People were willing to pay 30-40 per cent more for a better entertainment experience at multiplexes in the US, while in some countries like India, for instance, this count could be 100-200 per cent higher than a plain-Vanilla evening at the movies. So what do you give them? An experience that engages the senses, going beyond sight and sound.
Look at the competition to the single screen cinemas and multiplexes – in the US, this list includes video on demand, home theatre, online access, video games, and of course, piracy. The solution lay in giving people an experience they could not get at home, said speakers at the session on ‘Maximising the ROI on Cinema Exhibition’.
Raaja Kanwar, Vice-President, Valuable Media, noted that government support was lacking. The infrastructure finance to enable 2,000 cinemas to come up in India stood at Rs 3 billion, he said, and contended that this was an area where the government could help. Concessions on the lines of those accorded to multiplexes were needed for development of digital cinema, and access to satellite transmission at attractive rates as well as amendments to laws to facilitate growth of digital cinema could help curb piracy, he stated.
That the multiplex owner was seeking intimacy with varied audiences on a mass scale was often forgotten, felt Tushar Dhingra, COO, Adlabs Multiplexes. The need to treat different segments of customers differently, according due respect to their distinct preferences, was reiterated by Kiran Reddy of Satyam Cinemas. The content needn’t be just film, said Reddy, who went on to elaborate, “We might do a test of the Formula 1 races at our screens in Chennai. We are trying to do it via satellite.” With digital cinema, which he reiterated as being different from electronic cinema, the opportunity for dynamic advertising also arose, Reddy said.
Soon, we might be heading to a city multiplex for a special screening of an Indo-Pak match. Lunch and dinner would be provided by the restaurants housed in the premises, and the kids would obviously have a special zone. Maybe a ladies club would be accommodated, perhaps supported by a women’s magazine.
The future is digital, but you still need to create the experience.