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Mumbai set to witness a multiplex war now as competition heats up

06-October-2005
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Mumbai set to witness a multiplex war now as competition heats up

Sample this – a whopping 10,000 seats per day within a meagre distance of 1 km. That’s the kind of competition that multiplexes will see as PVR Cinemas comes to the Juhu area. With sophisticated upholstery and sumptuous snack offerings becoming almost a standard, it is time for the existing players to go back to the basics.

Having realised that only content will help them differentiate, multiplexes have started acting fast and are working out strategies to combat competition.

While Fun Cinemas is a standalone format, Cinemax has positioned itself around ‘comfort and luxury’, and Fame around ‘glamour and pricing’. PVR is set to create differentiation through ‘food and delight’. All these multiplexes are gearing up and finetuning and innovatively strategising.

Niranjan Prakash, Group Leader-Sales and Marketing, Fun Cinemas, explained, “Before opening our cinema houses, we decide on a catchment area from where we expect a major chunk of our target audience. Now, we have observed that competition is catching up and with PVR’s slated launch, there will be a sudden rise in supply side, thereby necessitating differentiation.”

Fame Multiplexes, part of Shringar Cinemas Ltd, is playing host to a season of ‘alternative programming’, not to be confused with ‘alternate cinema’. Alternative programming is Shringar Cinemas’ endeavour to give Mumbai-ites an array of entertainment options such as plays, stand up comedy acts, a digital film festival, regional film festivals and the like.

“Competition is always good as it only raises the bar for the industry to perform even better. As far our strategies and programming is concerned, I have always looked at Fame as a venue that showcases, apart from cinema, other forms of entertainment such as plays, musicals and stand up comedy acts. We wish to broaden our patron base, which is why we are looking at regional cinema as well,” said Shravan Shroff, Managing Director, Shringar Cinemas Ltd.

Similarly, Fun Cinemas has hosted a French Film Festival in a bid to showcase international cinema. Describing Fun Cinemas’ plan of action, Prakash said, “We have decided to differentiate ourselves through strong focus on international cinema as data say that share of English cinema in the total Indian film pie is just 6 per cent, while Indians who are compatible with English are 20 per cent. Apart from that, we want to showcase world cinema for cinema buffs – an example is the French Film Festival – which we have held twice and though it is sponsored now, we will take financial risks once the viability is favourable. Thirdly, a part of our strategy is also to encourage good art cinema through movies like ‘My brother Nikhil, ‘Maine Gandhi Ko Nahi Mara’, etc,” he added.

Prakash further divulges details on future initiatives by Fun Cinemas, one of which is ‘Infocus’ – whereby, selected art house movies will be shown and essentially the movies will focus on technicians. The initiative is being furthered in association with GRAFITTI – Graduates from Film and Television Institute, of which Jaya Bachchan is an active member.

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