Connect! Barco India Partner Meet Barco India organized its second annual Partner Meeting at the Clarks Exotica Resort & Spa in Bangalore (India), from 5 to 6 September 2014. No fewer than eighty plus current and prospective Barco-partners from all over India gathered to catch a glimpse of the latest innovations in no-gap video wall technology, smooth collaboration solutions, interactive imaging and cutting-edge projection. Last year, the debut edition of Barco India's partner meeting focused mainly on introducing the Connect! partner program and establishing Barco as a partner of choice for professional visualization and collaboration applications. This year, Barco's merits as a one-stop solution for a variety of visualization and collaboration needs took center stage. In line with the meeting's strategic purpose, attendees were also treated to in-depth presentations on how to further enhance the partnership and drive growth in the future. During the meeting, valuable insights, knowledge and experience were exchanged as well, resulting in hearty, inspiring discussions that might offer a pathway to new opportunities. Ney Corsino, Senior VP - International Sales, Barco says, "We want to show our partners how Barco is transforming the way people present and share information and ideas across the enterprise and around the world. Our solutions fulfil the critical need for high-quality visualization, real-time video processing and collaboration - all of
which are necessary to engage stakeholders wherever they may be located to maximize situational awareness and speed decisionmaking. Madhusudan K J, Country Manager - Digital Cinema, Barco India presented on 'The Cinema Barco Experience' which gave an indepth of Barco's Digital Cinema Projectors, Lobby Enhancement, etc.
The event also had presentations from Ganesh S, Business Development Manager at Texas Instruments on DLP Cinema Technology and Frederik & Michael from Dooh Apps, Belgium on smart advertising for digital out of home, which include interactive, engaging and measurable applications.
New Theatres to use Dolby Atmos Sound Experience Dolby Laboratories and New Theatres today announced that New Theatres has installed Dolby Atmos cinema sound technology in two of its screens. Located in Trivandrum, New Theatres is one of the oldest and most prestigious theatres in the city. Filmmakers use Dolby Atmos to place and move sounds anywhere in the movie theatre, including overhead, to make film audiences feel as if they are inside the movie and not just watching it. Commenting on the launch, Mr. S. Murugan, Managing Director, Merryland Cinemas, said, "New Theatres is proud to work with Dolby to implement the groundbreaking Dolby Atmos sound technology. This marks another significant milestone for us as we continue to offer the most innovative cinema technologies to our patrons, ensuring a multidimensional sound experience to movie lovers in India. We are confident that Dolby Atmos will prove to be one of the main attractions for audiences." Dolby Atmos has quickly become the preferred choice for next-generation sound in the cinema, with major studios, award-winning filmmakers, and exhibitors from around the world embracing its approach. Unlike traditional channel-based sound systems like 5.1, 7.1, and 11.1, which require filmmakers to think about the number and location of speakers, Dolby Atmos allows them to simply designate where in the cinema space each sound should be placed or moved to make audiences experience the film as if they were within its world. "With Dolby Atmos audiences are no longer watching a movie, they are experiencing it," said Mr. Ashim Mathur, Director Marketing, Dolby Laboratories India. "We are very excited to work with New Theatres to bring what we hope is the ultimate cinematic experience to moviegoers
in Trivandrum. We are confident that moviegoers will go back again and again to New Theatres for the extraordinary experience that only Dolby Atmos can deliver."
Inox Leisure Plans to Add 156 Screens After acquiring Satyam Cineplexes, multiplex chain Inox Leisure plans to add 156 screens in the next two years. Presently running 358 screens, this acquisition has helped Inox spread its presence in Delhi, Amritsar, Rohtak, Jodhpur and Mysore. Inox has acquired 38 screens from Satyam Cineplexes, thus reaching a mark of 500 screens across India. The company has raised debt for the funding of the deal. Moreover, Satyam Cineplexes has leased out the three multiplexes - New Delhi's Patel Nagar, Nehru Place, and Janakpuri to Inox for operations. 29 screens of the upcoming 156 screens will be launched through the upcoming properties of Satyam Cineplexes while the others will be launched from Inox's own ambit. Having said so, the market researchers mention many more such consolidations between the bigger multiplexes and the smaller chains in future. This has also been a result of the slow down due to unavailability of commercial real estate opportunities.
Galalite's New Paint Manufacturing Facility Galalite, amongst the premiere screen providers for cinema in India, has procured a paint manufacturing facility close to their factory in Mumbai. 'Situated 20 miles from Galalite factory, the manufacturing unit makes it easy commute. This gives Galalite more room for innovation through R&D, quality improvement and consistency in their products. "This acquisition comes at a good time for us. We are an innovative company and know how important innovation is in our field. Also we understand how consistent our products should be as far as premium quality is concerned. Our aim is constant improvement in our products, so that our customers have a better viewing experience." said Yusuf. S. Galabhaiwala, Director of Operations at GTC Industries.
