Image: Amit Verma
Ever dreamt of watching an old classic in the theatres? Or missed watching a film and hoped it released again in the theatres? Don’t worry; your wish will now be fulfilled. Multiplex chain PVR on Friday announced the launch of VKAAO, a first-of-its-kind theatre on-demand platform in India, which allows individuals to choose the films they want to watch at their local theatre.
Through VKAAO’s web and app platform, individuals can select a film they want to watch, along with the screening time at a nearby theatre, and then spread the word to their immediate and online community. “Once a necessary number of patrons commit to attending, the screening will get confirmed and VKAAO will reserve the theatre, manage ticketing and ensure delivery of the film, allowing the audience to sit back and enjoy the show,” says Sanjeev Kumar Bijli, joint managing director, PVR Ltd.
VKAAO has built an extensive library of content for the audience to choose from – from thrillers to comedies – through partnerships with distributors and independent filmmakers. The demand-based service will provide a chance for new and old films to reach theatres and audiences through a local, community-based approach. PVR Cinemas will be providing all its theatres for individually curated events, showcasing VKAAO’s growing collection of both studio and independent films.
“VKAAO will allow the film to play wherever there is an audience for it. Films target diverse set of audiences, the most interesting aspect of VKAAO is that it empowers audiences to find their preferred films and films to find their audiences,” says Kamal Gianchandani, CEO PVR Pictures Ltd.
On the launch of VKAAO (vkaao.com) that enables individuals to choose the films they want to watch in their local PVR theatres, Bijli spoke to Forbes India about the idea behind the collective action web-platform and the investment that the idea has entailed so far, its synergies with DT Cinemas after the acquisition and expansion plans going forward. Edited Excerpts:
How does the concept of VKAAO work? Is there a minimum number of tickets that need to be sold for a movie to be aired?
Well, it depends on the kind of movie that one is opting for. Typically, we are looking at about 50 tickets per movie. But having said that, the idea is to create an innovative way for moviegoers to experience the films of their choice, in a theatre of their choice. Once a necessary number of patrons commit to attending, the screening will get confirmed and VKAAO will reserve the theatre, manage ticketing and ensure delivery of the film; allowing the audience to sit back and enjoy the show.
How much have you invested in VKAAO?
It’s not too much. We have invested about Rs 85 lakh so far. We will be showing the movies in our theatre itself so the overall investment has not been too much. But going forward, we plan to add 70-80 screens every year and for that we need an annual investment of about Rs 200 crore.
Following your acquisition of DT Cinemas, what has been the synergy been like?
DT was a very important acquisition for us. It was a good asset that we invested in. Now, we are in a phase when we are renovating them. We have integrated teams and the processes and in another 2-3 months, the entire process will be completed.
PVR is primarily known as a Northern giant? Are you looking at foray into other destinations?
Well, we are headquartered in NCR and thus the perception exists. But we do have plans to ramp up our presence in other parts of the country as well. This month, we shall be launching our theatres in Chennai, Mysore, Moradabad and in the outskirts of Pune. This apart, we already have a sizeable presence in Mumbai, Bangalore and Kolkata.