[email protected]: Cinema Will Thrive
If B&W or colour TV couldn’t kill cinema years ago, Netflix or Amazon Prime won’t succeed either.
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Predicting the future of the entertainment industry in 2047 is tricky, but I think the Indian cinema industry will evolve. There is going to be a lot more focus on food and beverage and services in theatres.
Movies will become incidental. We have seen this happen at our PVR Director’s Cut — the luxury arm of PVR Cinemas that blends the best in high-end hospitality and entertainment — where people just come for the experience. They don’t really come for the movie but for the experience of sprawling out on a recliner, ordering their pizza or burger, while watching a movie. I think this trend is going to evolve. Lately, movies are also being consumed in other formats such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and so on.
That being said, it doesn’t mean that there will be no theatres by 2047 or that every theatre in 2047 will be a loss making entity. The theatres will survive just as they have the test of time. When black and white TV first arrived, people said the time of cinemas had come to an end; then came colour TVs and people said the same thing; followed by video cassettes and DVDs; while theatres may have taken a hit due to these formats, cinema has survived and will continue to thrive. The reason is common human social need to go out and have fun. People like to go out once in a while with friends and family to watch a good film for entertainment. A movie on the big screen with amazing sound and technology, some popcorn and a cold beverage makes for a good outing. I am pretty sure that theatres will survive the competition from Netflix and Amazon as well. Both platforms will co-exist as there are certain things that one wants to watch on Netflix and then there are those that one wants to watch on the big screen. Watching a movie on the big screen makes for a good three-hour break.
In 1997, when the first PVR was launched after revamping Priya Cinemas in South Delhi, people said, ‘it isn’t going to work’ as the ticket were higher than the usual rate. But today, after two decades, we are thriving as a business entity with 597 screens across the nation. So, this makes it evident that theatres will never face lack of occupancy, if there is good content on screen. Of course, the revenue model for producers has changed from what it was in 1947, and will further evolve. Now, a movie not only makes money from footfall at cinema halls but also from channel rights, sponsors and various other sources. With the evolution of technology, the business too will find its way.
Coming to the technology aspect, I have witnessed amazingly fast-evolving technology in the last three to four years in cinemas, and it is going to gain pace with time. The investment in cinema technology is rising, which indicates that by 2047, we will see cinema on a different level. Currently, we have got 4DX, IMAX, 4K projectors, ScreenX and so many other formats that are par excellence, and notably bringing people back to the movie hall. PVR’s Director’s Cut has brought people back to cinemas. IMAX has done the same. And all of this has happened in just the last few years. Not just the ‘elites’ of the society but also the middle class of the nation have been a great catalyst in confirming our belief that watching a movie luxuriously is everyone’s cup of tea. I believe till 2047, there will be massive technological advancements, and services will become an integral part of movie watching.
So, it’s safe to say that by 2047, we will witness a lot many dimensions in the revenue model of the entertainment industry, and consequently, more opportunities for all, be it digital platforms, TV channels or theatre owners.
(As told to Prateek Shukla)
Bijli is joint managing director of PVR Ltd
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