Carnival Group Buys Kochi Leela Infopark Having ventured into the hospitality, media and entertainment and multiplex industry, Carnival group now eyes the IT sector. The Mumbaibased Carnival group has acquired Leela Infopark at Kakkanad from Leela Lace Holding Pvt Ltd. Having purchased the IT Park for 280 crore, the park includes four towers spread across 6.5 acres. Asset creation and leasing rental income is the main reason for this acquisition. Earlier the group had acquired HDIL's multiplex chain Broadway Cinemas for around 110 crore. Carnival Group has an established list of brands in its ambit, in many sector including movie production, distribution and exhibition along with food courts, events, equipment rentals etc.
PVR Cinemas to Launch New ConceptPVR Superplex
PVR Cinemas plans to launch its new concept-PVR Superplex. As the name suggest, the Superplex will have a whooping 15 screens under a single roof with different formats. Logix Group - a Noida based Real estate developer has tied up with the multiplex chain and is all set to launch its first superplex in Noida in the upcoming months. The Superplex will include various technology offerings including
IMAX, 3D and 4K (ultra highdefinition) digital experience along with specially designed seats. 50 crore will be invested in this concept, with the company planning to launch the second superplex in Bengaluru. Some of the features include PVR Playhouse - designed for children aged 5-9 years featuring specially designed play seats, bean bags, and cartoon character-themed interiors besides a special menu. Another aspect is the PVR 4DX which will offer motion seats that move in sync with on-screen action besides special effects. PVR ECX will offer immersive viewing experience with 3D and 4K digital projectors. PVR Cinemas plans to open two megaplexes in every Indian state. Apart from the superplex, the company plans to add 100 screens in the next two years, thus realizing the target of total number of screens to 1,000 by 2018-19 for which it is plans to explore inorganic growth opportunities.
PE Partners Bids for Stake Acquisition in Big Cinemas In addition to the recent trend of the Indian multiplex operators consolidating, US based Providence Equity Partners plans to buy stake in Indian multiplex brand Big Cinemas. The other companies bidding for the acquisition of this Anil Ambani owned brand include Malaysiabased PE fund Navis Capital and multiplex firms PVR, Inox and Carnival Cinemas.
acquisitions by the Malaysian company include an investment of $640 million in Aditya Birla Telecom for a 20 per cent stake.
PVR Cinemas Introduces International ConceptEvent Cinema PVR Cinemas recently launched a new concept for movie buffs called as the event cinema. It is an internationally famous concept that includes live events in the premises including standup comedy shows, concert films and ballet performances. Some of the events include Matthew Bourne's 3D Ballet 'Swan Lake' and Christopher Wheeldon's 'Cinderella Dutch National Ballet' along with music concert films, Queen fans in the presence of Freddie Mercury at Hungarian Rhapsody concert. People can also get engrossed watching the One Direction concert played parallel to worldwide audience across 3,500 theatres in 60 territories. The company is also planning to rope in All India Backchod (AIB) a famous comedy group that will showcase their popular act 'The Royal Turds' and 'Pretentious Nights'. PVR is also associating with comedy group AIB (All India Backchod) for their act 'The Royal Turds', a spoof cinema award show, and 'Pretentious Nights', a stand-up duo that review films.
Providence had recently purchased stake in Star India's tele-shopping channel Star CJ Alive. In addition, the company had invested 260 crore in digital cinema chain UFO Moviez India to acquire a 36 per cent stake. Globally, the company manages $40 billion in assets across 140 companies. The other September-October 2014
Carnival Plans to Acquire 215 Screens Carnival Cinemas plans to raise 250300 crore in order to acquire 215 screens by 2015. The company is in talks with Singapore based private equity fund for funding. The South India based company recently acquired Broadway Cinema - HDIL's multiplex chain for 110 crore. On finalizing, the 25 per cent stake will be acquired in Carnival films by the Singaporean company, amounting to 250-300 crore out of the total 700 crore which Carnival Cinemas plans to invest in adding 215 screens. The company is in talks with three multiplex operators, one of which is based in South India and the other two have a nationwide presence.
PVR and Inox Compete for Screen Presence Inox is looking forward to being a tough competitor for PVR cinemas. Having its presence in 444 screens, PVR cinemas certainly need to keep a check on its rival. After the 182 crore acquisition of Satyam Cineplexes by Inox, the gap for the number of screens acquired has narrowed down to 86. This gap will become lesser with Inox also having access to 36 upcoming screens of the Satyam brand, of which 32 will be developed by Inox. Adding more to their list, are the 96 screens from the 16 properties that Inox owns which are currently underdevelopment. The total count of the number of screens owned by Inox will reach 490 in the next 18 months. Having said that, PVR certainly isn't taking the competition lightly. It recently acquired Cinemax along with chances of the company acquiring regional multiplex chains. The company plans to expand its presence
across 66 screens, thus spreading its ambit to a total of 510 screens. Moreover, the company will also involve in a qualified institutional placement worth 500 crore in order to subsidize inorganic growth.
