PVR Cinemas to Add 350 Screens, 6 Entertainment Complexes

India's multiplex pioneer to invest $120 million over three years for its expansion plans.

NEW DELHI – Leading cinema chain and multiplex pioneer PVR Cinemas plans to treble its existing 154-screen count by adding another 350 screens and six “entertainment cities” over the next three years. PVR's total expansion plans will entail an investment of 5.8 billion rupees ($120 million) constituting a mix of debt and internal accruals.

The New Delhi-headquartered chain opened India's first multiplex in South Delhi in 1997 when PVR was launched as a joint venture with Australia's Village Roadshow, which subsequently exited the joint venture. India's largest cinema chain Big Cinemas (owned by Reliance MediaWorks) runs 516 screens worldwide including 253 screens in India.

“We have a target of operating 500 screens by the end of 2014. Of this, around 100 screens would be set up in smaller towns and cities and would run on a low-cost model under our PVR Talkies division,” said PVR Cinemas joint MD Sanjeev Bijli. PVR Talkies was launched in 2006 as a special division catering to smaller towns by offering “budget cinemas”.

On the other hand, PVR plans to launch the first of its six planned “entertainment cities” on the outskirts of Delhi which will house a state-of-the-art 15-screen multiplex, a 24-28 lane bowling alley, an Olympic size ice skating rink, food courts, restaurants and a microbrewery-based beer island.

PVR's strategy of diversifying beyond cinemas into entertainment zones saw the company partnering with Thailand's Major Group in 2008 to launch bowling alleys under the PVR BluO brand. The existing two PVR BluO bowling alleys will be expanded with another eight units by March 2012.

Meanwhile, PVR also launched an upscale luxury cinema in New Delhi Tuesday under the Director's Cut brand which includes four plush cinema halls, café, restaurant, a well-stocked bar, lounge, patisserie and a movie book shop.
“Although Director’s Cut will screen popular current cinema, it will also, under the Director’s Cut Rare banner, showcase vintage and classic cinema and landmark television shows,” said Bijli. “The plan for DC is unique, and we seek to make it a cultural hub showcasing distinguished speakers, exhibitions, lectures and performances.”

PVR entertained around 19.6 million patrons at its cinemas during the 2010-11 financial year compared to 16.2 million patrons during 2009-10, recording 21% growth. During 2010-11, PVR's total income was 3.6 billion rupees up by 28% from 2.8 billion rupees in 2009-10.

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