Multiplexes rake in the rupees in Bollywood-mad India
By Nandita Bose and Abhishek Vishnoi
MUMBAI Nov 20 (Reuters) - For a country that produces twice as many movies a year as Hollywood, India has a problem that's making cinema theatre operators beam: a shortage of modern multi-screen cinemas and plenty of increasingly affluent film fans.
Multiplex operators like PVR Ltd, Inox Leisure , Reliance Mediaworks and Mexican chain Cinepolis are scrambling to set up theatres targeting the rapidly growing number of middle-class Indians willing to pay to watch Bollywood movies in more comfortable surroundings.
These plush theatres, often in big city shopping malls, are a far cry from the single-screen cinemas most Indians still frequent and which range from huge, purpose-built halls to sheds where the deluxe seats are wooden benches.
The potential is huge, provided operators can find the right location in a country where prime urban real estate is costly and in short supply.
Multiplexes account for just 8 percent of India's 12,000 screens but rake in a third of total box office receipts, according to the Single Screen Association of India and a report by consultants KPMG and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).
Averaging 160 rupees ($2.60) each, tickets at Indian multiplexes cost almost three times more than a ticket at single-screen cinemas, the KPMG-FICCI report said. At the Inox multiplex in a prime Mumbai area, tickets for a recent showing of blockbuster "Krrish 3" sold for as much as 380 rupees ($6.10) each.
"Indians love their movies, their Bollywood stars and the middle class is increasingly ready to spend on a better movie-watching experience," said Pramod Arora, president of India's biggest movie theatre operator PVR, which expects revenue growth of 25 percent a year for the next three years.
By comparison, KPMG forecasts overall film industry revenues to grow 10.8 percent a year through to 2017. Continuación...