Pramod Arora Quits PVR After having spent 18 years in PVR Group as President Pramod Arora resigned recently, to join Everstone Capital, a private equity fund. Comprising of $2 billion assets, Everstone Capital is the brain child of Sameer Sain and Atul Kapoor who launched the company in 2006. Prior to launching the company, Sain was partner of Future Capital Holdings. Having a detailed experience in finance, human resource management, corporate social responsibility, and public relations, Arora joined Everstone, following its decision to acquire minority stake in Subhash Chandra's Fun Republic. The multiplex arm of Essel Group's movie exhibition business, Fun Republic has its presence across 87 screens in India. Arora helped PVR grow across 444 screens in the country, along with a takeover of Cinemax for 395 crore. Everstone has in the past invested in Ritu Kumar, VLCC Healthcare, Tikona Digital, Future Media, Future E-commerce, YLG Salon, F&B Asia Ventures, Blue Foods, Capital Foods and Sula Vineyards along with a recent deal with Burger King Brand in India.
DT Cinemas Wins AMEA Awards DT Cinemas recently won two awards - "Most Admired Multiplex of the year for excellence in most intelligence programming" and "Best Multiplex of the Year in Northern India" at the ASIA Multiplex Excellence Awards 2014 (AMEA). Presented by CMO Asia, the
function was organized at Pan Pacific, Singapore. The award honors people who set benchmarks for creative and upcoming excellence. DT Cinemas was bestowed the award for its efforts to provide superior yet affordable cinematic experience to the movie lovers. The company's expansion plan include its upcoming properties which boasts of seven screens and 2000 seats at Noida , along with another property at Yashwant Place Community Centre with 1000 seats and three screens.
Cinepolis Plans Expansion Planning to explore the growing Indian market, multiplex chain Cinepolis plans to launch 400-odd screens in the next three years. The Mexican multiplex chain, at present has targets to set up multiplexes in the top 40 cities in India, in an endeavor to acquire 10 per cent of its global revenue from India alone. Having added 35 screens last fiscal, the company plans to expand its multiplex number to 50 this year. Presently, the company is seeking opportunities in inorganic growth for which it is looking for acquisitions. Cinepolis is spread across 80 screens in India and plans to achieve a turnover of 1,200 crore by 2017. In addition, the company also plans to expand its business through online booking by 40 per cent in 2017, which at present comprise 10 per cent of its total booking. Many multiplex brands in India are in expansion mode with, Inox having acquired Satyam Cinepolis for 182 crore and PVR striking an acquisition deal with Cinemax for 395 crore.
Inox Acquires Satyam Cineplexes With a view to explore the North Indian cities, Multiplex chain Inox Leisure Ltd acquires Delhi-based Satyam Cineplexes for 182 crore. After this acquisition, Inox will expand to 50 cities and a total of 91 multiplexes and 358 screens. Earlier, the company had acquired Calcutta Cine Pvt Ltd in 2007 and Fame India in 2010. Satyam Cineplexes has 38 screens Amritsar, Mysore, Rohtak, Aurangabad, Jodhpur, Indore and New Delhi, in addition to the 30 upcoming projects in six cities.
Christie Chooses Galalite Screens at InfoComm India 2014 Christie - the leading projector manufacturing company selected Galalite - the global leader in cinema screen technologies, to showcase its state-of-the-art visual solutions at InfoComm India 2014, held at the Bombay Exhibition Centre from September 17 to 19, 2014. Christie’s multi-zone display at InfoComm India 2014, featured Galalite’s wide array of projection screen surfaces, along with its technologically advanced projectors, to showcase comprehensive and holistic visual display solutions. The enticing display helped Christie as well as Galalite to reach out to more visitors, system integrators, businesses and IT managers at the event.
Shabbir Galabhaiwala (Chairmain at Galalite), Benjamin Tan (TSO Director at Christie, Asia Pacic) and Yusuf Galabhaiwala (Director of Operations at Galalite)
Miraj Group Plans Expansion Miraj Group plans to expand its multiplex business in India. The Rajasthan based group currently has six properties across the country. Miraj Group recently bought the Ahmedabad located seven-screen multiplex City Pulse Cinemas. The company plans to purchase many more such multiplexes in future.
Q Cinemas Launches Multiplex in Delhi Q Cinemas recently launched its new multiplex in Delhi. Located at Shahdra, the USP of the multiplex is the first ever such initiative in India focus on child care - for which the comfortable bassinets have been provided in the auditoria.
Arnold Attend Music Launch in India The crazy fan following of the Terminator star and former Governor of California - Arnold Schwarznegger still continues. The star recently visited Chennai to launch the music of Director Shankar's, Vikram-starrer Tamil romantic-thriller "I" along with local star Suriya. Schwarznegger also had an unscheduled short meeting with Chief Minister Jayalalithaa. The audio launch will took place at the Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium, where Schwarznegger shared the dais with Tamil movie superstar Rajinikanth.
