Revenge Watching: New Content, Diversified Offerings Thrust Life into Multiplexes

Pandemic-battered multiplexes have turned a page with pent-up demand along with new content drawing in moviegoers, thereby accelerating the industry's recovery.

Pandemic-battered multiplexes have turned a page with pent-up demand along with new content drawing in moviegoers, thereby accelerating the industry’s recovery.

The sector, formally known as ‘cinema exhibition industry’, has been one of the hardest hit due to the Covid-19 pandemic, causing revenue and employment loss.

Till recently, cinemas and multiplexes in many states remained in the list of prohibited activities to curb the spread of the pandemic.

However, accelerated pace of vaccination as well as easing Covid restrictions and lower transmission rates have turned the tide for the sector.

Besides, new local, global and regional content have once again lured many moviegoers back from the clutches of online streaming platforms to the theatres.

“The rise in overall footfalls that the industry is witnessing is due to the accelerated vaccination drive, and big-ticket movie releases, especially more international content,” Kamal Gianchandani, President, Multiplex Association of India, and CEO, PVR Pictures, told IANS.

“We have been seeing the rising trend since the opening up of key markets and the recent tweet from the office of the Maharashtra Chief Minister on theatres and auditoriums in the state reopening after October 22,” Gianchandani added.

Gianchandani also exuded confidence about a faster recovery on the back of the upcoming festive season and healthy line-up of movie releases.

“Unlike last year, this time we have a host of new content coming in from international and domestic studios,” he said.

“From October till February next year, many new releases are expected to take place and this will drive moviegoers to the cinemas,” Gianchandani added.

In addition, the industry has evolved to offer more services and products to keep the moviegoers engaged.

“We have hastened our revival with some path-breaking innovations revolving around the giant screen, like private screenings, alternate content screening, unique brand collaborations, introduction of new F&B concepts etc.,” Alok Tandon, Chief Executive Officer, INOX Leisure, told IANS.

“With a good content pipeline in the months to come, I strongly believe that the remaining part of 2021-22 will be a treat for movie lovers across the country.

“There will be heavy flow of top quality content across genres and languages with some amazing storytelling concepts releasing every Friday,” Tandon added.

The film exhibition industry in India mainly comprises multiplexes and single screen theatres.

At present, there are around 9,527 cinemas across the country, including 6,327 single screen theatres and 3,200 multiplexes.

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