Pyramid Saimira in expansion mode, plans Hindi foray

MUMBAI: The Chennai-based digital theatre chain company Pyramid Saimira Theatre Limited (PSTL) has unveiled its expansion plans.

To start with, the company is planning to enter the Hindi speaking markets by the third quarter of 2006. Reportedly, the investment for the expansion is pegged at Rs 3.5 billion.

PSTL, which is operating about 100 theatres, will increase the tally to 400 by the end of FY07 fiscal end through its Networked Mega Digital Theatre Chain project, according to an official release.

"Pyramid Saimira is currently operating a theatre chain of more than 100 theatres, which we plan to increase to 400 by the financial year end 2007. From the third quarter of 2006, we plan to make a foray into Hindi speaking markets and add one screen a day also in North India. By the turn of this decade, the company plans to manage and operate on its own about 2000 screens and in addition have around 4000 screens as franchisee screens across India," says PSTL MD Saminathan.

The company has projected a top line growth of Rs 8 billion (USD 178 million) by 2010, which represents 6 per cent of the industry, adds the release.

Pyramid has technical support tie-ups with Tata Net for communication technology, Prasad Labs for conversion of films into digital, Delta Electronics as well as Arasor Technology for projectors, and Real Image for software solution providers.

Saminathan further adds that Pyramid is setting up an integrated Network Operating Center (NOC), which will convert films into Digital, transmit these films using satellite medium to various theatres across the country in a secured encryption mode.

Using Digital Rights Management, the company will exhibit the films and other contents in digital mode without physical film prints. This will bring about a saving of Rs 60,000 to Rs 70,000 per movie per theatre and approximately save Rs 2 million per theatre per annum.

PSTL chairman V Natarajan says, "Digital Cinema is not about replacing an ordinary projector with a digital projector. Through a change in technology we bring a major change in relationship and structure of the exhibition industry as a whole. Just like the hotel industry, exhibition industry will see the emergence of separation of ownership and management especially on a professional note."

By converting existing theatres into digital, PSTL expects to function as the delivery medium for entertainment and educational content, according to the release.

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