India’s Costliest Movie ‘I’ will be Released in 15,000 Screens India’s costliest movie I is expected to be released across 15,000 screens worldwide. In China alone, the movie is likely to be released across 10,000 screens, that too in Chinese language, making it the first such Indian film. Aascar V Ravichandran, producer and distributor of the movie, said the movie would have cost him around 220 crore. He is confident that the move would rake in about 1,500 crore. He added, “We are in talks with one of the top three distribution companies to release the movie in various parts of the world.” The movie was produced in about 2.5 years, says Ravichandran. The company employed about 10,000 people for the film. In terms of cost of production, I, starring Vikram and Amy Jackson, beats Dhoom 3, Chennai Express, Robot (Enthiran in Tamil) and Krrish 3 when it comes to the total cost of production. Shankar directed the movie and the music composed by Oscar winner A R Rahman. The movie, which is expected to hit the screens around Diwali time, will be released across 165 countries and across in six languages including Tamil, Telugu, Hindi, Malayalam and in Chinese. “In many parts of the World the movie will be simultaneously screened,” he said. In rest of the countries such as Taiwan, Europe, the US and others, the movie will be released with subtitles, he said. “Language will not be a barrier for this movie,” said Ravichandran. This will be the first Indian movie to be released in such a large scale. There are about 30,000 theaters in China. September-October 2014
• S P E C I A L F E AT U R E •
Fun Cinemas Mumbai:
Mesmerize with Makeover
Movie-goers in Mumbai have a reason to cheer as their favourite multiplex, Fun Cinemas in Andheri west undergoes a makeover. And this is no ordinary makeover, it’s revolutionary. The brains behind the premier cinema chain have carefully planned to ensure every bit of class, comfort and entertainment to its loyal base of cine-goers. For the seekers of high-quality cinematic experience India’s leading cinema brand Fun Cinemas has a double dose of celebration. At first, the property goes a notch above in its seating quality. Capacity of
Auditorium 1 descends from 382 to 256 and that of Auditorium 2 from 252 to 200 offering spacious seating and added comfort. The high-end viewing experience and finesse is assured with best-in-class seating at this property that has no ‘ordinary’ seats. The new interiors are sophisticated and stylish infused with a contemporary touch. The thoughtful planning of Fun Cinemas’ architecture and design team reflects in the perfect harmony between boldness of entertainment and minimalism of contemporary
architectural design. It has been created with today’s well-travelled consumers of Mumbai. Further, the property is now equipped with state-of-the-art Dolby ATMOS technology that offers a life like three-dimensional sound for an immersive movie experience. The movie aficionados are in for the finest treat to their senses with this cutting-edge sound experience which is only the third such system in the city and the first in the immediate vicinity. That’s not all. The Barco B series 2K projectors and high
• SPECIAL FEATURE • gain silver-screen are the other world-class additions that ensure a superior 3D visual experience. For Shirish Handa, Senior VP, Marketing & Business Development, Fun Cinemas, this upgraded movie infrastructure is a step towards the promise of best Bollywood & Hollywood cinema experience at suitable prices. “Andheri West is the hub of our movie industry and we wanted to re-do the property to match the expectations. I’m confident that what we have created will exceed such expectations. Sure we have the revolutionary Dolby ATMOS sound, world-class projection systems and best-in-class seating, but we’re most excited about how stylish the property now looks from inside.” One of the pioneers of the industry, Fun Cinemas started operations in 2001. It operates 83 screens at 24 locations across India. With a strong presence in North India, Fun Cinemas contributes as high as 20% - 25% of the contribution from all multiplexes in Delhi / UP / Punjab circuit. It also
“It is always been a pleasure to work with an industry leader like Fun Cinemas. We like to thanks them for choosing Pulz speaker and amplifiers for their cinema in Andheri.” – Anirvan Ghose Director, Pulz Electronics Pvt Ltd
runs the country’s largest cinema loyalty program – Fun Rewards with over 3.5 lac active members nationwide. Always one to embrace
technology early, Fun Cinemas has its own e-commerce website, mobile site, mobile apps and a self-service ticket kiosk service.
â€˘ INDIA PLEXING â€˘
Strengthening Presence in NCR INOX continues its growth momentum in North India post its acquisition of Satyam Cineplexes Ltd. recently, by opening its 2nd multiplex in Faridabad. Located in EF3 Mall, Sector 20, this is the 5th multiplex of INOX in Haryana and 92nd in the country. INOX at EF3 Mall has 3 auditoriums with a total capacity of 702 seats. Mr. Alok Tandon - CEO, INOX Leisure Ltd. said, "We at INOX take pride in bringing the best movie-going experience once again to our guests in Faridabad with the launch of this Multiplex at EF3 Mall. We will continue to offer the INOX hospitality and ensure guests of Faridabad choose INOX to watch their movies". INOX at EF3 Mall will screen a mix of Hindi, English and Regional movies, all under one roof. REFUEL, the inhouse brand of theatre food, which serves an extended menu of flavored popcorn, hot and cold snacks, beverages and a variety of combo meals. Comfortable seats, including recliners with ample leg space, luxurious carpeting in the auditoriums, a spacious lobby; all backed by world class hospitality makes it a comfortable movie viewing experience. Trained staffs in ushering, box office, concessions and housekeeping ensure a pleasant
experience. In addition to these facilities, a high standard of hygiene and security within the multiplex coupled with world-class comfort provides an unparallel movie viewing experience. The Hindi movies showcased in the opening week are Raja Natwarlal, Mardaani and Singham Returns apart
from two 3D movies Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Hindi) and Step Up All In (Hindi). Besides, there also is a Punjabi movie "Double Di Trouble" With the launch of this multiplex in Faridabad, INOX now has a total of 16 screens in the State of Haryana. Nationally, INOX has 92 multiplexes and 361 screens in 50 cities.
• INDIA PLEXING •
Bold. Stylish. Creative.
