India’s largest multiplex company PVR Cinemas launched on Monday a new sub-brand, PVR UTSAV, to increase its reach in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities.
The company has unveiled the first UTSAV multiplex in Satna, Madhya Pradesh. “PVR UTSAV is a natural progression for us, further consolidating our foothold in the small towns of India,” said Sanjeev Kumar Bijli, joint managing director, PVR. UTSAV demonstrates the company’s “goal of bringing in first-to-market concepts, and enhanced entertainment for every pocket size”, he added. PVR Cinemas’ total screen tally stands at 797 now.
The country’s low screen density, especially in non-metros, has barred a large section of the population from experiencing modern cinema viewing, the company said. According to a CRISIL report, the U.S. has 125 screens per million people, China has 16, and India has just nine. “We are excited to launch the new format in Satna and the market is propitious for further growth. Our first property at Jalgaon [in Maharashtra] under the pilot phase was immensely successful and we are sure the new property in Satna will witness a similar response,” Gautam Dutta, CEO, PVR said. “With PVR Utsav, we are focusing on the cinema aspect ratio in non-metros to ensure further growth of the cinema industry in India.”
To increase its appeal to customers in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities, UTSAV staff will wear traditional attires and speak the local language. The interior design of the multiplexes will feature the local art. For instance, the three-screen UTSAV cinema in Satna, which seats 584 people, will feature exhibits of Gond art—paintings by one of the largest tribal communities in India. There is no change in food and beverages options though.
The launch comes close on the heels of the announcement of Jio GigaFiber’s ‘Jio First Day First Show’— a service which makes new movies available to homes of premium customers of its broadband services on the release day itself. There are diverse opinions as to the impact of the service, which is expected to be launched next year, but the multiplex industry says it won’t be impacted much, for cinemas have an “unreplaceable element”. It says Indians love for watching movies on the giant screen is “deep-rooted” and “unshakable”.