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Metro Cinema Completes Exceptional Cinema Experience with Auro 11.1 Barco, a global leader in digital cinema technology, announced that Metro Cinema, one of the oldest and most famous art deco multiplexes in Mumbai, has recently been adorned with the Auro 11.1 by Barco immersive sound technology. This unique sound format is designed to complement the crisp clear images on screen with an unmatched auditory experience. After HDIL Broadway, Metro Cinema-owned by major Indian cinema chain BIG Cinemas, itself a division of Reliance MediaWorks-is the pioneer Bollywood theater to adopt this high-end, sound platform. Opened back in 1938, Metro Cinema has long been the most famous redcarpet theatre in Bollywood. To propel the theatre's reputation for extraordinary moviegoing experiences into the 21st century, current owner BIG Cinemas decided to install the Auro 11.1 by Barco speaker layout at its art deco showpiece.

Beyond vision Barco was no stranger to BIG Cinemas. For many years, both companies have worked together to create compelling images. Today, many of BIG's 516 screens are lit by the iconic Barco DP2K projectors, to the satisfaction of both visitors and exhibitors. In addition, the chain uses many Barco post-production projectors at its various studios. "After witnessing the Auro 11.1 demonstration at the Whistling Woods Institute last month, we knew that Barco could help us with more than just visualization," says Shirish Srivastava, Marketing Head at Metro Cinema. "Auro 11.1's unique, threelayer approach evokes impactful and

Inox in Talks to Buy Satyam Cineplexes Multiplex operator Inox Leisure is in talks with Satyam Cineplexes to buy the Gurgaon-based rival, a move which would expand its foothold further in the film exhibition market in the northern region. According to the sources, Inox is in talks with Satyam Cineplexes to acquire its movie exhibition business. "We are in talks with Satyam Cineplexes to acquire it. It is still at very early stages," the source said.

lifelike sound unlike anything I've heard before. It is perfectly in line with our aspiration to offer a complete, immersive experience."

Great integration To have the sound platform installed at Metro Theater, BIG Cinemas called upon Barco's business partner in India, R&S. Anirvan, head of R&S, has excellent relations with BIG Cinemas: "We have offered support for most of BIG's projects in Mumbai, so we were already well-acquainted. The installation of Auro 11.1 by Barco at the Metro Theater went very smoothly as well, and we managed to get it done within the set timeframe."

Barco goes Bollywood The installation of Auro 11.1 by Barco at Metro Cinema is already making waves among the industry minds and movie lovers. Brian Claypool, senior director strategic business development, digital cinema at Barco, is pleased with the format's steady rollout in the heart of Bollywood. "We are very happy to see renowned theaters all over India recognise the unique differentiating features of the platform. In India's booming cinema industry, offering an unmatched experience can make all the difference."

The source, however, declined to share any information related to the price, funding process and the time for completion of the deal if once finalised. If the deal is through, it would strengthen Inox's presence in the northern region, which is dominated by Ajai Bijli-led PVR. Inox has presence in 44 cities and operates 80 multiplexes with 313 screens. It is expanding at smaller places such as Jammu, Mangalore etc. Meanwhile, Satyam Cineplexes operates 38 screens in 6 cities with 9 multiplexes. It has presence in northern region at places such as New Delhi, Rohtak, Amrtisar, Jaipur and Indore. It has also presence at Mysore and Aurangabad. In May 2013, Inox had merged Fame India, a multiplex cinema theatre firm, with the company after acquiring controlling stake in 2011. Similarly, in 2007, Calcutta Cinema Private Ltd (CCPL) a West Bengalbased multiplex theatre firm was merged with Inox.

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HARMAN Authorised Service Centre in Bangalore HARMAN Professional India continues to expand its world-class service network with the opening of its Authorised HARMAN Service Centre in Bangalore (AHSC). The new service centre was opened by Blake Augsburger, HARMAN Executive Vice President and President HARMAN Professional Division, who highlighted the new facility as evidence of HARMAN Professional's strong commitment to service and support and its determination to 'being closer to the customer'. Staffed by highly trained technical personnel, equipped with the most advanced diagnostic and repair tools and featuring a robust inventory of spare parts, this new service centre is immediately operational and will support customers of all HARMAN Professional brands including AKG, BSS Audio, Crown, dbx, JBL, Lexicon, Soundcraft and Martin Professional range of lighting & video equipment. The current HARMAN-owned Service Centre in Bangalore will henceforth perform the role of Center of Excellence (COE). The Centre will enhance our service delivery by providing technical service trainings for the on-ground team thereby helping them tackle issues such as critical trouble shooting of products, seamless spare part flow, monitoring performance level of the service network and ensuring higher level of customer satisfaction. Sinon Services, recognised for its strong experience in servicing


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208-8880) which reflects the company's determination to set benchmark in the industry for service and support. Commenting on the opening, Blake Augsburger noted, "Across the globe, HARMAN Professional's mission is not simply to build the most useful, reliable and innovative AV systems but also to be an organisation that is very easy to work with. The opening of this new authorised service centre in Bangalore is an extension of our global strategy, is an act of confidence in our systems and a show of commitment to our customers in this region."

leading brands in consumer electronics and professional AV, has been appointed as operating partner for the new Bangalore Authorized HARMAN Service Centre. Located at Kammanahalli, with easy accessibility to the Central Business District and in close proximity to key customers in the city, the 1400 sq ft service centre will provide after sales support to both, walk-in and on-site customers. Since the opening of the first AHSC in Mumbai over a year ago, HARMAN Professional has rapidly expanded its service footprint across New Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai and now Bangalore. This network compliments the pan-India toll-free customer support helpline-(1800-

"Our primary aim is to provide easy access to our walk-in customers, where one can not only purchase spare parts and accessories for their range of HARMAN Professional products, but can now 'pick up & drop off' products while carrying out repair activities. We look forward to further expand our footprint in India through our expansive dealer and channel partner network that includes Sinon Service in Bangalore", said Prashant Govindan, Director, India Operations, HARMAN Professional. To serve customers in their respective regions efficiently and effectively, HARMAN India plans to expand its reach with similar additional Service Centre's and Repair Work Shops across India, starting with an all new Authorized HARMAN Repair Work Shop (AHRW) in Pune.

