The COVID-19 pandemic triggered restrictions on cinema exhibition industry have not only been a blow to movie lovers but more worryingly, led to the axing of several thousand cinema hall employees. Cinema halls and multiplexes have been kept under the prohibited category even in Unlock 4.0, along with entertainment parks, theatres, auditoriums, assembly halls and similar places.
The sector has been one of the hardest hit due to the pandemic and the subsequent restrictions implemented to curb its spread.
As per industry data, the multiplex industry in India employs more than 200,000 people directly and accounts for nearly 60 percent of revenues of the film business.
“Following the directives for cinema closures by State Government, we decided to shut our cinemas for the safety of our patrons. We are in the month of September now and unfortunately we do not have any clarity on the re-opening of our cinemas. We strongly standby with the decision being taken by the Government and are really hopeful that cinemas see the light of the day very soon,” says Gautam Dutta, CEO, PVR Cinemas.
To keep the revenue stream flowing, cinema halls are exploring other opportunities and are busy making strategies for the future. New concepts which have caught the fancy of many are open-air theatres and drive-in cinemas.
“Since the closure, although our revenues have been zero, but our spirits are up and we have been focusing on the revised SOPs for post COVID re-opening and how to instil the confidence in the patrons for a safe movie viewing experience. As the lockdown came into force, Cinema Exhibition Industry was the first to shut down in early March. Though Unlock 4.0 is in effect and many services like malls, gyms, restaurants, metro, airlines etc. have been restated and we yet have no clarity on opening. Simultaneously, this period has given us time to strategize about various other revenue aspects both in the field of movie exhibition and F&B related verticals. We are confident of rolling out our initiatives soon in addition to our core business of movie exhibition,” adds Dutta.
Keeping in mind the practice of social distancing, INOX Cinemas plan to promote private screening as a consumer offering, wherein guests would continue to enjoy pampering and hospitality.
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