PVR, Prestige tie up for 60 screens

MUMBAI: PVR Cinemas has entered into an agreement with Bangalore-based Prestige Group that will allow it to open and operate 60 screens in South India.

According to the deal, PVR will be operating multiplexes for all of Prestige’s Forum malls. The partnership will be on a profit sharing basis.

“The Forum takes pleasure in announcing that PVR will be operating the cineplexes for all the Forum malls at Bangalore including Whitefield and Shantiniketan. They also include malls coming up at Cochin, Hyderabad, and Mangalore,” said Prestige group chairman and managing director Irfan Razack.

“Since the inception of The Forum, we have made a conscious effort to provide an exhilarating experience to the customers who enter the mall and thus have a clear strategy to take it forward. The association with PVR is a part of this strategy. While competition is an indelible part of the business environment, partnerships today are paving the way for growth and to mutually complement each others’ businesses”, added Razack.

The Forum mall is Bangalore’s first and most popular malls. The tie-up is a part of Prestige’s growth plan with a strategy to provide the ‘Forum Experience’ across South India.

“Retail today is like a focal point of social gathering at a place for relaxation, entertainment, good food and comfort zones. We want to think big, for us a mall means at least 200,000 square feet. We want to provide people with multiple choices in entertainment, and so our malls in most places will generally have six screens or more,” informed Razack.

As per the current approvals, Prestige has planned 10 malls till 2011 ranging from 600,000 to 1,000,000 square feet. The mall in Cochin will have an area of 1,000,000 square feet, with 700,000 square feet accounting for retail and the balance split over hospitality, office space and screens.

Razack is looking at an average of six screens per mall, or about 60 screens for the ten malls. He is looking at cities like Coimbatore, Belgaum, Hubli, Mysore, Vijayawada, Goa and Pune for setting up malls. Depending upon the studies by the Prestige group and PVR, each mall will have three screens or more.

By 2012-15 depending upon the speed at which the government infrastructure reaches some of these tier II and tier III cities, Razack has plans for another 20 malls across the country, but mainly in South India, and is looking at about 200 screens in all, making Forum one of the largest players in this segment.

For PVR, the multiplex with eleven screens at the Forum mall in Bangalore is the highest grossing multiplex across the country that attracts the highest number of footfalls.

Last year, PVR announced that it plans to launch digital cinema in small towns under the PVR Talkies brand. At present this initiative is limited to just three cities – Aurangabad, Latur and Baroda. According to PVR Limited president and CEO Pramod Arora, this is because a level of maturity is to be attained by cine goers in villages and smaller towns in India to make it feasible to launch multiple screens there.

“We will have about 250 additional screens at an investment of about Rs.3.5 billion over the next three years,” said PVR Limited joint managing director Sanjeev Kumar Bijli. At present, PVR has 95 screens and plans to add another 31 by end March 2008 in Chennai, Mumbai and Chandigarh.

According to Bijli, online revenues nationally account for seven per cent of sales, while in Bangalore the revenues, especially by way of ticketing through ATMs,’ are about 20 per cent of the total ticket sales.

During the last fiscal (April 2006 to March 2007), PVR’s net profit had gone up by 93 per cent to Rs 105 million. According to Arora, PVR’s net profit during the last two quarters of this financial year (April-June 2007 and July- September 2007) has already surpassed this and is in excess of Rs 120 million.

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