PVR to pump in Rs 250 cr, add 70 screens every year

Sanjeev Bijli, Joint MD, PVR

The country’s largest multiplex cinema operator, PVR, is planning to add 70 screens every year, with an investment of Rs 250 crore, as the scope for growing through acquisitions dwindles. It says it is also focusing on new offerings, superior ambience and cashless transactions to differentiate the brand. 

The firm recently saw a change in its holding structure as global private equity firm Warburg Pincus took 14 per cent stake in the firm for Rs 820 crore. While the Bijli family parted with five per cent stake, Multiple Alternate Asset Management sold nine per cent. 

PVR currently operates 570 screens across 46 cities and the figure is expected to touch 600 by March. 

According to Sanjeev Bijli, joint managing director, investments required for expansion will be met through internal accrual. To stay ahead, PVR is looking at innovative offerings. It has come up with movie-on-demand service, Vkaao, allowing individuals and groups to select a movie and theatre of their choice. 

“It runs through an online platform that enables consumers to watch any movie of their choice at a theatre of their choice. Vkaao is very disruptive and gives control to a customer to choose what they want to watch, when and where,” PVR Pictures chief executive Kamal Gianchandani said. 

PVR is trying to promote online transactions, offsetting the risk of liquidity crunch like the one the economy faced during the past two months. 

According to Bijli, demonetisation had hit PVR’s sales during the initial days. “We have revamped our mobile app and our new website is coming soon. During the past year, the share of online transactions has gone up to 60 per cent of our total revenue from 45 per cent,” he said. 

“Quality of films are beyond our control but that should not be the only determining factor. Technology, ambience and the entire experience we offer will be crucial. So, we are investing heavily in these avenues.”

During 2016, PVR had raised ticket prices by up to seven per cent. It expects the rise will be the same this year as higher footfall in their properties is more important than raising per-head revenue from ticket sales. However, increasing per-head revenue from food and beverages (F&B) segment, which accounts for 30 per cent of its total sales, will be a focus area. In one year, per-head revenue from F&B has gone up 17 per cent.

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