Cinemas are considering premium formats to appeal to audiences in a post-covid world



NEW DELHI: Movie viewers locked in their homes for more than a year due to the pandemic may need more than the regular fare to be wooed in theaters.

As moviegoers get used to the convenience of watching web shows and movies in multiple languages ​​from the comfort of their own homes, theaters and multiplexes plan to lure them through luxury formats – smaller auditoriums and more. luxurious, larger, high-tech screens and personalized menus. For people who are willing to spend, they will provide premium service and an intimate, safe and hygienic environment, exhibitors said.

In addition, producers and studios are lining up big tent films in Hindi and southern languages, and Hollywood shows are also on the way, requiring experiences on the big screen, trade experts have said.

“People will want large-format experiences when this is all over. There is no doubt that they were missed and could well be back in a year or so as people will want more premium experiences to make up for what they missed, ”said Rahul Puri, Managing Director of Mukta Arts and Cinemas Mukta A2.

While such experiences are not for all segments, as disposable income can be tight for a while, those who can will spend on them, he said.

“People will want to break away from the norm. These could translate into gourmet menus, larger screens, VR (virtual reality) configurations in the lobby, seating and premium service, ”added Puri.

The high-end large format is one reason people left their homes to go to the movies, said Preetham Daniel, executive vice president – Asia, of display company Harkness Screens.

“The big screen experience, sound and visuals cannot be reproduced at home,” Daniel said, adding that reports from other countries have shown customers spending money on concessions (food, 3D glasses etc) and other luxury experiences after reopening “If the same trend follows in India, which I have no doubt we will see customers looking to spend more money on everything. that allows for a full cinematic experience, leading chains to invest in expanding their menus and pushing boundaries. on what’s offered, ”he said.

“Multiplexes are adding more and more high-end movie viewing formats to better serve their target audience for a bigger slice of the pie, and this trend will continue,” said Gautam Dutta, CEO of PVR Ltd.

In states that cap ticket prices, a premium format allows a multiplex operator to charge in addition to controlled ticket prices, he said.

“Against simply watching content at home, which is more of a utilitarian experience, cinemas are an experiential medium and would like to remain relevant and better serve a premium audience through new formats, larger screens, better projection quality. and audio systems to deliver an immersive experience to audiences, which cannot be reproduced at home, ”he said.

At PVR, 11% of the total number of screens is in premium formats, and the company is looking to expand it to properties in Tier 2 and 3 cities.

Among the premium formats, PVR SAPPHIRE offers relax chairs and personalized reception services, P[XL] features auditoriums equipped with extra-large screens, enhanced laser projection systems and advanced Dolby Atmos sound, and PVR 4DX features high-tech motion and special effects seats, in both 2D and 3D formats.

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