Yet another milestone in the Indian Cinema Exhibition industry. Luxe by SPI Cinemas is an 11 screen multiplex located in Chennai with all screens equipped with the latest technology. Luxe breaks all conventions to deliver a bold, contemporary, stylish, individualistic, creative, unapologetically fashionable and chic cinema experience. CINEMA'S STYLE CAPITAL Luxe houses 11 state-of-the-art screens equipped with the brilliance of RDX-4K projection and the latest in sound technology. It is also home to Chennai's very first IMAX! Amongst a host of features is a mezzanine restaurant offering a
range of cuisines and a view of the grand lobby with a larger than life video column, a café, a gaming zone and an elegant and relaxing spa. Carefully designed to give you a visually stimulating experience that is nothing short of spectacular, Luxe is the perfect harmony of creativity, style and comfort combined with the ultimate in cinema technology, guaranteed to escalate your movieviewing experience to a place you never thought existed!
THE SPACE As you enter Luxe, you will be transported to a glamorous world of ritz and glitz. The Italian marbled floors, the plush coloured velvet padded walls, the crystal chandeliers hanging from the ceiling and the intricate etched glass decor make for a visually stunning experience. The use of rich drapery that frames different elements adds to the exquisite look of the space. The September-October 2014
â€˘ INDIA PLEXING â€˘ central lobby with triple height ceilings is home to a larger than life video column, consisting of 72 LCDs lodged together on four sides of a column, bringing any content to life. This is the first of its kind in India and the largest in Asia. On an elevated stage is a Grand Piano! It is hooked to an automated iPod and plays music composed by some of the all-time greats. The effect is so wonderful that you may be tempted to hang around the Luxe lobby just to listen to the music. To add to the experience of the women customers, SPI Cinemas has gone an extra mile by providing seven exclusive washrooms (in addition to the regular washrooms), constantly serviced by a concierge where you can experience top of the line products from across the world.
DESIGNERS The overall interior design of Luxe was conceptualised by designer Giovanni Castor of Los Angeles design firm Castor Design. In the United States, Giovanni worked for many years with well-known design firms such as Remedios Siembieda formally known as Chhada Siembieda. He was also involved with various projects which include the prestigious Four Seasons, New York (1993) where he worked in collaboration with the noted Architect IM Pei.
His other projects include the Hacienda de San Antonio in Mexico, Guam Hilton; Hotel Rafael in Munich,
Germany; Kobe Bay Sheraton, Japan; Hotel Bora Bora, French Polynesia for Adrian Zecha's Arman Resorts. He was also responsible for the interior design and project management of the L'Ermitage Beverly Hills, California with three Architecture, Inc; the Park Hyatt Taichung with Pei Cobb Freed, Grand Hyatt Mumbai with Lohan Associates and the Rangali Island Resort in Maldives. SPI Cinemas has worked closely with Castor on a number of its projects, and his ability to conceptualise and design is nonpareil. He has a particular strength in these period designs-in particular, those that feature elaborate classical themes. Standing proof of his immense global exposure is Escape by SPI
• INDIA PLEXING • Cinemas, also located in Chennai. And he has brought the same worldclass style to Luxe. Lighting is a huge part of Luxe's theme. Los Angeles based lighting designer Babu Shankar of Integrated Lighting Design worked on the intricate lighting design. Shankar and ILD were primarily responsible for all of the decorative and thematic lighting within the project. Mr. Jal P. Mistry who has been in the field of Cinema Design and associated acoustical work of noise control and auditorium acoustical requirements since1953 and done a number of Auditorium Design & Acoustical Consultancy jobs since then for various clients in India and abroad was the Acoustical Consultant for Luxe.
TECHNOLOGY With a total of 2,688 seats, the 11 screens are a perfect balance of style and comfort. No two screens offer the same movie watching experience, thanks to the unique design, lighting and theme with a mix of different imported fabrics. The combination of designer vinyl seats, and the mélange of colour make for a sensational ambiance. Not just the look, the projection and sound technology at Luxe are the best in the world. The screens are equipped with RDX-4K
and RDX- 3D, 2.4 gain Silver Screens and digital audio that delivers a stunning cinematic experience.
Watching movies in digital format means enhanced clarity, colour, contrast and brightness by incorporating all DCI - screen management system standards. The movie looks and sounds exactly the way the filmmaker intended it every time it is projected. All the screens come replete with Barco digital projectors capable of projecting in 4K resolution, the latest in digital technology. Hence the projection brings stunning images in enhanced 4K resolution (4,096 x 2,160), combined with ultimate brightness capable of delivering 33,000 lumens and vibrant colour-accuracy time after time. All the cinemas are equipped with 3D and IMB (Integrated Media Block).
• INDIA PLEXING • accompanied with a whole range of signature mocktails. EI8HTEEN BELOW, SPI's new ice cream brand, will provide ice cream lovers a completely new experience with a range of out-of-the-world homemade flavours, lip smacking toppings, and a Cold Stone. The ice creams and the toppings are pure vegetarian.