Reliance MediaWorks to Strengthen Film Exhibition Biz in South right now," he said, adding that RMW was currently working on providing VFX for the hit Hollywood television series Black Sails, a high-sea pirate drama.

The Reliance MediaWorks (RMW), is sharpening its focus on growing its film exhibition business down south through its exhibition chain brand, Big Cinemas, according to its chief executive officer Venkatesh Roddam. Currently, RMW has three fullyoperational sound stages (a soundproof structure used for the production of theatrical film-making and television production, usually located on a secure movie studio property), which have been built according to Hollywood standards, while five additional sound stages will be operational sometime this year. RMW also has three content processing studios - one each in Los Angeles, Mumbai and Navi Mumbai together employing over 1,000. Stating that RMW had very recently completed the landmark of processing 400 films, with major films like Gunday, Queen and 2 States being associated with the company this year, Roddam said there was a chunk of mainstream biggies that had been lined up for the latter part of the year. On the post-production services that RMW was offering for the complete bouquet of channels from Turner International for the South Asia market and any plans to enter into similar collaborations, he said on the back of the successful tie-up with Turner, RMW was looking at offering services for other major television networks as well. "Deals are being discussed and negotiated at this stage. And, I won't be able to disclose any further details

Maheshwari Theatre Second in Bangalore to Adopt Auro 11.1 Barco, a global leader in digital cinema technology, announced the installation of the 'Auro 11.1 by Barco' immersive sound technology at Maheshwari Theatre in Bangalore. On 23 May, the sound platform's unique, true-to-life sound reproduction unveiled at a press conference, in the presence of key people from the local entertainment industry. The 1,000-seat theatre is the second screen in the region to upgrade its sound system to Auro 11.1, after Manasa Theatre in July 2013. With its vast dimensions, luxurious interior and prestigious balcony, Maheshwari Theatre has everything Bangalore's cinema aficionados could wish for. To satisfy even the

most critical moviegoers, the theatre is equipped with a world-class, ultrabright Barco DP2K-23B projector. The recent introduction of Auro 11.1 by Barco's lifelike sound technology completes the experience.

Professionally recommended "With all the alternatives that are currently available, moviegoers demand something truly unique," says Manjunatha, Proprietor at Maheshwari Theatre. "We believe that sound plays a vital part in this as much as images do. That's why we began our quest for the best sound technology available on the market." Following an intensive search, Manjunatha and his team contacted renowned sound engineer Sails Raj at Cine Acoustics. Based on his excellent experiences at the Manasa Theatre last year, Raj suggested that the team should go for Auro 11.1 by Barco. By using a unique, three-layer approach based on three axes (x=width, y=depth and z=height), this technology enables ambient sound to come from all around and above. This makes it possible for the brain to subconsciously position sound sources in space.

Lasting impact After a thorough demonstration, any possible reservations on the side of the Maheshwari staff were quickly dispelled. "Apart from the fact that we have a lot of faith in Barco as one of the best solution providers on the market, I was absolutely blown away by the sheer auditory impact of the solution," said Manjunatha. "This level of immersion was something I've never experienced before, and I'm confident that it provides Maheshwari Theatre with a unique competitive differentiator. On top of that, the technology's full compatibility with our former sound system enabled us to upgrade seamlessly and cost-effectively. And thanks to the fully expandable design, we are now equipped with a lasting, future-proof solution." July-August 2014


Saved by The Screen In Nitin Kakkar's Filmistaan, which has recently developed a word-of-mouth following, there are many familiar platitudes about Indians and Pakistanis being essentially one people with a shared culture, a shared passion for cricket - and for Hindi cinema, which ordinary people in Pakistan watch with enthusiasm even as religious leaders and militants warn them against its corrupting effects. When Sunny (Sharib Hashmi), an aspiring actorturned assistant-director and an incorrigible movie buff, is kidnapped by terrorists near the border (they were after the Americans in the film crew) and awakens to learn he is in the Pakistani wilderness, he can't tell the difference - everything looks the same, people speak the same language. In a moving scene that follows shortly after, he hears a folk song sung to the tune of the Hindi-film song Yaara Seeli Seeli and joins in by warbling the lyrics as he knows them - it brings him comfort, as do the nighttime DVD screenings of films such as Maine Pyaar Kiya. At first you might feel ambivalent about Sunny: as movie dialogues trip off his tongue in almost any given situation, he can go from being likeably funny to exasperating in the space of a few seconds. But by the time he has made friends with a young Pakistani named Aftab - a fellow film buff who wears colourful, flowery scarves, illegally peddles "seedi-yan" and decides to help Sunny escape his captors - the viewer's sympathies are fixed. And how can they not be? After all, we are in a hall ourselves, watching a film. And set against these two kindred spirits are the terrorists, who are suspicious - or outright contemptuous - of movies. Using guns to terrify people is part of their way of life, but the other kind of shooting is an idea only the devil could have thought up, and so the camera is a "manhoos cheez" for them. Filmistaan is a little too pat and feelgood in places. Characters show


