We want to give an economic viewing experience, says MuktaA2 cinemas Puri

There was a time when cinema was a novelty. But over the decades cinema has evolved. Today cinema is more about giving the audience a different viewing experience of cinema. While theatre has seen a decline as compared to cinema in the last decade, this generation is appreciating theatre more than cinema. Cinema has always embraced new ways of seeing the world, recognizing both the technical innovation and commercial potential of each fresh development. Maybe in the near future, we might be able to revive theatre. With the variety of multiplexes we see in the city and the amount of money that the audiences splurge is tremendous in metros. Multiplexes have changed the entire scenario of the business. Seeing this trend Tier 2 and Tier 3 towns are also demanding the same experience. While there are cinemas in South India like Satyam, who are giving an altogether thrilling and exciting viewing experience to their audience, there is another company which is set to give a similar one, though at an economic value, to the city of Bhopal. This cinema and production house is MuktaA2 cinemas. It was founded by a very well-known filmmaker, Subhash Ghai; this theatre is doing pretty well. Recently, they launched their tenth property in Bhopal and they’re hoping that they can give an economical and best in class viewing experience to the audience in Bhopal. To get a deeper insight of how they want to go with their 10th property, Adgully caught up with Rahul Puri, Managing Director of MuktaA2 Cinemas.

Adgully (AG): Tell us something about the USP of the 10th property?

Rahul Puri (RP): The 10th property is in Bhopal. Bhopal is a city that is in the centre of India. It’s the first property that we have in the centre of India which is in the heart of the country. Apart from the cinema, we also have a food property that is within the cinema house. And we are providing the whole class a creative and a different theatre experience at a very value driven price. We want to be able to allow the consumer in Bhopal to have a great viewing experience at fraction of the cost.

AG: What are your upcoming properties?

RP: We are coming up with a lot of properties. Some of them being in Goregoan (Mumbai), Ahmadabad and Panvel. In addition to that we are also coming up with properties in Raipur, Dehradun, and Gurgaon. On the tier 2 and tier 3 town we are coming up with properties in Wapi, Chika, Rajpipla and Kundli. It is a fair spread of Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities. We are planning to introduce a couple more properties in the tier 3 cities like Manipal and Selam. We also have some land in couple of other properties and we intend to open our new properties in those places as well.

AG: What has been your marketing strategy for this property?

RP: The marketing strategy is related to the fact that Mukta cinemas is about providing a very unique in film experience. We intend to provide into a customer service where they experience that they feel at home when they’re at our property. In terms of marketing and reaching out to people, we believe that this is an absolutely state of the art viewing experience like they would get at a Bombay/Delhi level with the screens, projectors and sound systems. And people in places like Bhopal are getting it at hundred bucks a ticket which is just amazing value for money for those places. It’s a combination of being into really local theatre as we cater to their local needs as well as be in a state of the art.

AG: What kind of media mix do you plan to use?

RP: The media mix is very simple. We are mainly focusing on print ads, some outdoor, radio in terms of mass media, and otherwise we have our official page on Facebook on which we will be doing a lot. After that we plan to go to the mobile space, then to the e-commerce space with companies like and so on. So the media mix is a mixture of some mass markets with a lot of push on digital. And in addition to that we will be doing a lot of events and do a lot of local branding and co-branding. Because a lot of our theatre is in Bengali, so we have tie ups with other brands in the mall and we would just compete that bit. We are not looking at television at the moment. It doesn’t fit in that much when it comes to value for money for the experience that we are trying to give. Additionally I don’t think that the local population (Bhopal) will accept it that much. We did some tickers and those didn’t really work and we need more than that. It’s more national than local. It’s not something that we are looking at currently. I think we want to enter the mass market and radio is kind of something that we are focusing on and that’s for most of our properties. It’s still manageable for us to do that as we focus locally more on marketing than at a national level.

AG: How do the in cinema food & beverage stores work? Are they owned by you or outsourced?

RP: We have a mixture. It depends on where you are and what your location is. And if its places like Bombay or Hyderabad it’s probably easier for us to lay our hands on some of the raw materials to then turn into a sandwiches or something like that; where we can brand it ourselves and run the counters ourselves. Perhaps we are planning to do tie ups to provide us with utilities. And the basic snacks like popcorn, samosas are done by us. Then depending on what kind of property and depending on the palette of the audience there we have some of our tie ups. But then our tie ups are never really more than 20% of our figures.

AG: How has the year been so far?

RP: The year has been really well. I think Mukta cinemas have gone really strong this year. In January we had about nine properties and now we have ten which is really good. We have done well in terms of properties and also in terms of capacity so over all it has been a good year in terms of growth we’ve managed to achieve a good one. I think a lot of Hindi cinemas launched have now stayed back quite well. And they’re performing quite well as compared to those when we started with them last year. Overall, it’s been a really good year for Mukta Cinemas and we hope that 2015 is a better one.

AG: What is your roadmap for 2015?

RP: We have big ambitious plans for 2015 and we hope that we will be able to go with those plans and we are amply supported by the content that is going to be released. We believe in entering those markets where there is good, strong, solid demand. We are not worried about that, we have to go more properties or if I am in this place, we have to get that place too. For us it’s very much a question of if there is a strong market there and if there is a demand for us to be there as a supply for and we sort of look at that. And that’s what you will see over the next year, we will come up with properties up and down the country and what joins the culture is the fact that we’d see a really good opportunity to service and in variants. For us the key tip to keep growing is that to want successful cinemas to create pan Indian cinema and to change with this 10th property.

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