PVR cinemas who were in the news a couple of weeks ago with the announcement of acquiring majority stakes in one of South India’s leading multiplex chain SPI Cinemas are making a few headlines yet again, and for all the right reasons. The heads of the company don’t seem likely to stop or take a break from their aggressive expansion mode.

Besides SPI cinemas, the heads had in the past acquired DT Cinemas from DLF for Rs 433 crore, and Cinemax from Raheja Group at a valuation of Rs 570 crore among many other cinemas including the single screens.

It looks like the heads are currently working seamlessly in order to reach the target of having a total of 1000 screens by 2020. The target seems to be within reach with the company looking to cross the 800 screens mark by the end of this year. The current screen count after acquiring SPI cinemas is 706 screens across 152 properties and 60 cities.

Now, the news floating around is that PVR are the front runners in acquiring one of the leading North Indian multiplex chain, WAVE cinemas. Wave Cinemas own properties across Noida, Lucknow, Rudrapur, Haridwar, Ludhiana, Moradabad, Chandigarh, Meerut, and Jammu and have an occupancy rate in range of 27-28%. Even though Inox Leisure, Carnival Cinemas and Cinepolis India are in the race to acquire WAVE cinemas, PVR seem to be leading the pack.

If they manage to acquire WAVE Cinemas then they’ll be very close to reaching that goal of having 1000 screens throughout India and it would be a massive feat as well. India right now has about 11000-12000 screens in the country over all and almost 10% of those screens would belong to PVR; and there are about 3000 multiplex screens in India and a third of them would be under PVR. This is a massive achievement for the heads and everyone at PVR and another step towards the goal of increasing the total number of screens in India. There are other major players in the game too and hope they follow the same and continue to compete with each other in a similar fashion and in turn improve the theatre going experience of the patrons in India.

This move looks and feels great but we can’t feel a sense of scepticism that this may lead to unnecessary monopoly in the market space but it will be nonetheless interesting to see how this one pans out.

By – Amul Vikas Mohan

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