Pyramid Saimira to increase theatres to 400 by end 2007

MUMBAI: Chennai based, Pyramid Saimira Theatre Limited (PSTL), the single largest theatre chain company in India, unveiled its plans to become the world’s largest digital network chain during a press conference on May 30 at Hotel J.W. Marriot. V. Natarajan.

Addressing a press conference in Mumbai, the company’s managing director P. S. Saminathan said, “Pyramid Saimira is currently operating a theatre chain of more than 100 theatres, which we plan to increase to 400 by the financial year end 2007. We have done intensive background work and have created trained manpower to add one theatre a day in South India.

From the third quarter of 2006, we plan to make a foray into Hindi speaking market and add one screen a day also in North India. By the turn of this decade, the company plans to manage and operate on its own about 2000 screens and in addition have around 4000 screens as franchisee screens across India.”

Indian Entertainment & Media industry’s total revenue is estimated to grow at a compounded annual rate (CAGR) of 19 per cent and to be worth Rs. 83,740 crore (USD 18.6 bn) by 2010. The current size of the industry is about Rs. 35,300 crore (USD 7.8 bn). The industry is estimated to out perform the country’s GDP growth each year till 21010 according to the 2005 annual edition of FICCI – Price Waterhouse Coopers report on the Indian E&M industry.

The study attributes this to economic growth, rising income levels, consumerism, coupled with technological advancements and policy initiatives taken by the government, e.g 100 per cent FDI permitted to encourage inflow of investments into the sector.

Film entertainment sector is expected to get more corporatised and is projected to grow at 18 per cent to become a Rs. 15,300 crore (USD 3.4 bn) industry by 2010 from Rs. 6,800 crore (USD 1.5 bn) now. The growth is expected to be driven by technology advancements in film industry in the segments of Production, Exhibition and Marketing.

Exhibition industry in India has over 12000 screens and South India constitute 60 per cent of these screens. Further emergence of Tier II & III cities holds a huge potential in organized film exhibition industry and organized retail industry.

It is estimated that by 2006 – 2007, India will have a 91 million higher income households, 74 million climbers and 15 million aspirant households, which will fuel the demand for entertainment. Further nearly two thirds of India’s population is below the age of 35 making it one of the youngest Nations in the world on the feasible basis.

Pyramid through its integrated Network Operating Center (NOC), will convert films into Digital, transmit these films using Satellite medium to various theatres across the country in a secured encryption mode.

Using Digital Rights Management, the company will exhibit the films and other contents in digital mode without physical film prints. This will bring about a saving of Rs 60,000 – 70,000 per movie per theatre and approximately save Rs 20 lakhs per theatre per annum.

By converting existing theatres into Digital, it can also function as delivery medium for other entertainment content, educational center including video conferencing, virtual class rooms etc., one can see Cricket match live, have refresher courses, conduct medical entrance exams, etc. in these theatres.

Theatre Digitalization will bring about drastic reduction in distribution cost as the process enables Carpet Release of the films across all locations using satellite network. This will not only eliminate extra film print cost, but also the quality-divide between the metros and non-metros. Further with simultaneous release of films at all locations, the process will give a big blow to piracy.

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