New Delhi: Media and entertainment conglomerate Network18 Media and Investments Ltd is venturing into film exhibition by opening its first multiple-screen movie theatre here on 27 June.
The company plans to start a chain across India in the next 12-16 months, said a top official.
Big screen: An Adlabs cinema in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh. Network18 Media and Investments says it will focus on both metros and non-metros and will target the film-going audience across income groups. Photograph: Rajeev Dabral / Mint
“The first theatre is coming up in New Delhi, and the plan ahead is to have a nationwide presence,” Sarbvir Singh, managing director of Capital18, Network18’s venture capital and private equity arm, told Mint.
“We would like to build up a robust business and the aim is to be a leading player in this space over a period of time,” he added. Singh declined to elaborate on investments planned for the venture or the number of screens the group was aiming to launch.
The cinema exhibition business — to be handled by a separate corporate entity called Stargaze — will be headed by Sumant Bhargava, said a person close to the development who did not wish to be named.
The movie halls will be branded as “Glitz”, he added.
Singh said Stargaze will focus on both metros and smaller cities and target audiences across income groups.
“We want cinema viewing to be an affordable option for film lovers,” he said.
“We will target the niche and premium segments of the audience as well.”
To start with, the company will lease and operate existing cinema halls across the country but may later look at other operational models, the person close to the development said.
The firm is starting its first multi-screen at an existing cinema hall called Batra in New Friends Colony here, which will be renamed as Batra Glitz.
A marketing and advertising campaign announcing the launch of the Glitz initiative is likely in the next two days, the person said. “The radio and print campaigns are ready and will hit the market soon.”
Batra Glitz will screen Yash Raj Production’s latest film Thoda Pyar, Thoda Magic on Friday.
Network18 entered film production, acquisition, syndication, marketing and distribution business in 2006 by starting a division called Studio 18.
In 2007, the firm’s portfolio of films included popular titles such as Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd, Namastey London, Welcome, Jab We Met, and Cash. Films currently under production include Singh is Kinng, Little Zizou, and Fruit and Nut.
The cinema exhibition initiative complements Studio 18’s business.
With this move, Network18 will join the list of big corporate houses in the cinema exhibition business that include Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group owned Adlabs Ltd, Delhi-based PVR Ltd, Pritish Nandy Communications’ Inox Leisure Ltd and Pyramid Saimira Theatres Ltd, among others.
According to a study by the industry lobby Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry and professional services firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers, the filmed entertainment business, which was worth Rs8,500 crore in 2007, is set to touch Rs17,500 crore by 2011, growing 16% every year.
Domestic box office collection continues to be the largest contributor to the revenues of the film industry at 74%, the study reported.
It estimated domestic box office collections at Rs7,200 crore in 2007, up from Rs6,400 crore in 2006, translating into a growth of 12% from the previous year.
Network18 is one of India’s leading media companies with diversified interests across television, print, Internet, filmed entertainment and mobile content.