‘Seeing single digit occupancies due to lack of new movies’: Inox CMO Saurabh Varma

Inox is hoping that new movies released during the festive season will help it achieve healthy occupancies.
‘Seeing single digit occupancies due to lack of new movies’: Inox CMO Saurabh Varma
‘Seeing single digit occupancies due to lack of new movies’: Inox CMO Saurabh Varma
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Multiplex major Inox plans to augment occupancy levels via unique propositions such as 'content innovation' and more recently 'private screening services' to usher in audiences. Lately, lack of fresh movie content has hampered occupancy rates to reach pre-Covid levels.

The pandemic battered business was allowed to reopen multiplexes, all across the country barring a few states on October 15, after seven months of closure due to the lockdown.

According to Inox's Chief Marketing Officer Saurabh Varma: "We have gradually and steadily started opening our screens on the basis of operational readiness."

States such as Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, and Gujarat have allowed reopening of theatres.

"We are yet to reach the usual operational benchmarks, largely due to the absence of fresh content, which is a key to the revival of the cinema exhibition sector,” Varma added.

He cited that lack of new movies is visibly evident with single digit occupancies observed in most of the states.

"The only exception is the state of Bengal, where the turnouts have been fantastic, due to new Bengali movies getting released," Varma said.

"Come festivities, when the new titles will be available, we are sure at that time we will be able to achieve our healthy occupancies."

Nevertheless, the multiplex major has gone in for content innovation.

"We are screening a concert film 'Break The Silence' on the famous Korean Pop Group, BTS. We will also be doing a lot of stand-up comedy events, and live screening of other sporting events in the future,” he said.

Besides, the company has commenced a key service of 'private screening', which ... believes will bring in more audience.

"We have rolled out the service in all the cities where we are operational as on today. As and when we become operational in other cities, we will offer this service right from day 1," Varma elaborated.

"The objective is to offer a simple, safe, convenient and affordable movie viewing experience to our guests."

In terms of the cost, Varma emphasised that entire proposition has been kept at an 'extremely attractive' rates.

"On a weekday, for a group of 10 to 15 guests, we can actually provide the entire auditorium at 2,999. Minimum 2 guests and maximum upto 50 per cent of the auditorium capacity,” he added.

The sector has been one of the hardest hit by the Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent restrictions implemented to curb its spread.

Some estimates have pegged the combined losses faced by the cinema exhibition industry at a massive Rs 10,000 crore, since the imposition of lockdown measures.

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