Amongst the five strong different ventures E-City operates in the entertainment space, the growth thrust will be on Fun Multiplex and E-City Digital Cinemas. The other three businesses – E-City Entertainment, E-City Films and E-City Property & Management Services – will thus provide the support base to the growth of the entire division. The company also proposes to invest Rs 300 crore by 2008 in all the five business properties.
Atul Goel, CEO, E-City, said, “We had set a target of investing Rs 500 crore in five years and we have already put in Rs 200 crore. Looking at the various growth opportunities, we will invest more than Rs 300 crore by 2008.”
Fun Multiplex, which operates with the brand name, Fun Cinemas, is projected to be running 125 screens by July 2007, and has already signed with more than 30 multiplexes nationally for the same.
Said Goel, “Fun Cinemas is now working extensively on raising the industry bar of theatrical opulence with renowned leisure space designers, acoustic consultants and cinema technicians. There is a large, untapped opportunity to segment the market on the lower price points, with a largely functional and comfortable offering, but without the frills. On the lines of the no-frills airlines, there will be no-frills multiplexes. This will happen as more cinema seats supply hits the market. We will concentrate on this area a lot more.”
“With E-City Digital Cinemas we plan to digitise 500 screens by the end of 2007. The initial focus is to identify and digitise screens in the Mumbai Territory (consists of Western Maharashtra, Gujarat and parts of Karnataka). We also have plans to tie up with and digitise 100 screens by mid-2006 as an interim goal. The company has already signed up nearly 50 screens for digitisation and we have put in place a strategy to refurbish single screen theatres, on a selective basis, to ensure that the patrons enjoy better cinematic ambience and a state-of-the-art audio-visual experience,” Goel said.
There are plans to consolidate the position of E-City Digital Cinemas in the motion picture exhibition industry, as a total solution provider.
E-City Films, which is in the business of film distribution and syndication of quality film software, will be distributing ‘Elvis has left the Building’, ‘Truth about Love’, ‘Five Children and It’, etc, at the beginning of 2006.
Among ECF’s recently acquired movies are ‘The Flock’, starring Richard Gere and ‘I Could Never Be A Woman’, starring Michelle Pfeiffer, both from Bauer Martinez Studios. The other line-up includes ‘Vegas Baby’, ‘Dungeons & Dragons’, ‘The New World’ and ‘Cellular’.
For E-City Property and Management Services, which was set up to provide the most integrated and reliable mall management and asset services in the country, the focus area will be the Northern region. “We have already picked up three new properties and we will look to expand in the North,” added Goel.