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unexpected self-awareness in spelling out their own predicaments (as in a dialogue involving a man who grew up in a madrassa and was made to do azaan five times a day without fail but wasn't assured of two meals); there are stereotypes such as the grinning do-gooder, the hardened older militant and the more introspective younger one. But perhaps the way to look at this film is to see it in terms of wish-fulfilment rather than as a hard-edged depiction of the realities of the India-Pakistan situation. And in this view, perhaps the cards are stacked against the terrorists, not because they are the bad guys but because they lack the power of imagination that Sunny and Aftab have. Imprisoned in a room, like a movie star in a screen, Sunny acts out scenes for the children outside - he is upbeat despite knowing he may only have a few days left to live. But perhaps this is because he knows he is in a film himself and that he will be rescued by the magic of cinema; perhaps the universe will conspire to help him. And indeed, something amusingly ironic happens in the climax: a character who is not at all interested in cinema - the older terrorist - does something filmi, in the style of the James Bond villain stopping to talk instead of quickly eliminating his quarries, and this buys some time for the good guys.

Soon after, it seems like Sunny and Aftab will be separated through the Sholay Trope: Jai sends his buddy Veeru off to safety and sacrifices his own life. But that doesn't happen, and no matter, for there are so many other cinematic possibilities available. The actual ending of Filmistaan reminded me of the freeze-frame that closes Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, a scene that suggested cinema's ability to keep hope alive or, even if there is no hope, to spare us from seeing bad things happen to the characters we like. (Butch and Sundance are about to be gunned down by the law enforcers when the scene freezes and the titles roll.) Whether Sunny and Aftab are alive or not at the end is much too literal a question, almost beside the point. What matters is that this Indian and this Pakistani have made it together, hand in hand, to some mythical place where barbed wire doesn't exist, where they can watch CDs of the movies they love and perhaps even make a few themselves. Meanwhile, in the "real world" beyond their ken, life continues in a more complicated, less hopeful way.

95% Cinema Screens Digitised With nearly 95 per cent of Indian cinema screens now digitised, the industry is expected to see buoyant growth in the long run. The Government has approved an antipiracy plan for combating piracy which impacts movies' box office collections. The Government has also signed co-production agreements with nine countries including Italy, Brazil, Germany, France, New Zealand, Poland and Canada. India is also a sought after shooting location, as the Government gave permission to 31 foreign production houses in 2013-14. Also, the first phase construction of the National Museum of Indian Cinema in Mumbai has been completed and will open for the general public shortly.

UP Moots Reviving Defunct Cinema Halls as Multiplexes Uttar Pradesh government has mooted the revival of defunct single screen cinemas in the state by converting them into multiplexes. The government is mulling to allow the owners of these defunct cinema halls, especially in smaller towns, to demolish the structure and develop multiplex complexes in their places. Most of these defunct cinemas are located in prime locations in the respective towns and have commercial potential of combining entertainment with retail shops. The idea is to increasing entertainment tax revenue also by reviving the defunct halls and helping medium entrepreneurs establish themselves The government is considering offering grant to such entrepreneurs, who agree to convert their cinemas into multiplex having 300 or more seats spanning 1-2 screens. Around the year 2000, there were almost 1,000 standalone cinema halls in UP, but their number has dwindled to about 450 now in the backdrop of growing popularity of multiplexes. Of the functional halls, almost 350 are said to be on the verge of closure due to shrinking margins. Only those standalone halls, which screen latest films are in good financial health and these number around 100 in UP. The rest are slowly turning sick. The exhibitors have long been seeking government support for the existing cinemas lest they meet the same fate. Meanwhile, the government is targetting Rs 460 crore in entertainment tax during 2014-15.

Uphaar Tragedy: Court Orders Framing of Charges Against 7 recoveries made immediately after the incident, Delhi Fire Service records pertaining to repair of transformer installed inside Uphaar cinema hall, minutes of the managing director's meetings and four cheques, the charge sheet said. A Delhi court ordered framing of charges against real estate barons Sushil Ansal, Gopal Ansal and five others, facing prosecution for allegedly tampering with judicial records relating to the case of 1997 Uphaar cinema fire tragedy which killed 59 cinegoers. Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Sanjay Khanagwal ordered framing of charges against the seven accused under various provisions of IPC, including 109 (abatement of offence), 201 (causing disappearance of evidence), 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servant) and 120-B (criminal conspiracy). Besides Sushil and Gopal Ansal, the other accused in the case are Anoop Singh, Prem Prakash Batra, Harswaroop Panwar, Dharamveer Malhotra and Dinesh Chandra Sharma, a sacked record keeper of the trial court. The court has now fixed the case for further hearing on October 9. The Delhi High Court had earlier directed police to register a separate case for alleged tampering of evidence on May 5, 2006, when the trial in the Uphaar tragedy case was on. Ansals, convicted in the main Uphaar fire case, are accused of colluding with others, including the record keeper, in destroying crucial judicial documents related to the case.

Modi Said Indian rocket Costs Less Than Movie Gravity Prime Minister Narendra Modi said The cost of sending an Indian rocket to space is less than the money invested to make the Hollywood film Gravity. "I have heard about the movie Gravity...the cost of sending the Indian rocket to space is less than the money invested to make the movie," said Modi after the successful launch of a rocket that carried five foreign satellites to space. Gravity is a 2013 British-American 3D epic science fiction thriller film. It was directed by Alfonso Cuar贸n, and stars Sandra Bullock and George Clooney as astronauts involved in the midorbit destruction of a space shuttle and their attempt to return to Earth. The budget of the movie was $100 million.