IMB is a new technology, which comprises all the DCI specifications on improved security to prevent piracy and image processing.Not just the picture, the sound is also topnotch. All the screens are equipped with 4 way QSC speakers with the world's leading QSC DCP 300 processor which gives maximum voice clarity. Even the most subtle sound is heard clearly, leaving you with an unparalleled audio experience. Dolby Atmos, the latest in cinema sound is currently installed in two screens. The other screens are equipped for Dolby Atmos installation and will be updated shortly.
BROWSE & BOOK An entire wall at the grand lobby is dedicated to providing not only access to ticket purchase and retrieval, but also to screens that offer information about films, sessions and even about what Luxe has to offer.
FOOD & BEVERAGES Café de Luxeis a beautiful space situated on the mezzanine of the grand lobby which features both dining and casual lounge seating. The space is designed as a lounge where you can hang out with your friends and have a good time. The menu has a variety of Indian, Italian and Chinese cuisines that can be
Luxe also features a casual café where guests can get great food and drink while enjoying time spent with family and friends. This space is located at the end of the cinema lobby and is laid back - perfect for a lazy Sunday evening.
Spa 'Bliss by Oryza', the spa at Luxe offers an experience that's true to its name. It is a space to relax and rejuvenate. Operated by the experts at Oryza, the spa allows you to indulge in reflexology or other wonderful treatments in a serene ambience.
Gaming Adjacent to the café is a gaming space set up for enthusiasts of all ages to enjoy some time playing the newest games while waiting for your movie.
Cinema in Spotlight
Poised for Growth E-City Ventures flagship brand “Fun Cinemas” recently introduced the Dolby ATMOS cinematic lifestyle experience for its customers at two of its screens in a single multiplex at Andheri. This makes the flagship brand, the first in the city to have two screens in the same property. Explore many more such interesting facts about E-City Ventures and Fun Cinemas brand, in a candid conversation with Shirish Handa, Senior Vice President, Marketing and Business Development, E-City Ventures. He shares the group’s visions and immediate short term plans for the brand in the months and years to come with a firm belief that “Cinema today is poised for good growth.”
Tell us about E-City Ventures and Fun Cinemas. E-City Ventures is a set of companies within the Essel Group. These companies are in broadly two areas of business which is retail real estate development and cinemas. Under retail real estate development, we have mainly the malls. We are a cautious conservative company. We have four operational malls in the country by the brand name “Fun Republic.” There is also another business under this vertical which is also mall management. So the four malls of Fun Republic which is managed by the mall management company, which also takes assignments from outside, from other malls is the company by name “EPMS (E-city Property Management and Services Pvt. Ltd). So these two companies basically form the real estate vertical. The other side which is cinemas has again two SBUs – one is of course ECity Ventures Flagship Company with brand name “Fun Cinemas”. We are obviously in the business of setting up cinemas across the country. We have been one of the pioneers in the business. We started way back in 2001 in Ahmedabad. The other business which is not so visible but is
an extremely fast growing business is our digital cinemas business. This is basically wherein we facilitate digital equipment for any cinema, whether a multiplex or a single screen. So as you see in the real estate business, we have integrated in such a way that we run our own business and also become a service provider to our sector. So the digital cinema business is a vital service provider in the cinema exhibition sector. The company is called “E-City Digital Cinemas Pvt. Ltd.” So Fun Cinemas and E-City Digital complete the cinema exhibition side of E-City Ventures.
Tell us about journey of Fun Cinemas over the years in the industry… Fun Cinemas as I said was one of the pioneers in the industry. We were among the first few and would also like to give some credit to PVR in this because that they were slightly ahead of us. They did it towards the end of the 90s I think and of course, INOX also entered in the early days. So from there till 2006 I think, we were growing reasonably fast. But I think in 2008 and 2009, when there was economic slowdown and also then we had exhibitor – distributor standoff,
Shirish Handa Senior Vice President Marketing & Business Development E-City Ventures
our confidence in the business was shaken during these times. Our management was of the opinion that we should be a little more cautious and careful going forward. Hence from thereon, some of our loss making properties was shut down and we had become more selective about signing new properties. Therefore, now you see that the gap in the number of screens between us and our peers from the early 2000s has really increased. However that’s okay as we are fortunate to have kept out profitability under control. We have not spread ourselves really thin and gone ballistic into all kinds of markets and then having to shut down or roll back from most of the places or else putting pressure on our bottom lines. So fortunately this has worked out really well for us. Now of late from 2013, we have started looking at expanding again. There are few properties coming up. There is one in Chandigarh, Sector 17, right in the heart of the city, and then there is one in Calcutta and another in Dhanbad. So right now, following our cautious approach you can hear only these three names. As and when more get signed, we will talk about them as well.
What are the business prospects and fortunes of the Fun Cinemas brand in the years to come? September-October 2014
Well it looks good. The sector itself is looking good from 2012 onwards. 2012-13 was a fantastic financial year for the entire industry and 2013-14 was not bad either. So far 2014-15 has some negative trends over the last year. Film business as such is slightly up and down because sometimes the content clicks and sometimes it doesn’t. Broadly at an average level, there is no threat to cinemas as a mode of entertainment for people in India. It’s a very safe and secure place to bet your money on. We are quite crazy about movies and movie production is going up. Regional cinema is coming of age, more and more Hollywood cinema is getting accepted. So all these and of course, the socio-economic indices are going up and good infrastructure is coming up. Hence I think cinema is poised for good growth from here on as we firmly believe. Obviously Fun Cinemas will also gain. As of now, there is lot of change that is happening in the industry with consolidation happening. So it will not be sensible for us to quote numbers right now. We should wait for the consolidation to settle down and then of course everybody will talk numbers including us.
