Vijaya Rathore / PTI
New Delhi: Media conglomerate Network 18 is foraying into cinema screening business with plans to open a chain of theatres across India. The initiative is expected to kick off within this year.
The group has created a separate entity ‘Starglaze’ and the entire project would be funded by the its financial arm Capital 18, industry sources said.
The plan is to nationally roll out multiplexes, which will have cinema screens and food courts besides other entertainment zones, with a special focus on smaller cities.
When contacted Capital 18 officials declined to comment on its latest venture. It could not be ascertained how much the group planned to invest on the new venture.
But the company has already started working on the branding part of the initiative, according to sources.
Besides catering to the niche and premium crowd in the metros, the company was also actively looking at making entertainment more affordable. It is expected to device different pricing models for different markets, the sources added.
There could be two pricing models, one for the premium markets and the other one for the Tier II and Tier III cities.
With the new move, TV 18 would be joining the list of the existing multiplex chains such as PVR Cinemas, Cinemax, Inox Leisure, Pritish Nandy Communications, Shringar, Fun Cinemas, Pyramid Saimira Theatres, Sathyam Cinemas, Wave Cinemas and Adlabs.
The development is a part of the group’s diversification strategy and would compliment its existing businesses.
As per the recent Ficci-PriceWaterhouse Coopers (PWC) report on the Indian Entertainment industry, the filmed entertainment category, with a current size of Rs 85 billion, will be aided by the advancement of technologies like digital cinema halls to reach Rs 175 billion by 2011 with a CAGR of 16 per cent.
Network18 is one of India’s leading full play media conglomerates with interests in television, internet, film entertainment, mobile content and allied businesses. It already has a production division, Studio 18, launched in 2006.
It operates business news television channels - CNBC TV18 and CNBC Awaaz through holding company Television eighteen India (TV18). It also runs an internet company Web18 and real time news terminal provider, Newswire18.
While, through Global Broadcast News (GBN), Network18 operates in the general news and entertainment space.
The Group has recently announced its print foray with the acquisition of strategic control of Infomedia, a JV with Jagran Prakashan to launch a Hindi business paper and a strategic alliance with Forbes to launch a business magazine in India.