According to the prosecution, those documents allegedly proved that the Ansals, contrary to their claims, were the owners of the theatre at the time of the incident. The documents said to have been allegedly tampered with included a police memo giving details of July-August 2014


PVR Cinemas Gets Event Cinema to India with Alternate Content India is a land of varied heritage, the beauty of the country is in its heterogeneous mix which makes it both complex and interesting at the same time. In fact the Indian cinema has captured this collective culture extremely well. As a leader in the entertainment business PVR understands that there is this and much more that can be offered to audiences. With this thought PVR has brought Event Cinema i.e. Alternate Content to India. The House, the first interactive play showcased at PVR Cinema's performed by Mind Reader Mohit Rao took the audience on an incredible journey. The show involved live participation from members of the audience. Hosted by PVR Cinemas, this play was a combination of movie experience, with all the thrills of a live show. The play explores the secret experiment performed in a mysterious house. Set in 1870, in the backdrop of an old house in the Victorian Era, this play is poised to be a phenomenal psychological thriller. Mohit Rao takes the audience through the lives of the people in that house and in some segments they will interact with him and experience live on stage, the experiments that were performed in the house. Internationally Event Cinema has seen a return of an older, affluent

audience, who has evolved beyond the multiplex experience. But India being a younger market looks as a promising destination for such concepts. The thrill of live broadcasts, interactive shows means they are generally regarded as more popular than recorded events. With the plethora of talent that the country has to offer, this format has a lot of potential for alternative content to bring culture to the masses.

Sebi Detains Pyramid Saimira Promoter In the first ever exercise of Sebi's powers to order arrest of a defaulter, former promoter of Pyramid Saimira P S Saminathan was detained for failing to pay over Rs 1 crore dues, but was released later on health grounds and after furnishing sureties for the required payments. Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) had detained Saminathan in its Chennai office and had asked him to come out with detailed proposal for payment of dues, failing which he would be arrested and sent to a civil prison. The market watchdog in October last year, had directed Saminathan to pay the penalty of Rs 1.27 crore imposed on him for his involvement in case related to fraudulent trading activities of Pyramid Saimira Theatre. Besides the penalty, Saminathan also has to pay an interest and other charges. As Saminathan had failed to repay the dues within the stipulated time, Sebi had summoned him to appear before its recovery officer. During the proceedings against him, Saminathan was advised by Sebi to pay substantial portion of the dues


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failing which he would be arrested and detained in civil prison. After a few hours, Saminathan had informed the market regulator that he would make a payment of Rs 50 lakh to Sebi by June 3 and would pay the remaining balance within six months in equal monthly installments. Besides, he informed Sebi that he had been undergoing dialysis treatment once in every 2-3 days at a Chennai hospital and was scheduled for one the same evening. Saminathan made representation to Sebi that he would need to borrow money from people to pay the dues. Sebi said Saminathan has shown "his commitment towards payment of the dues" and furnished a demand draft for Rs 6.50 lakh. "...And the fact the defaulter is undergoing dialysis treatment at Cauvery Hospital, Chennai and has been suffering from some ailments which is noted from the documents made available on record...It is ordered to release the defaulter upon his undertaking to pay Rs 50 lakh towards the said dues to Sebi on or before June 3, 2014 and the remaining balance within six months in equal monthly installments and also furnishing two sureties of responsible persons," it added. Accordingly, Sebi in an order said "the defaulter has furnished an undertaking to pay the entire dues... Furnished two sureties and executed bonds for the entire dues, based on which the defaulter has been released". In March, the President of India had re-promulgated the ordinance for the third time that provides Sebi with powers to detain and arrest defaulters, among others. The long drawn case has seen Sebi penalising Saminathan for multiple violations, including non-compliance with disclosure norms and for indulging in fraudulent trading activities.

PVR Appoints Dharmesh Datta

Carnival Group Plans for 300 Multiplexes The Mumbai-based Carnival Group's vision to own 300 multiplexes across the country is close to becoming a reality with the company's acquisition initiatives.

PVR Cinemas has appointed Dharmesh Datta as vice president, alternate content. He will be based out of Mumbai. He moves from Endemol India where he was the vice president, branded entertainment. Datta brings with him an experience of over 16 years, having worked in organisations such as Wizcraft International Entertainment, Lintas India, The Times of India Group, Network18 (TV18 Group), Experience-Per-Se - IP & Brand Strategy Consultants and Endemol India. He started his career in 1998 with GE Capital International Services as a business team leader. Kamal Gianchandani, president PVR Pictures, says, "His extensive experience in serving large businesses, building properties and consumer insights will be invaluable as we aim to take a step further and go beyond movies to showcase other forms of compelling content at our cinemas. Dharmesh adds the necessary leadership and depth, as we continue to explore new and more meaningful ways to engage our patrons." Datta holds an MBA degree in marketing and earned his Bachelor's degree in BA Economics from Symbiosis College. PVR began operations in 1997 and has 436 screens in 99 cinemas in 42 cities in India. The company acquired the Cinemax properties in 2012.

With the buying of HDIL's multiplex chain Broadway Cinemas in Mumbai recently, Carnival has as many as 125 screens in various parts of the country. Negotiations for another 110 screens are in progress and the company is all set to achieve its target of having 300 screens across the country by the end of this fiscal. Carnival is currently present in Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, UP and West Bengal and has already established its brands in movie production, distribution as well as a music label. The company, with interests in the business of restaurants and food courts, also proposes to invest Rs. 175 crore to increase the number of its food outlets from 16 to 50 by the end of next year.

Hollywood Bollywood The recent success of movies like The Lunchbox and 2 States has proven that the overseas audiences are lapping up Indian content. On the other hand, the fabulous run by Hollywood movies like Gravity, Ironman 3, The Avengers and 300: Rise of the Empire have validated the foreign studios' thrust on the Indian market. Taking a lesson from these recent trends, Hollywood studio Relativity Media entered the Indian market through a joint venture with media house B4U, owned by Lakshmi Mittal, Kishore Lulla, and Gokul Binani. The announcement was made at Cannes Film Festival in France.

