In this episode of Industry Spotlight with Creative First, Lohita Sujith, Sr. Director, Digital Economy, Motion Picture Association interviewed Chief Operating Officer, Movie Max Cinemas, Kunal Sawhney.
According to Kunal, one of the fun things about working in the movie business is that new movies are released every week, which means there is always a fresh product to market.
Having spent a significant amount of his career working in the cinema industry, he highlighted some of the major changes that have unfolded. One of the most important changes, he said, is the ticketing process. While today everything is done online and there is limited human interaction, in a previous era people actually knew the managers of cinema halls. Further, he said people are no longer very eager to attend the first day, first show. Instead, consumers like to wait for reviews and then decide whether or not they should go to the show. The last major point he made was that while stars can still pull an audience, the content still matters. He has seen that today people value their time—they want to leave a cinema feeling like the film was worth the three hours they invested in going to the cinema.
When content is so easily accessible online, Lohita questioned Kunal about what keeps people from visiting the theater. He pointed out that people rarely invite friends or relatives over to watch a movie. If people are going to watch something together, it will probably be at a theatre.
The conversation then went on to address India’s screen density problem. Kunal stated that it’s not that easy to open a cinema in a tier 2 or tier 3 city, and that’s why they have a lower screen density. This is because there aren’t as many malls. He suggested that instead of phasing out single screen cinemas, they are instead converted into multi-screen cinemas. He also added state governments can help by offering a tax waiver for a few years and a clear window.
Next, the subject of movie tickets was brought up. He outlined that all-inclusive ticket pricing is still available. While some tickets are 1000 rupees, a consumer can still find a ticket for 100 rupees, even in a metro. Every cinema will have different classes of tickets, as well as more affordable ticket prices in the morning.
The conversation concluded with Kunal inviting us all to Hyderabad where Movie Max is opening a 7-Screen Cinema sometime next month.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kunal Sawhney is the Chief Operating Officer at MovieMax Cinemas. Movie Max Cinemas is a fast growing chain of cinemas by CineLine India Ltd. Kunal has spent a significant part of his career in the cinema industry and has worked for cinema chains such as PVR, Cinemax and Carnival Cinemas. His expertise spans business affairs, Acquisitions and operations. He holds a master’s degree in Business Administration from ICFA Business School.