Entertainment conglomerate PVR Ltd has entered into a joint venture with Major Cineplex Group, a leading Thai player with expertise in running bowling alleys and allied entertainment activities, to launch Blue-O brand bowling facilities across India. PVR has 51 per cent stake in the joint venture.
PVR, which revived the movie going experience with the launch of first multiplex, is now all set to revive the game of bowling by setting up India’s largest 24-lane cosmic bowling facility at Ambience Mall located on Gurgaon-Delhi border on NH8. The first of its kind of facility in India, this bowling centre has a world cuisine lounge besides entertainment lounges and lounges for private dining. Blue-O has tied up with ITC for a smoking lounge, Xbox for Xbox 360 Entertainment Lounge, and Pepsi for their first Youngistan Bar. These apart, Blue-O bowling centre will also have a Tattoo Studio and a Pro Shop.
Ajay Bijli, Managing Director, PVR, told exchange4media, “This is a significant development aimed at evolving PVR from a film entertainment company to a retail entertainment player with a focus to enhance the out-of-home entertainment experience of cinegoers through world class lifestyle entertainment concepts.”
He further said that PVR planned to set up 150-200 Blue-O bowling lanes with an average 20 lanes in one facility over the next three years. “We would be investing about Rs 100 crore to set up Blue-O bowling facilities and over the next five years we may well top the 500-bowling lane mark,” he added.
These bowling facilities, according to Ajay Bijli, would come up in cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, and Pune during the first phase. The second Blue-O Bowling Centre with 28 lanes would come up at Bangalore’s Orion Mall that houses the 12-screen PVR cineplex.
Speaking to exchange4media, Gautam Dutta, CEO, PVR Blue-O, said that in order to fill up the need gap for wholesome out-of-home retail entertainment, they had come up with a heady concoction of bowling, food, music and indulgence with the revival of concept, game and audiences. “We will be aggressively promoting the concept through cross-promotions on PVR cineplexes, through bowling, food and cinema combo offers and through flexi pricing. We are also pitching for corporates in a big way,” he added.
Meanwhile, beating recession, PVR Cinemas is on a major expansion drive. According to Sanjeev Bijli, Joint MD, PVR Ltd, this year 50 screens, as against 30 last year, would be added at an investment of Rs 70 crore, taking the total number of screens to 158. For the expansion, the target cities include Bangalore, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Allahabad, Raipur and Ghaziabad. “We will generate funds for expansion through internal accruals, debt and by making use of the partly unused IPO funds,” he said.
PVR is, however, going slow on the expansion of its low cost cineplex model – PVR Talkies – which are already functional in cities like Baroda and Aurangabad. According to Sanjeev Bijli, they would not be adding even a single screen to PVR Talkies this year.