The 50:50 joint venture will look at content creation and distribution across films, television and digital media. The new entity, called Relativity B4U, will invest $100 million in projects over the next couple of years. The venture will be headed by B4U CEO Ishan Saksena and will be overseen by a board of directors with equal representation from both companies. Relativity is engaged in film production, financing and distribution, television, sports management, music publishing and digital media. The studio has produced, distributed or structured financing for nearly 200 motion pictures, generating more than $17 billion in worldwide box office revenue. Relativity and B4U will co-invest and distribute Bollywood film and television productions, apart from distributing and marketing Relativity's Hollywood slate beginning with the romantic drama The Best of Me, in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan. Initial plans suggest that the venture will distribute nearly 12 movies from the Relativity over the next year in India. It also plans four to five productions over the next two years, starting next year. The venture will also look at launching a television channel in India, which will have Indian content and international content remade to suit India. Work on the channel is on and B4U has applied for a licence. Additionally, it will launch "RelaTV", a digital streaming platform to deliver short and long form content. July-August 2014


• S P E C I A L F E AT U R E •


Bigger Plans to be Bright! BIG Cinemas, a division of Reliance MediaWorks Limited, is one of India's largest cinema chain with about 260 screens spread across the country. We speak to the top management team of Big Cinemas, Venkatesh Roddam - CEO, Mohan Umrotkar- CFO, Ashish Saksena - COO and Shirish Srivastava - Sr. VP Sales and Marketing on their big plans towards expanding their footprint in South India; offering a holistic experience to customer; profits through new age marketing collaborations; future plans and journey over the years.

How does it feel being India's single biggest entity multiplex chain? The geographic spread for BIG Cinemas today is across 78 cities in India, where we are present through our 98 properties and 260 screens, which cater to 30 million customers annually. Quite frankly it's been an interesting journey for us from where we started to where we are right now. We had periods of rapid growth, then consolidation, and we are now getting into a systematic growth phase. During the last two years, we have been through a process of significant consolidation say in terms of looking at profitability mostly and

then saying how many of our cinemas are actually profitable. We have an interesting spread and this is been consciously done. If you look at it we are not concentrated in any one metro or at just a handful of places. We have a fairly even spread across the entire country. If you map that along with the vision now for the future of this country, of creating 100 mega-cities, you know we're more or less in most of those locations. So there has been a certain element of foresight. Today we are beginning to treat cinemas, with motion pictures as the primary attraction, and the revenue streams being actually built around it. Those revenue streams typically

started off with the traditional revenue streams of F&B, which was then restricted to popcorn and cold drinks. Now multiplexes that are housed in malls already take care of that requirement, so it becomes a complete experience for a person in terms of shopping, eating, movie watching, so on and so forth. Now taking a step forward, we are trying to create social spaces within our cinemas, as to what makes a customer come here -primary draw can be the movie, thereafter what kind of experience can we provide to the customer, and with our kind of geographic spread, the answer to that question is also going to be diverse because what works in

Reliance MediaWorks Big Cinemas - (L-R) Venkatesh Roddam - CEO, Mohan Umrotkar- CFO, Ashish Saksena - COO and Shirish Srivastava - Sr. VP Sales and Marketing


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• S P E C I A L F E AT U R E • Zirakpur or Jalandhar may not necessarily work in Mumbai. It is a process that we are going through of actually redefining each of our cinemas in each of our locations as social spaces and how do we start building on that. There are two things to say -what can we do uniformly across such as the look, feel, seats, comfort, projection, sound and programming is all that one goes top-down, while the bottom-up approach is actually very diverse in terms of saying what suits what location, is the kind of the detail that we are now getting into. We are actually walking away from the traditional concept of announcing screens which tends to be the order of the day because we don't believe that's the way to real growth. Real growth eventually will be determined by the number of footfalls you actually attract, then leading to revenues and higher profits. From that perspective, I could well foresee a scenario wherein our number of screens is kept constant but we enhance what we do at each of our locations. So the answer is somewhere between the two - I think we will add screens progressively as we grow but it will be very selective in terms of the way we grow. But we plan to do more in our individual locations.

Tell us about your journey over the years.

78 Cities 98 Properties 260 Screens 30 Million Customers services to smaller town at best possible price points, BIG Cinemas has reinvented the movie-going experience for the value conscious customers based in non-urban India. BIG Cinemas is the only chain that made its presence felt in tier-1, tier-2 and tier-3 cities as well. Even films in the recent past were made specifically for the overseas markets, but now they are increasingly made for vast Indian market as well. When you look at a mass-oriented film, the normal share of say 12% can go up to 17%, which impacts the box office revenue. India is a market that needs to be catered first because the business potential is high and that's where it proved fruitful for us. We have always had a different revenue share arrangement with the owners. It has to be a joint venture or profit share, which is not something

new. We started IMAX way back in 2001, so the thought process has always been futuristic. We've also introduced the first Cine-Diner concept and always delivered something innovative and different to the discerning consumer.

How big is the BIG Cinemas brand compared to others in the market? One parameter in looking at it from the brand perspective, BIG Cinemas is associated with Reliance and Reliance is a much bigger brand than anybody else. So from that perspective, we are miles ahead of anyone else in the market place. However, we choose to be at a particular number, and that is our own choice. We have a very systematic philosophy of growth stabilisation. The cinema retail business, which BIG Cinemas has been one of the pioneers of, in India, has several growth metrics, and number of screens is one of them, along with the width of the geographical spread, strategic location positioning of each individual property, surroundings of the property, like for instance the presence of mall in the vicinity of a property etc. Furthermore, there are a bunch of other factors that govern the success of a property and thereby a cinema chain.

