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PVR woos Bollywood producers to bring films back to cinema halls from Netflix, Amazon

PVR’s shares snapped 8 years of gains to fall about 30% in 2020 after a number of films with top actors such as Amitabh Bachchan, Akshay Kumar opted for streaming platform release.

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New Delhi: PVR Ltd. is in talks with Bollywood producers to release their movies in cinema halls now rather than on streaming sites like those run by Netflix Inc. and Amazon.com Inc., now that the pandemic is easing in India.

The country’s biggest cinema operator, which runs about 835 screens across 71 cities, is currently operating most theaters at half capacity due to Covid-related restrictions. However, it sees benefits in the “age-old strategy” of movies first coming to the big screen before being monetized on other platforms.

“This applies more to big films, where the yield per eyeball in theater is still the highest as compared to all the other distribution platforms,” Kamal Gianchandani, PVR’s chief of strategy, said in an earnings call last week.

A number of Indian films starring top actors such as Amitabh Bachchan, Akshay Kumar and Vidya Balan opted for streaming platform release in 2020 as theaters were shuttered by shelter-at-home rules. Post reopening, Christopher Nolan-directed science fiction “Tenet” and superhero movie “Wonder Woman” were the only prominent releases before Tamil action thriller “Master” opened in theaters last week.

“We are hopeful that Master will be a case study based on which you will see — over the next few weeks — the Bollywood film guys and more South Indian regional guys planning the release calendar of the films which are currently ready,” PVR’s Chief Financial Officer Nitin Sood said.

PVR Ltd. is in talks with Bollywood producers to release their movies in cinema halls now rather than on streaming sites like those run by Netflix Inc. and Amazon.com Inc., now that the pandemic is easing in India.

The country’s biggest cinema operator, which runs about 835 screens across 71 cities, is currently operating most theaters at half capacity due to Covid-related restrictions. However, it sees benefits in the “age-old strategy” of movies first coming to the big screen before being monetized on other platforms.

“This applies more to big films, where the yield per eyeball in theater is still the highest as compared to all the other distribution platforms,” Kamal Gianchandani, PVR’s chief of strategy, said in an earnings call last week.

A number of Indian films starring top actors such as Amitabh Bachchan, Akshay Kumar and Vidya Balan opted for streaming platform release in 2020 as theaters were shuttered by shelter-at-home rules. Post reopening, Christopher Nolan-directed science fiction “Tenet” and superhero movie “Wonder Woman” were the only prominent releases before Tamil action thriller “Master” opened in theaters last week.

“We are hopeful that Master will be a case study based on which you will see — over the next few weeks — the Bollywood film guys and more South Indian regional guys planning the release calendar of the films which are currently ready,” PVR’s Chief Financial Officer Nitin Sood said.-Bloomberg


Also read: Road map soon for OTT players like Netflix, Zee 5 to help make content code ‘clearer’


 

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