Picture yourself watching the latest Bollywood flick Sanju on the big screen in an inflated air-conditioned canopy with Dolby surround sound system. That would be an absolutely delightful experience and that is precisely what people from Jashpur in Chhattisgarh experienced in the last week of June. Picture Time, the ‘travelling’ multiplex theatre, strives to deliver this experience to people in the tier-3 towns. Sushil Chaudhary, the brain behind Picture Time, says, “I started my entrepreneurial journey with Mann-India in the LatAm region, and I am now the founder and chief executive officer of Picture Time Digiplex Pvt Ltd that aims to deliver digital cinema experience to people in the rural parts of India.
The mobile digiplex startup is building an affordable ecosystem of technology, driven by a cinematic experience that would take India’s box-office revenues to 10 times the level in the next five years.” The firm operates 10 mobile digiplex cinema theatres catering mainly to rural population in Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. Quiz Chaudhary about turning towards the entertainment industry, he says, “I wanted to do something for the interior areas of India in the entertainment space, and that too at a reasonable price.”
Watching a movie in Picture Times is not just about the experience in an inflated canopy. The DigiPlex infrastructure also includes a custom-made and acoustics-enabled inflated enclosure to house 120-150 people. For the tech enthusiasts, it is a chamber of digital surprise. Operating on cloud-based software, it has a mobile app for user and content owners with capabilities of audio/video reviews, along with the online mobile ticketing platform. All this for tickets priced between Rs 30 and Rs 85. The real revenue comes from government and corporate advertisements, shows and events.
With youngsters flocking the mobile theatre, Chaudhary says there are viewers from all age groups. “Most of the families are excited to see PT bringing new releases to their vicinity and offering multiplex par experience,” he added. Though it is a successful venture now, Chaudhary says there were lots of challenges to bring Picture Times to this height. As piracy is a growing concern in Indian entertainment industry, he says, convincing the content owners that Picture Time is the solution to piracy was the greatest challenge.
Picture Time operates in a fixed beat. They identify tier-3 towns with a population above 25,000 and showcase new releases. Being a movie buff, Chaudhary has big plans for the venture. “Our milestone for this financial year is 120 units and the target for next three years is 3,000 units up and running.” Next time you spot an inflated canopy near a truck, you know people are enjoying the latest movie with digital cinema viewing experience. Like Sushil says, “Entertainment is everyone’s right.”