Reliance MediaWorks has followed a strategy, which does not base the BIG Cinemas expansion solely on real estate developments. BIG Cinemas' expansion is not only based on setting up standalone properties and cinemas in malls, but also taking over current properties, renovating and operating them, taking advantage of their considerable existing infrastructure and brand value. BIG Cinemas has also focused on creating an enhanced and uniform entertainment experience for audiences in tier 2/3 towns in India. By bringing contemporary ambience, projection, sound systems and

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• S P E C I A L F E AT U R E • Tell us something about your South India expansion plans. Right now, we are present in Hyderabad, Pondicherry, Madurai, and Tirupati. So South India is clearly a focus area for us in terms of enhancing our foot print. Additionally, properties in Hyderabad, Chennai, Hubli, and Coimbatore are some of the places we are keenly looking at. You will see our footprint expand over the next 12 months in South.

What are the challenges you face when expanding down South as in comparison to the North? We are always under screened, which means we always feel if we had two more screens that would be so much better. The choice of films is so high in South, which lends itself to a larger screen multiplex format rather than the 3, 4 or 5-screen format that works very well in the North. Hence, the properties that we are now looking at, in Chennai and Hyderabad are all 9-screen plus because of the different languages released. I would think in Bangalore it's much more because we have the South converging there. So if you see Hyderabad there is Telugu, Hindi and English; in Chennai its Tamil and Tamil, but Bangalore is one place where everything converges. Even Malayalam films would release there as the city has mixed culture that caters to diverse language audiences. Hence, Bangalore is a place we certainly want to be in the next one year.

Tell us about your new age marketing collaborations. It goes back to the same old concept, wherein traditional movie-goers expect the movie experience to be just the movie in isolation. This has changed significantly in the recent years, especially with the mall culture


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Hyderabad, Chennai, Hubli, and Coimbatore are places we are looking... springing up. So for us today, it is beyond F&B and the premise with which we are working on is the location that attracts people and thereof what you can do with that population, once you have them captive with you. So if you can bring people an hour before and an hour after the show and keep them engaged, then the opportunities are limitless. Local area marketing for us is an important segment because each area is unique in itself, so we have a classic example in Aurangabad where we are coming up with a super market in the cinema, wherein a local super market has actually found to be attractive to use some additional space we have. We are now working on making our locations, Wi-Fi enabled zones, wherein people can actually come and spend time. If you see the traditional Starbucks concept it is beyond coffee. Starbucks is the classic example of social spaces, we have students, meetings that happen there, we have people who are reading and listening to music etc. Our objective is to actually get

people to spend more time at our facilities and how is it that we ensure that we keep them engaged is broadly the plan right now. We plan to look beyond food & beverage and look at more and more opportunities to tap and implement. If you walk into our properties, you will see a book store, an ATM and many more plans are underway, which is dependent on available spaces to explore. Now what we are planning to do is to shrink the lobbies and use the environment for people to actually interact with products and services which will be made available to them. One of the biggest vagaries of theatre business is the quality of content - we have phases where there's fantastic movies been released, then there are times when a whole lot of movies don't do well. So the fortunes of each location are hitherto completely dependent on the kind of content actually displayed. Now we are saying, how we actually reduce complete dependency on content and start creating alternate revenue streams which to a certain extent can edge and balance. So if we have a great movie - fantastic, but on an average movie we need other avenues of revenue creation to sustain the very location which is not specific, is not common to all locations.

• S P E C I A L F E AT U R E • Are there separate expansion plans for Tier-1, Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities? The growth of the malls is now moving to the tier-2 cities, but smaller towns still thrive on large single-screen cinemas. While the strategy may not change significantly, such as to suddenly put up a 4-screen or 5-screen multiplex, but we think single-screen can become a twin-screen or a threescreen that is something we look at with the help of digitisation. Number of screens will go up and continue across all the different tier cities of the country. The other thing is that mall strategy will also define multiplex strategy. Suppose a construction group plans to open 10 malls then automatically there is a requirement for multiplex that's been created. In tier-2 and tier3 cities, the requirement of a mall maybe slightly in a contracted manner, so there's an opportunity for multiplexes to be coming up in partnerships with builders. So the mall strategy is driving multiplex strategy and not the other way round. Having a multiplex within the mall increases the footfalls in the mall, so therefore multiplex operators, construction companies and mall owners are partnering to say how we get into a revenue share model. So it makes it increasingly attractive for mall owner, multiplex operator and the retail environment all together. You will see increasingly in tier-2 and tier-3 towns, malls and multiplexes mushrooming in the next 3 years.

bank branch and conduct some kind of a transaction, F&B is one part of it. The structural research will also depend on the properties in the available space, from that perspective the entire team works on it. We have a team that's scouting locations and buying spaces to expand. We haven't done a market survey, because I do not know what I am surveying for. Market survey however can be done if it's a uniform product offering across multiple locations. Here each location is unique, what I do at Metro BIG Cinemas in Mumbai, I cannot probably replicate that at BIG Cinemas Wadala in Mumbai. Hence it will be localised. The local theatre managers, along with the area managers, have the responsibility of mapping the market and then doing what suits that particular location.