What exactly is your vision and mission in this business? How many locations and screens in how many cities/states and within what time-frame? We will take it as it comes. We have not set up very clear numeric goals about how many screens in how much time. We always look at growth in terms of its profitability. So if a property comes our way, which looks like a sure winner we just sign it immediately. However if new properties don’t excite us then we are happy to stay with our existing strong properties. So working with numbers is not the goal with which we work. We work
with a profitability and customerservice goal. Growth will happen on its own. Well, we want to be a progressive creator of lifestyle experiences. So this is something we have articulated at the E-City Ventures level, as to what we want to be. But again in terms of mission they keep getting altered. Right now, we are in the phase of actually working out short term mission, because the industry as such is in a state of flux at the moment. But broadly we are progressive and we want to create lifestyle experiences as we go along and as the society changes. This is our mission.
When do you see the upcoming plans taking shape? Take us through some of the recent accomplishments by the brand. The Chandigarh expansion should be up in the next 6 to 8 months and so should be Calcutta. We have a very good old relationship with Chandigarh, as we started the City’s first multiplex in 2003. Obviously many new players came in thereafter, but despite all the new players – Chandigarh is an extremely strong “cinema-watching” market and with this property right in the heart of the city, we are hopeful that our relationship with the city will get even stronger. We have actually achieved a plan which was Delhi and Punjab. So for a typical multiplex film, about 20-30% of the entire film collection comes from the Delhi, UP, Punjab markets comes from Fun Cinemas. So we have concentration of good properties up north. That was the big plan earlier which has been accomplished in the recent past. Now we do not have too many signed properties waiting to be operational and actually we are in the process of restarting our business development exercise. So another 3
months down the line, we will able to give more concrete answers on the cities we are keenly looking at.
The market is apparently replete with too many groups and operators jostling for space. What keeps Fun Cinemas a unique multiplexer? First of all, we are a serious long term player which makes a lot of difference. A lot of players we are talking about have come up recently, so they don’t necessarily have the experience or the passion to be in the business. Though I can’t say it for everyone, but you can consider. Secondly, or lineage considering the fact that we are from the Essel Group also gives us some sort of pedigree to be in this business. We’ve been related to the entertainment sector for a while now. There are learnings at the group level that we can borrow from. At the more operational day to day level, we have an advantage in the form of huge customer loyalty that we have created. We have India’s largest cinema loyalty program called Fun Rewards. We have more than 3,00,000 active users of this program who give us repeat business every month. So you can say month on month, about 25% of our ticket sales comes from Fun Reward members and this number is increasing slowly and steadily. So this is also a unique aspect about Fun Cinemas. Many other cinema chains have tried to do a loyalty program but none have been able to succeed at this scale. So this is something we pride ourselves on. Firstly, not many multiplexes are offering a program in the first place. So whoever has tried in the past also is still trying within. Somehow I get a feeling that they have not given it their full conviction and that is the difference because we really believe in the program. We really spend time, energy, manpower and money
behind the program. The next step of this program is leveraging the entire 3,00,000 plus customer base by giving them value-added services from other partners. Efforts in this direction are undergoing of developing alliances, so in another 23 months we should be ready with a service offering in place. What also makes Fun Cinemas slightly uniquely placed is that the senior team at the helm of affairs has been extremely stable. So if you see all the heads of the functions, whether the current head of operations or programming, or marketing, HR – all have been with the company for more than decade. The business head of digital cinemas has been around before the inception of the company, which means he was brought in from Zee. This really makes a difference as there is stability at the top and so we never slow down. There is no transition within the organization, and we don’t see changes which are unsettling for the people down the line, the business and the customers. So there is a steady flow of business, which is how customers like it. They don’t want to come into a place and get sudden shock, because it’s an enhancement or improvement in the experience.
What particular strengths and strategies has the Fun Cinemas brand brought to the marketplace? Everyone is exploiting in this new wave of digital, but I would like to believe that Fun despite its so called “mid-size” now, we have been really ahead of the curve while adopting new technologies. Our reward program itself is a classic case – wherein Fun membership you can enjoy across the country. It’s well connected across the country through our network on real-time basis. Lot of information processing at what time member has come in to the time he has signed, we have embraced technology very well.
Additionally, we are doing very well on our mobile apps and mobile sites. The e-commerce place has now shifted from desktop to the mobile site. About 40% of our online sales actually come from the handset today and this number keeps changing by the month. So the fact that we have been able to provide the customer with a seamless experience on the mobile, actually helps achieve such numbers. So we have always been adopting new technologies but I think that there is only that much of innovation that is possible, because at the end of the day you have to give the customer a great cinema experience.
implemented in the second ATMOS screen within the same property. We will be the first one in the city to have two Dolby ATMOS screens in the same facility of the same property. So this is what I mean by taking it in a big way. There are no half measures. We will probably be the first one in Chandigarh to come up with Dolby ATMOS out of the three screens, with plans underway in Calcutta as well. Hence, every new state we foray we plan to bring Dolby ATMOS which is now the latest in the best quality of sound we adopt it. So whatever best technology is available by 3D or audio quality, Fun plans to implement that.
