CHENNAI: PVR's acquisition of Chennai-based Sathyam Cinemas is unlikely to radically change Tamil Nadu’s theatre sector, according to industry experts. However, some have raised concerns on possible changes in pricing and distribution policies, and the impact on SPI’s brand.
Film producer S Sashikanth of Y Not Productions, for instance, pointed out that the industry impact would be limited since SPI accounts for less than five per cent of the 750 screens in the state.
“As a user, however, I’d say the kind of standards they’ve achieved are incomparable. For those of us who’ve grown up in Chennai, Sathyam has always been the first preference. They maintain world-class standards, and let’s hope PVR maintains that,” he said.
However, Hema Rukmani, Thenandal Studio Ltd adds that PVR’s clout and experience in the industry would ensure a smooth transition. “Based on my sources, it seems like they have a deal in place for the iconic popcorn as well. If a new brand had taken over Sathyam, then we would’ve worried. But PVR is a veteran in the industry, so I don’t think it will be a major change as far as the business is concerned”.
But, pricing and distribution policies post-acquisition are still unclear, some say. Noted distributor Abirami Ramanathan pointed out that PVR might bring in distribution policies from the North.
One of the greatest difference between SPI and PVR so far, however, has been the pricing of tickets. While theatres in Tamil Nadu are allowed to charge Rs 150 plus taxes, SPI has maintained that figure at Rs 120 plus taxes for most films. PVR, however, charges the maximum.
“Going forward, it is unclear if they’ll use the same business model at SPI theatres as well,” distributor Tirupur Subramaniam noted. “PVR has smaller screens compared to Sathyam and Abirami which have 1000 seats. So they would have to reduce the ticket prices to get more footfall,” Ramanathan concluded..