One of the much awaited Bollywood releases of this week- Befikre, starring Ranveer Singh and Vaani Kapoor will give the single-screen theatres a miss, the reason--demonetisation. With almost a month now, since the withdrawal of currencies from the market, the hassles of the single-screen theatres have been on the rise. Infact, more and more filmmakers are gradually opting to limit the release of their movies in single-screens because audiences walking in are mostly cash-strapped.
According to Manish Porwal, Managing Director, Alchemist Marketing & Talent Solutions, businesses in small-screens are down by almost 20-25 per cent post demonetisation.
On Tuesday morning, film trade analyst Komal Nahta tweeted that there is no film content for thousand single screens post demonetisation. He further mentioned, “After ‘Dear Zindagi’, ‘Kahaani 2’and now ‘Befikre’ also won’t be released in single screens. This decision is surely going to affect the lives of thousands of people who depend on this business.”
As soon as the news came out, people were extremely disheartened as they were eagerly waiting for the big-budget movie which has been getting promoted aggresively in the last few months. Hashtags like #MissYouRanveerSingh and #NoFilmsForSingleScreens, were trending on Twitter all throughout the day. According to the website tweetreach, #NoFilmsForSingleScreens, has reached around 117,588 accounts and has got around 233,950 impressions.
#MissYouRanveerSingh has reached around 218,176 accounts and has garnered around 254,509 impressions.
Commenting on when to expect things to get back to normalcy, Porwal elaborated, “Demonetisation is not a catastrophe event from which we can expect a ‘normalisation’ soon. It’s a disruption that has forever changed few things in the socio-economic mindset. In the next couple of months, when the cash at hand issues are sorted, things will go back to as normal as they were. However, even if a good fraction of PM’s dreams of cutting black money through this move come live, the mid- term economy will see a slump. Transactions, especially those on non-essential consumption items will see some decline. Having said that, the move will also make sure that the single screens will get adept to technology and they will be using it to beat the short term issues.”
Multiplex business improves as more customers opt for online booking mediums:
Things are not that bad for the multiplexes, because reportedly, around 40-60 per cent of tickets at multiplexes are sold either online or by credit/debit cards at the box office. Therefore, online booking channels like BookMyShow, PVR, Cinepolis and others are enticing their customers with exciting offers. Like, PVR has waived off the convenience fees on all the movie tickets that are booked online for the next one month. To add to it, the payment channels like Paytm, FreeCharge and MobiKwik are also attracting customers with cashbacks and free ticket offers. INOX Leisure has recently tied up with State Bank of India which allows people to withdraw cash up to Rs 2000 cash at multiplexes.
Porwal further elaborated, “There is an overall slump in the entertainment market usage and films are the biggest of the lot. Within that, multiplexes are affected the least. I still believe they are going reasonably empty and even for big movies; tickets are available till the last. Digital wallets, cards and net banking usage have seen a lot of surge especially from new users and that is heartening for an economy which is otherwise is still running largely on paper notes.”
Online bookings at Carnival Cinemas have gone up to 60-65 per cent whereas it was just 35-40 per cent before the demonetisation. Also digi-wallets have contributed to an increase of 5-8 per cent footfalls to the theatre. Commenting on the strategy to beat demonetisation, PV Sunil, CEO and Director Carnival Cinemas said, “All Carnival properties are equipped with EDC machines and one can also pay for their snacks and beverages through e-wallets. In Mumbai, we have launched fixed price MoviEcard to avoid cash crunch. We are also giving discounts on tickets and F&B while booking it through our website and other aggregator sites. There are many new offers in the pipeline to cater to the upcoming festival season demand. We are also launching a very user friendly mobile app for android and iPhone users very soon.”