What has been the thought process behind bringing in new technologies to the cinema screens such as for example, the recently introduced Dolby ATMOS experience?
What are the others areas wherein Fun Cinemas is embracing technology to offer something new to the customer experience?
Considering we are not the first one to go for Dolby Atmos, we are going for it these days and the first place we have implemented it – is at our flagship property Andheri. Other players who have adopted Dolby ATMOS before us have done it one auditorium, out of their 5 or 6 number of screens. But with a 4-screen multiplex in Andheri, the Dolby ATMOS is now implemented in one and will very soon be
We are also embracing technology into our ticket buying experience. We have now also started doing automated ticketing kiosks, so you now don’t need to wait in the queue. You can just come up to the automated kiosk, right next to the box office and punch in your details, get the printout of tickets immediately and go directly to the auditorium. This is something we have implemented lately in Andheri.
Some automated ticketing machines will be placed in Coimbatore, because there’s lot of traffic from online there, following which there will be Bhopal, Delhi and so on. The thought behind embracing new technologies at Fun Cinemas is to wow the customer from the point of view of technology, which the customer may not have seen earlier. Delivering something that the customer least expects or wants, and when the customer gets it they truly cherish the experience. This is the logic and reason behind embracing new technologies. It’s not about adopting new technologies for the sake of it, it’s like once we are sure that the consumer will value it, then we put it in place.
Does Fun Cinemas have any plans for megaplexes with 15+ screens? Honestly Fun Cinemas has no plans for megaplexes, unless of course we are in a market which deserves it. There are some players who started 15+ screens in north of the country and it just doesn’t make sense to us at least. However, it makes sense for us to set up 15+ screens in the southern part of the country, which is a multilingual market.
Multiplex operators today sport too many foreign elements and speciality offerings boasting their exquisiteness and edge over others. How about Fun Cinemas? As I said, we believe that most important is experience of the customer, then comes the ease of the customer to include ease of access, parking, ticket purchasing and others. Thirdly of course comes the value and delivered to the customer. This is necessarily in that order where the experience comes first. Now for us, experience doesn’t necessarily how many bucks and time you’ve spent in doing the interiors. For us, experience means minute details such as – how comfortable is the seat, how good is the staff in taking care of customers requirements and this is more important.
How different is the Group’ proposition in terms of ambience, services, pricing and cinematic luxuries…
Bengaluru, Chennai and Hyderabad for example, have robust cosmopolitan population plus the local industry is also very strong that it churns out content every Friday. So you’ve Telugu, Tamil, English and Hindi playing all simultaneously. So it merits that can kind of shelf space such that you can showcase all the movies. But I think excess of 8 to 9 screens in the north, east and west of the country will struggle. In south, megaplexes makes sense in big deep markets.
If you look at the refurbished and revamped Andheri, what we’ve done is not been done in the industry. We give you so called regular seats which give you comfort of more than what other cinemas may call luxury. So for numbers as a proof of what’s been said, an auditorium which had 380 seats has now dropped to 256, because the new seating is so comfortable and wide with improved legroom and recliners that have been added. We are going in for extra comfort because this is the necessary part of the customer experience. It is not so much about where your lighting arrangement comes from or who is your lighting consultant?
There is nothing signed up down south by Fun Cinemas for megaplexes yet down South. We are operational in Coimbatore with 5 screens, but there is nothing else signed up at the moment.
By all means hire the best talent such that you can give the best experience to the customer. After hiring the best lighting consultant, you give the customer a narrow 21" seating arrangement which doesn’t push
back; you’ve really ruined the experience. We rather concentrate on seating, ambience, comfort, convenience and these details. The F&B in Andheri multiplex has set a new benchmark in the industry.
Having taken the plunge, how do you look at the Cinema exhibition industry in the country? This is one of the best phases for the cinema exhibition industry. There is no issue on the content supply, with terms between the distributors and exhibitors look settled. Hopefully we will soon get into an era of GST where the taxation will get unified for the country, which will ease some pressure on the bottom line. Also socially there are new age groups and markets getting added to the existing consumer base, new cities are crossing the threshold where they become viable markets for cinema exhibition, and of course a lot of regional and Hollywood content is helping make the calendar packed. The more packed the calendar, the better it is for the cinema exhibition industry. So it is good times ahead. The most important thing is – we’re also retail but unlike other forms of retail where you merchandise clothing, shoes, or groceries, our business does not get negatively affected by the explosion of online channels. Our business gets aided by the online channels because now people can easily do the ticket booking online, they don’t have to come to the cinema to experience it. This is because the cinema distributors, producers and the exhibitors have clearly decided that this is the best place to give it to the consumer and not at their desktop or home. This is why I see good things ahead as this is not going to change and people will have to come to the cinemas and experience it.
Published on Oct 2, 2014
Published on Oct 2, 2014
TheatreWorld is a guide to the cinema exhibition industry and technical design of a movie theatre published by Network208. TheatreWorld is t...