How different is the Group's proposition in terms of ambience, service, pricing and cinematic luxuries etc... The primary thing for us is to decide what we want to make in a particular segment, second is how luxurious can we go. For example, the R-City Ghatkopar in Mumbai is an example of luxury but if the same thing can be replicated in Pune or Aurangabad is not something we look at. I think ticket prices are a function of what we are offering to a customer - such as how many screens there are, what kind of seats are available, the ambience, comfort and so many other factors. Also size of a seat such as 22"inch seat or 24"seat will vary. Luxuries are ever evolving and so is the ability to pay. Hence it's important to know how we are adapting to the

Has RMW done any structural research or market survey for the move? It's an ongoing process for which we have an entire marketing team. When you say structural research, we are equally cautious of what we want to have in our theatres - so what would you do if you typically went out to a mall, is look for an ATM or a

"We would like to thank the Reliance Media Works & Big Cinemas team for believing in the Barco Auro 11.1 format and adopting the same at Metro Cinemas, Mumbai. It has always been a pleasure to work with RMW over the years, as they always come forward to embrace the latest & the best technologies" – Mandar Gupte, Sales Director - Barco India

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• S P E C I A L F E AT U R E • ability to change and that's what decides the ticket pricing and the food offerings at the cinema.

Tell us about your overseas market expansion and growth. No aspirations as of now. We are very happy with our focus on the Indian market and going forward we will see which markets are of attraction to us. It's all about picking what markets you want to be in. We have strategically thought of few locations that are complementing the Indian Diaspora, so if you look at New Jersey, Southern California, these are couple of places we are present in. But this is not a focus area for growth right now. Our current focus is on India as a market.

Are you going for joint ventures or going independent for new cinema properties? In terms of an expansion strategy and seeking partners, we are evaluating all options on a per deal basis. Each deal, each property, has a different set of evaluation metrics and we take every deal as it comes.


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The new era of technology

Any big plan for any particular

is evolved from sound to visual; tell us how RMW is

city in the near future?

ready for it? The first step was digitisation that happened, which meant the movie could release simultaneously across 4,000 screens at a time. The next step that is now happening if you know is the Hollywood Studios are now withdrawing the analog prints, which will lead to restricted releases. Most of the studios have stopped releasing prints. The next is to move to a 2K level of digitisation is what we're doing. We're constantly upgrading ourselves. We had a mix of DCI and Non-DCI projectors; we are now phasing out the Non-DCI projectors and switching to only DCI projectors. New age sound formats like Dolby Atmos and Auro 11.1 are now here and we've converted one of our cinema screen into Auro 11.1 3D sound and also keep expanding the reach of the digital 3D system. Technically we do not want to compromise. We want to show cinema the way it's supposed to be seen. 100% percent of our cinemas are completely digital.

Bangalore and South India - Chennai and Hyderabad are on the radar. Limitation of multiplexes in Trivandrum is high. Cities like Vizag and Vijayawada feature on the list too, since they have good revenue potentials. In Vizag, we are in active conversation with a developer. In Chennai we are very advanced and Hyderabad we have got two properties that have been shortlisted. In Bangalore, we are in discussions which will be announced over the next 2-3 months. In North, we are already there in major cities and we have reasonably covered, hence the focus now is down South. Probably we have the largest presence in UP and maybe East - Kolkata is something we may have to look at.

How good is the RMW supported by the top management? BIG Cinemas is one of the most visible brands of the Reliance Group with a large enough consumer interface and has a spread across 78 cities. It is an important business division and is supported by the group.


PVR Cinemas

The Roadshow Continues… PVR Cinemas, the largest cinema exhibition company in India, announced the launch of its three more multiplexes in Hyderabad, Ahmedabad and Hubli, keeping their present screen count to 444 screens in 101 properties in 43 cities pan India. Hyderabad city gets its 5 screen PVR multiplex with the addition of 2 screens to its existing 3 screen property at Panjagutta Cross Road Show at Central Mall, Hyderabad. The newly-launched auditoriums will have a seating capacity of 396 seats, adding to the already existing 926 seats.

the best of the infrastructure, with the best service assisted with the best technology. It is our pleasure to cater and entertain the masses of the city. South has always been a promising market for us and we plan to expand

to cater to the requirement of Hyderabad." - Sanjeev Kumar Bijli, Joint Managing Director, PVR Ltd. Exceptional technology, best in class service and the state-of-the-art infrastructure has given this multiplex with a seating capacity of 1322 seats, an edge over the others. PVR has brought the most scintillating movie experience to its discerning audience and the multiplex besides offering quality cinema also provides a wide array of F&B.

With this step PVR strengthens its presence in Hyderabad with a total of eight screens and two cinemas in the city. The Southern market reaches a screen count of 85 screens with a total of 13 properties across Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai, Kochi, Vijaywada and Mangalore. "Adding another two screens to an existing property clearly indicates that not only is there a huge demand for quality entertainment but also that people want to experience it in

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• INDIA PLEXING • The 5th multiplex in Ahmedabad, adding 4 more screens to the existing 17, PVR now stands at 21 screens in the city. Another feather to its cap is the recently launched 4 screen multiplex in Hubli, Karnataka. With this simultaneous addition in the south, PVR strengthens its position by creating a milestone in the cinema exhibition space and presently boasts of 444 screens in 101 properties across 43 cities in the country. Speaking on the occasion, Mr Ajay Bijli, Chairman and Managing Director, PVR Limited said, "This is a great moment for us. PVR today has over 100 properties reaching 43 cities across the country. We feel pleased and excited to launch the fifth property in the city of Ahmedabad, expanding further in the west. Simultaneously, we have been fortunate in the south too, as we grow with the opening of PVR Hubli in Karnataka. Our endeavor has always been to provide our customers with the best movie watching experience and to bring to them a platform of world-class cinema; and as we continue to do so it gives me immense fulfillment to reach this great landmark." PVR Cinemas has had a spectacular start to the FY 2014-2015. The first quarter has seen the group augment rapidly across all markets as the company has added 23 new screens


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while expanding exponentially in the cities of Ludhiana, Mangalore, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad & Hubli. Mr. Sanjeev Kumar Bijli, Joint Managing Director, PVR Limited said, "With the tremendous efforts of all and most importantly with the encouragement of our patrons, PVR Cinemas takes pride in achieving the milestone that it has today. We are delighted to develop our property in Hubli, Karnataka and are excited to come back to the city of Ahmedabad. Developed by the Mudra Real Estates Pvt. Ltd., the 4D Square Mall in Motera Ahmedabad stands as one of the most prominent hubs which attract high footfalls and is strategically positioned. We look forward to giving our patrons a world-class entertainment experience in both these cities and are delighted to have reached the 100 property milestone."

