines between what’s real and what’s not; for instance, from crouching behind turrets to diving on the ground, from avoiding strafing bullets to seeing a grotesque image lurking nearby, those few intense minutes in VR lounge keeps movie lovers fastened to the virtual reality. Besides the best in class technology, the HP VR Lounge also provides a whole new library of fascinating and adventurous immersive and interactive content curated from various different genres like drama, fiction, sci-fi, horror, action etc.
What new technological innovations are you planning on bringing in to lure consumers?
We are a pioneer in bringing new cinema exhibition technologies in India and believein keeping pace with changing times. All technological upgrades that we embark upon are geared towards providing better experiences to patrons, increase operational efficiencies and positioning ourselves as the preferred out of home entertainment destination. We are keen on bringing in new technologies / innovations into our cinema circuit and are in constant discussions with various players in the space to become the first in introducing world-class cinematic technology to India.
What is your revenue sharing model with malls?
We typically share a percent of net revenues from sale of tickets and F&B. However, a very few deals have fixed rentals as well.
What’s your rental agreement with malls?
We generally intend to sign long leases of 20-30 years. Sometimes the nature of agreement varies from property to property depending upon the requirement of the specific property.

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