When movie exhibition company PVR gobbled up rival Cinemax in 2012 to catapult itself to the top slot among multiplex chains in India, it was an important step by the Ajay Bijli-owned company to ensure it got enough size and scale to make itself a formidable player. Two years on, PVR has chalked out an ambitious expansion plan which includes reaching 1,000 screens by 2018, from 454 now. The PVR story has been one of entrepreneurship and growth, with the Cinemax deal providing the icing on the cake.
But, as several success stories have demonstrated, staying at the top is quite different from reaching there. Even as Bijli continues to keep his foot on the accelerator and remains hungry for further growth, the more difficult task will be to maintain PVR’s leadership position. Competition is hardly sitting idle and, already, rivals such as Inox are closing in. Inox recently acquired Satyam Cineplexes and is now less than 100 screens behind PVR. Besides, as PVR grows in scale and footprint, it will have to remain mindful that this growth does not come at the cost of quality and customer centricity. For an intensely consumer-facing business like the one PVR is in, that could pose a severe challenge as more screens are added across the country.
The stock markets have been favourable to PVR, but investors will be watching Bijli’s next steps closely. As Bijli tells us in our cover story, detailing his strategy and next steps, he does not want to get carried away with what PVR has achieved thus far.
The engrossing PVR story apart, another highlight of this issue is The Forbes 400, the definitive ranking of America’s richest people. This list is peppered with inspirational stories of those who made it despite the vagaries of uncertain business conditions. From Bill Gates to Mark Zuckerberg, Eric Schmidt to Donald Trump, these are the biggest names in America and the world. I would particularly urge you to read the stories on Steve Ballmer and Jerry Yang, two very different people but bound by a common thread: Both have now moved on from their previous incarnations at Microsoft and Yahoo respectively and are busy chalking out exciting second acts of their own. And the upside: They seem to be having a whole lot of fun doing that.