The newly-launched properties in Motera (Ahmedabad) and Hubli (Karnataka) will cater to the growing western and southern markets respectively. PVR Motera has a seating capacity of 1102 mainstream and recliner seats whereas PVR Hubli has a total capacity of 890 seats offering an exceptional movie watching experience to the audience with best in sound and projection systems and state-of-the-art technology. Understanding the requirements of its patrons, PVR aims to provide a unique cinematic experience to all as both the multiplexes are equipped with Dolby digital 2K projections, 7.1 channel sound and is 3D enabled with large screens, comfortable seating and a wide range of F&B.


Experiential Marketing 2.0

A perspective by Shirish Srivastava, Sr. VP - Sales & Marketing, BIG Cinemas When the multiplex revolution began a decade and a half ago, all one could think of, was the comfort of the multiplex seats, choicest of movies and more number of shows to watch. Today aside from the flexibility that multiplexes are offering viewers in terms of show timings, number of films and food; we are offering marketers the most customised marketing avenues. Segmentation within the audience groups across SECs, film specific targeted focus, creation of dedicated brand zones, extension of the brand/ product/service/film experience‌the possibilities are endless within the ambit of experiential marketing which I truly believe is in its next phase right now, thanks to the multiplexes. The multiplex experience today goes way beyond just movie watching. Gaming zones, retail therapy, purchasing utility products as well as indulgence shopping, wi-fi zones, coffee shops, and serious outdoor sports like football everything is a reality. Creating these experiences for people as they come in to seek entertainment is indeed crucial and that is something that we at BIG Cinemas are focusing on. We have very recently started a football court atop our iconic property at Wadala in Mumbai, started a jewellery kiosk

at a premium plex in Mumbai and have also tied up with a local hyperstore for all day-to-day shopping activities, at our property in Aurangabad. The success of these initiatives gives us the confidence to take the experiential business to the next level, also creating experiential marketing avenues in the process. We at BIG Cinemas have a dedicated back-end function to tap these latent strengths that a countrywide presence of a cinema network warranties and provides the choice to marketers to address their customers effectively, while driving the revenue numbers. What do we have to offer that is so unique, one would ask. There is space, a captive audience, geographical reach across 78 cities, standardised facilities, an environment where people come to have a good time; and a willingness to understand the marketing requirements of brands and deliver a tailor made solution to suit their needs and help them tap more

customers. Another advantage that we at BIG Cinemas bring in as a unique brand differentiator across the multiplex category is the reach in the Tier 2, 3 & 4 markets and metros alike. That these markets are driving sales is a market reality now and we provide that formidable presence across these markets. Recently for Samsung, for the launch of their new smart phone, we had a dedicated sampling exercise conducted at our property in Jaipur. Such detailed, focused, engaging and educative sessions can be conducted to create awareness and drive sampling and thereby sales. On the other hand, we had a yearlong association with Piramal Healthcare, whereby the 'I' range of products was advertised within our washrooms for females. It was a classic case of segmentation and targeted marketing for a product category that was sensitive, intimate and needed. We can also offer experiential marketing through an integrated marketing solution. A customised ad for a product featured on the screen during the interval followed by the product interface at the sales counter at the next instant is one such way to do it. This works perfectly well for the F&B category, where apart from being a marketing medium we end being a point of sale as well. We did something to this effect with the chocolate brand Choc On. By virtue of being a product being endorsed by a major film star like Katrina Kaif, the product naturally lended itself for big screen advertising. We also in effect became a sales channel. Very recently for the premium ice-cream brand Magnum, from HUL - the experiential service delivered basis

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the brand promise, 'enjoy the royal treatment' - that was provided turned out to be so successful that the inventory left was 0% and the brand had to actually increase the stock space. Retail simulation within the cinema retail environment is different in a way, since this retail activity isn't undertaken as a weekly chore, but is initiated with the idea of being entertained and that's why most of the consumers are in a happy frame of mind when they are in a cinema hall. Happier the consumer, easier it would be to please him or her. This is the reason why SAB TV promotes most of its shows heavily in cinemas, since they are all lighthearted entertainers, and cinemas provide a better way to connect with audiences in a focused manner. I would define experiential marketing as an attempt to customise the brand message for the consumer in such a way that he or she experiences the brand even before


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the sale has happened and develops a sense of subconscious brand loyalty. From the foyer area in the theatre, to the screen, the chair backs, washrooms, content playing on screen, creation of dedicated film related zones; the scope of

customisation within the cinema space as per the brand requirements are limitless in today's day and age and is precisely where we are headed in terms of experiential marketing. I'd like to call it experiential marketing 2.0.

TheatreMagic ::: July-August 2014  
TheatreMagic ::: July-August 2014  

TheatreWorld is a guide to the cinema exhibition industry and technical design of a movie theatre published by Network208. TheatreWorld is t...