Hindi Markets Add More Cinema Theatres In 2023, With A 6% Rise


(MENAFN- Live Mint) "Growth in India's theatre screen count was driven by the Hindi-speaking markets that saw a 6% rise in cinema screens in 2023 as compared to 2022, according to the latest Ficci EY media
and entertainment industry
report. In contrast, southern markets saw a 2% increase in screens while the figure stood at 4% for the east, south India has 47% of all screens in the country. As of 2023, there are 4,573 cinema screens in the south and 5,169 in the rest of the country. After five years of dwindling figures, the number of screens increased by 4% to surpass 2018 levels last year, the report said. The period of the pandemic had seen several theatres, especially single screens, shut shop across the country. According to industry
estimates, about 1,500-2,000 theatres had shut down during the pandemic's lopsided movie screen expansion is deeply slanted towards Delhi NCR (National Capital Region), parts of Maharashtra, especially Mumbai, and cities like Bengaluru that have a tradition of multilingual viewing. On the other hand, states like Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and the northeast remain relatively screen dark.
Because there are a fewer theatres in these states, films get only limited showcasing and returns are minimal. Many films, especially small-budget ones, are not able to release there when there aren't enough screens available to the Ficci EY report, Maharashtra had 1,044 screens as of 2023, while the figure had touched 901 in Karnataka and 1,103 in Andhra Pradesh. In contrast, Bihar, Jharkhand and Orissa have 149, 83 and 162 screens, respectively lack of government incentives and disconnect of the audiences in small towns with contemporary movie themes are driving this skew in theatrical viewing, another major factor is expensive real estate, according to trade experts operators across the country agree that real estate prices have skyrocketed even in India's smallest towns and are the biggest hindrance in building malls, which is where most major multiplexes would like to house their properties.“The multiplex expansion in India coincided with the growth of malls since the early 2000s. In cities that had better infrastructure, policies, tax incentives and consumer appetite, the growth of malls and therefore, multiplexes within them started rapidly. But we now see a saturation of multiplexes in Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru and so on,” Gautam Jain, partner at media
consulting firm Ormax had said in a recent interview, due to the higher ticket prices in these halls, more films were made targeting the multiplex audience in big cities. Case in point being slice-of-life dramas starring the likes of Ayushmann Khurrana, Rajkummar Rao and others such as Badhaai Ho, Stree, Bareilly Ki Barfi and so on, that had set the cash registers ringing when released before the pandemic. As the content was unrelatable, these films sank in the tier-2 cities and smaller towns, signifying fewer opportunities for even existing theatres in these markets. This explains the sluggish growth of the theatrical business and multiplexes in the markets, Jain had explained than that, industry
experts point out in markets like Bihar, Jharkhand and Orissa, movie consumption is dominated by the Hindi language and it is the only content that is working, other than dubbed versions of English films on a limited scale. On the other hand, in cities like Bengaluru, for instance, people throng to films in all four southern languages, besides Hindi and English and even foreign language cinema occasionally said, multiplex chains are looking at expanding their presence in virgin territories. Post the company's last earnings call, Nitin Sood, chief financial officer at PVR Inox Ltd., had said the firm had earmarked an expenditure of ₹600-700 crore for screen expansion in FY24 and will have a similar plan in place for the next year also.“We're looking at adding eight to nine new cities to our portfolio every quarter but waiting for mall and retail expansion in several markets,\" Sood had told Mint.

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