PVR Cinemas has launched an online platform called Vkaao.com where moviegoers can decide the film they want to watch in a theatre hall. Users can browse and select any movie from the PVR library and create a screening session at any of the PVR Cinemas in their vicinity with the date and time for the screening. The option to create a screening is available in all 48 cities where PVR Cinemas are operational.
By allowing individuals to select their preferred movie along with the location, date, and time of the screening at any theatre of their choice, the focus is on leveraging state-of-the-art technology in order to create a social, crowd-sourced movie-going experience, thus adding value for all key stakeholders.
“PVR runs a very large chain of cinemas. We often get feedback like people wanting to watch a Vijay film in Guwahati or an Oscar-nominated film in Lucknow and not having it run in their locations. This is a solution based on that sort of feedback,” said Kamal Gianchandani, chief executive officer, PVR Pictures.
The VKAAO library that currently boasts of more than 500 films covering a wide array of genres including action-packed thrillers, real-life stories of heroism and light-hearted comedies (categories on the website range from ‘war action’ to ‘Shah Rukh Khan’ to ‘musical’ to ‘VKAAO exclusives’), has been curated with the help of partnerships with studios, distributors and independent filmmakers that PVR has formed over the years.
All categories are divided further into multiple sub-categories. In case there is another screening of the same movie, the website will prompt users about it right away, allowing one to join that screening instead of creating a new one. Users don’t have to pay anything extra for creating a screening, but will only be charged for the number of tickets they are booking.
The acquired films will be played on a revenue-sharing arrangement with the filmmakers. The multiplex chain hopes to update its collection on a daily basis, reaching 1,000 movies by the end of first three months and 2,000 by the end of the first year.
Once a movie screening has been created, one can invite friends and other members to join. The good thing is that users don’t have to be a part of any group or community on Vkaao.com to join a screening. If a movie screening is scheduled on the website, and the seats are available, anyone can book a ticket, pay for it in advance and go for the screening.
However, for a screening to take place, the move hall will stipulate a minimum number of seats that need to be filled. If the booking is less than the number of seats six to seven days prior to the movie screening, the movie will be dropped and those who have already booked a seat will be refunded.
“Niche films get lost at the time of regular release. There is an urgency to get admissions in week one, which doesn’t hold true for VKAAO. The film will discover its own audience because it will stay there for months,” Gianchandani said, adding that such targeted marketing would be a cost-efficient way to take niche films out to wider audiences since a screening will only take place when there are enough people, thus saving on print costs.
“Going forward, we expect niche and specialty films to release exclusively on VKAAO,” he said.
On 12 January, 2017, Mint reported that the film exhibition business in India saw a 10-15% decline in box office collections in 2016 as compared to 2015. But the theatre-going experience, Gianchandani said, is a social, communal habit unlikely to die down, despite the surge in digital platforms and India will continue to build multiplexes for the next ten years.
“The big-screen, 60-foot experience you get in a cinema is unmatched. You surrender yourself in a theatre, it’s the ultimate way of experiencing a film. There is no question of movie watching in a theatre going away,” he said.
Joining the website is free.
One can register through Facebook, Google Plus or create a separate account. The advantage of this website is the fact that it allows users to watch movies that they missed due to a busy work schedule or limited screening of that particular movie.