The exhibition sector suffered enormously in the years 2020 and 2021 due to the Coronavirus-induced lockdown and resulting restrictions. The situation has improved in the last six months but for moviegoers, watching a film in a multiplex has turned out to be an expensive affair. Gautam Dutta, CEO of PVR Cinemas, recently spoke about this aspect and a lot more.
In an interaction with Economic Times, Gautam Dutta said that PVR used to increase ticket rates by 5-7% every year in the pre-pandemic era. For 2 ½ years, the multiplex chain couldn’t do so. Now, they have hiked the ticket prices by up to 23%. He said PVR had to do so to cope with the rising electricity costs, rent and maintenance charges. Interestingly, the ticket price increase helped the company post its best ever quarterly revenues of Rs. 1000 crore plus in Q1 of FY 2022-23. The footfalls in their cinemas are 87% of pre-2020 times and India’s largest multiplex chain expects it to grow and reach the pre-pandemic levels soon.
According to this article, PVR reported losses amounting to Rs. 748 crores in FY 2020-21 and Rs. 488 crores in FY 2021-22, on account of restrictions on cinema halls.
Advertising also forms an important part of their revenue model. As per the data provided by Gautam Dutta, about 11% of the company’s revenue used to come from advertising before the Covid pandemic. The number dipped in the pandemic period and at present, it is at 68% of the pre-Covid levels. As per Gautam, PVR expects to reach the pre-Covid figure in Q3 of FY 2023. He also said that they aim to revolutionize in-cinema advertising. For certain ads, they plan to light up the sidewalls of the multiplex screen. He also said that they play close to 16-18 minutes of advertising in each show in PVR.
Finally, Gautam Dutta spoke of PVR’s expansion plans. According to Dutta, before the pandemic, the chain used to open 80-90 new screens on average in a year. In 2022-23, they plan to open 100-110 screens. Some of these screens will be in seven such cities where PVR had had no property before. They also plan to spend Rs. 400 crores on redeveloping existing theatres.