Will look at expansion, capital outlay next year: PVR's Sanjeev Kumar Bijli

Topics PVR | PVR Cinemas

Photo: Bloomberg
Even as it continues to open new properties stuck due to the Covid-19 pandemic, PVR Cinemas will look at expansion and capital outlay next year, the company's joint managing director Sanjeev Kumar Bijli said.

Having opened a new property in Jamnagar, taking the tally to 849 screens at 177 properties in 72 cities, PVR Cinemas might launch properties in Mumbai, Rourkela, Hyderabad and Jalandhar depending on approvals and licenses from the respective states.

According to Bijli, PVR is launching properties that were supposed to be launched before the pandemic hit the country in March 2020. These newer properties are the ones that were awaiting either some finishing touches or licenses to be operational and faced delay due to the pandemic-led lockdown in various states.

"These 3-4 properties, including Jamnagar, were already capitalised and were awaiting licenses. Now that states have relaxed norms, it made sense to open up these new properties. However, we will not be looking at any major expansion plan this year. We will look at capital outlay later next year," Bijli told Business Standard.

Barring states like Maharashtra, Kerala, Jammu and Assam which are still shut, most of the states have relaxed rules, allowing PVR and the industry in general to reopen cinema exhibitions as well as grant licenses for newer properties.

Talking about operations post pandemic, Bijli said that the company was trying to keep costs in control with segments like online ticketing helping the company to keep manpower costs down.

Led by Hollywood releases like 'F9' and 'Shang-Chi' along with the major Hindi release of 'Bell Bottom', PVR expects footfalls or cinema admissions to grow. "August has been slow with people not knowing that cinemas have reopened. As against a normal of 7.5-8 million a month, August 2021 saw only one million admissions. However, going forward, regional language films such as Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu and Kannada might see more releases since these states have opened up in recent times," he added.

Overall, PVR has seen 70 per cent of its properties reopen since August 2021.

Meanwhile, with the opening of Jamnagar property, PVR’s total screen count in Gujarat stands at 68 screens across 15 properties, augmenting its presence to 247 screens in 59 properties in Western India.

The 3-screen PVR property is spread over an area of 30,000 sq ft and can house up to 706 audiences. Additionally, the new property in the city is integrated with modern in- cinema technologies like 2K RGB Laser projection system, Dolby 7.1 surround sound and next generation 3D system, ensuring excellent visual and sound experience for an enhanced cinema-viewing experience.

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