PVR is looking to expand its cinema exhibition business in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. They have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Dubai-based diversified business conglomerate Al-Futtaim Group to explore opportunities for jointly developing a cinema business in the MENA region. The joint venture will introduce a collection of experiential cinema formats to the region including, PVR’s Director’s Cut. Al-Futtaim has already identified locations in Dubai Festival City and Festival Plaza and is in discussion with landlords to secure other locations in Dubai and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

It’s not just PVR, which is looking to expand into MENA region. Carnival Cinemas has also acquired Gulf Film-owned multiplex chain Novo Cinemas, one of the largest theatre chains in the Middle East with 129 screens across 15 locations in Qatar, UAE and Bahrain.  Last week, they signed the largest overseas acquisition deal for any Indian multiplex and have entered into a definitive agreement with Elan Group to acquire its 100% stake in Qatar-headquartered Novo Cinemas. Novo Cinemas currently operates 104 screens with over 16,000 seats across 10 properties in the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, and has planned expansions of over 50 additional screens over the next few years. Carnival started their first international expansion in 2016 with Singapore, where they have 8 screens currently.

This trend of slowly expanding in the Indian terrain as well as in the Middle East and other places has opened up various opportunities for the distributors to make their films reach a wider audience. Specially, in the Middle Eastern region where there are people ready to consume your film but don’t have the chance to do so. Also opens up a great opportunity to exploit the market there considering the Indian Diaspora settled in the Middle East. This is just going to be another step in helping us slowly strengthen our foothold in the foreign markets.

This has also opened up new horizons in reaching the global audiences. Today it’s the Middle East, tomorrow it could be one of the other territories. It’s a small step towards progress but it’s a step in the right direction nonetheless.

By – Amul Vikas Mohan

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