Multiplex chain, Inox just unveiled its multi-format 'Megaplex' in Mumbai. Spread across 60,000 square feet in the western suburbs, it hosts 11 screens. Inox currently has close to 600 screens in the country and is in an expansion phase. Last year, the chain opened 85 new screens, which Siddharth Jain, director, Inox Group says, “is a record in India”.
The Megaplex has four Insignia screens. Insignia is Inox's luxurious movie viewing experience with leather recliners, butler-on-call, laser projection and an exceptional dining catalogue, serviced by a LIVE kitchen. A new addition is Kiddles, a format specially curated for little guests. Kiddles has bright and vibrant seats and interiors, along with a lobby, where kids can even play and celebrate. The high priced additions are ScreenX, a multi-projection technology, offering a 270-degree panoramic viewing experience, MX4D, with 14 built-in motions and effects programmed into the seats and theatre walls, IMAX, 40 per cent larger image, a dual projection system and Samsung Onyx LED, a technology that Inox promises will offer 10 times brighter visuals.
Is there enough demand for such premium experiences in India? Demand needs to be created believes, Jain. “When we started back in 2002 at Nariman Point in Mumbai, many came to us and said that they had stopped visiting cinema halls for various reasons but once the multiplexes were launched they all said they were comfortable again. Similarly, we hope that a huge section of the population will come here and experience the cinema, the offerings that we have and we will get a good response,” he says.
The film business in India, as per KPMG, is estimated to be around Rs 18,320 crore, of which Rs 12,490 crore comes from domestic theatrical revenues. Overseas collections, satellite rights and advertising are the other large sources of income in the film business in India. In fact, Rs 1,140 crore was spent on advertising films, last fiscal. In FY19 Inox's revenue from operations stood at Rs 1,692 crore and, as stated by the organisation, close to 10 per cent came from advertising.
The new facilities will also help the chain rope in more advertisers, believes Jain. He says, “Most people do not realise that cinemas are one of the only places where brands can physically engage with their customers. You cannot do that with television. In cinemas, you can let the customer touch and feel your products. Brands struggle to take their products out and let customers experience it.”
He adds, “Every year we project almost 300-400 different titles, each movie caters to a certain audience. Some are made for children, some are made for teenagers, there are some for adults, parents and grandparents and some for couples. Depending on the brand and who your audience is, you can choose a particular film and target your customer.”
Alok Tandon, chief executive officer, Inox Leisure, feels advertising in multiplexes can grow beyond display ads before, after and during intervals on the screens. The Megaplex has got a huge lobby, which Tandon believes can be used by brands to display their products. Apart from that there are multiple LED screens in the lobby area for display ad purposes.
Tandon feels the newly announced formats too, open up new avenues for advertisers to connect with their target audience. “For example, someone launching a new food product can display an ad on the screens and at the same time can place the products in our concession counters. If a coffee brand wants customers to experience the aroma, it can associate with the Onyx screen where seats can diffuse the smell of coffee into the air. So there is a lot that the advertisers can do at this Megaplex beyond the on-screen ads,” he says.
Movies are one of the largest consumed categories on OTT, has it started to eat into the theatrical revenue pie? “The overall pie of content consumption has grown,” says, Siddharth Jain. He is of the opinion that, "Movie watching" is an outing, Indians do with their friends, family, partner, college groups, etc.
“The quality of the content is getting better year-on-year. Right as we speak, the movie 'War' has almost hit Rs 300 crore at the box office. We measure how many movies cross the Rs 50 crore mark. Three years ago, there were 22 films that grossed Rs 50 crore. This year, I think, we will cross 35 and I am talking about only Hindi language films (without including regional language films). That tells us, people are coming to the cinema more often,” he adds.
Inox, PVR and Cinepolis are the three major multiplex chains in India and all three combined witnessed a footfall of 19.1 crore, last fiscal as per KPMG. Inox's average ticket price in FY19 was estimated to be Rs 197 versus PVR's 207. Inox saw a growth in average occupancy in FY19 compared to the previous fiscal and so did PVR. Jain and Tandon both believe that the new formats, with advanced viewing experience, will further enhance the footfall.