We want to expand to Hindi, regional films: Kamal Gianchandani, CEO, PVR Pictures

Gianchandani speaks on the need to go local, their continuing focus on independent foreign language films and how they don’t see OTT as a threat to their business

e4m by Shikha Paliwal
Updated: Jul 15, 2019 8:20 AM

PVR Pictures has been the pioneer in bringing foreign language movies to India, and now it is expanding its reach to every corner of the country with a stronger focus on Hindi and regional language films. However, it will continue to delight the Indian audiences with their selection of foreign language movies too. 

Talking about the expansion plan, Kamal Gianchandani, CEO of PVR Pictures, says, “PVR Pictures has been in business since 2002. We've been focusing a lot on independent foreign language films. As a part of natural progression, we want to expand to Hindi, regional films in India because essentially in the Indian market, the box office is dominated by local films. So if you want to be a distributor of scale, you need to have a Hindi footprint, you need to have a presence in regional cinema.”

In order to ensure that the expansion matches with the experience and expertise it has in the space, PVR Pictures has backed up the plan with bigger and stronger tie-ups. “For Hindi, we've tied up with Reliance Entertainment and Panorama Films. Both are prolific and credible producers with enormous amount of success. To engage India’s diverse audience, we have lined up a slate of exceptional films such as ‘Super 30’, ‘Batla House’, ‘Section 375, ‘Khuda Hafiz’ and some more that will be announced shortly. For regional, we're still putting together building blocks. SPI, which is the largest and the most respected chains operating out of Tamil Nadu, is now a part of PVR.” informs Gianchandani.

PVR bought a 71.7% stake in SPI Cinemas for Rs 633 crore in August last year. And that will be the platform they will utilise to penetrate in Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. A total of 15+ Tamil & Telugu films are expected to be released in their home market in FY 2019-20.

As far as their marketing strategy is concerned, Gianchandani says they have a 360-degree approach to marketing, but a very sharp focus on digital marketing.

Speaking about the business that comes to PVR through online ticket sales, he says one of the big advantages of selling through online channels is transaction & customer information that helps in targeted communication, especially ahead of movie releases.

When you talk cinema in the present context, the question of OTT versus movie theatres is bound to come up. But Gianchandani sees no reason for them not to co-exist. He feels the consumer will eventually decide what he wants to watch and how he wants to watch it.

He elaborates, “OTT is a positive for producers because now they have an incremental source of revenue. What it does to a business cycle is that you are able to juice out more from the same film. For exhibitors, the misnomer is that it's a negative because there is cannibalisation. It takes away audiences. But if you look at FY18-19, it is one of the best years that we've had in the last decade. And that's when Amazon, Netflix and so many other players have been at their peak. And in spite of so many OTTs, we've had the best performance in the last 10 years. What does it tell you? It tells you that for films that have been churned out, the content has improved, it’s getting bigger and better and more and more people are coming to the cinema.”

While the focus may have turned to local content, PVR Pictures is all set with an impressive line-up of foreign language films too. Audiences can look forward to ‘Angel Has Fallen’, ‘Rambo: Last Blood’, Roland Emmerich’s ‘Mid Way’, ‘21 Bridges’, ‘The Aeronauts’, Asif Kapadia’s ‘Diego Maradona’, ‘Current War’, ‘The Boy II’, ‘My Spy’ and The Informers’ which are all slated for release in FY 2019-20.

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