PVR Cinemas- Entertaining Story of Largest Multiplex Chain in India

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Do you love watching movies in theatres? This question seems absurd, right? Because who doesn’t love to? A big screen, cozy seat, cheerful audience, booming speakers, luscious snacks and a lot more to be delighted with. Even a non-cinema lover would cherish a theatrical experience. That darkroom has a powerful ambiance to light our moods up.

The Indian Film Industry is one of the largest in the world. This huge sector has around 6,300 single screens and 3,200 multiplexes (as of 2019) across the country to display their creations. There has been a decline in their growth in recent years. But through their innovative techniques and advanced technological implementations, theatres continue to attract people towards them.

PVR Cinemas is one such premium multiplex chain of theatres operating in India and Sri Lanka. They are known for their quality in terms of the viewing experience. PVR Cinemas was established in 1997 by Ajay Bijli. The company also has a separate wing called PVR Pictures that deals with movie production and distribution. Here is the inspiring success story of PVR Cinemas and its founder Ajay Bijli. The article also contains the growth, startup story, funding and challenges faced by the company over the years.

PVR Cinemas - Company Highlights

  • Company Name-PVR Ltd.
  • Headquarters-Gurugram
  • Industry-Entertainment
  • Founder-Ajay Bijli
  • Founded-June 1997
  • Revenue-$440 Million
  • Total Funding Raised-$196.6 Million

PVR Cinemas - Latest News

July 29, 2021 - The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has affected the film industry and its associated business heavily. As a result, PVR reported a net loss of ₹220 crores in the 1st quarter of 2021.

April 17, 2021 - The Non-Convertible Debentures (NCD) and long-term Bank facility ratings of PVR ltd. were reduced to AA-minus negative by Crisil. This happened as a result of the industry's weakening operating performances during the pandemic.

PVR Cinemas - About

PVR Cinemas is one of the largest movie theatre chains operating in India. It was formally established in June 1997 in Gurgaon. PVR Cinemas is known for its picture and sound quality and offers a premium experience to its users. They were the first to introduce multiplex cinemas in India, which was instigated with the launch of PVR Anupam in Delhi.

The company turns out to be the leader in terms of the number of screens. There are around 846 screens under the PVR group in the country. They are offering some astounding movie experiences to people. PVR Cinemas is operating in 71 cities of India and Sri Lanka with an overall seating capacity of around 1.82 lakh seats.

PVR Cinemas - Founders

Ajay Bijli 

Ajay Bijli is the founder of PVR Cinemas. He is also the chairman and managing director of the company. He graduated B.Com from Hindu College and started looking after the family business. Then by 1995, he established PVR Cinemas as a joint venture with an Australian company. The full-fledged operations of PVR Cinemas commenced in 1997. Sanjeev Kumar Bijli, brother of Ajay Bijli, is the joint managing director of the company.

PVR Cinemas - Startup Story

The origin of PVR dates back to the late 1970s. Ajay Bijli’s (founder of PVR Cinemas) father owned a theatre named Priya Cinemas since 1978 along with his transportation company. Later, when Ajay Bijli took up the family business in 1988, he rebuilt the business and made it profitable. But a major fire broke out in the transport business in 1994, which shook them financially. He was forced to choose between revamping the transport business or developing the Priya Cinemas, for which he chose the latter.

In 1995, he established a joint venture between his Priya Cinemas and an Australian company named Village Roadshow, thus creating Priya Village Roadshow (PVR) Cinemas. They were the first to introduce the idea of a multiplex in India with their PVR Anupam in Delhi. The company was officially instigated in June 1997.

PVR Cinemas - Mission and Vision

PVR Cinemas has a mission to give the best movie experience to people. They wanted to make themselves accessible to audiences everywhere and every time. The company’s vision is to remain the most preferable and premium entertainment company in India. PVR aims to provide top-quality cinema experiences to its customers.

PVR Cinemas - Name and Logo

The name PVR is derived from Ajay Bijli’s family theatre business named Priya Cinemas and the Australian company named Village Roadshow. The name originated after they joined hands to establish a multiplex entertainment company. The logo consists of the alphabets ‘PVR’ written in yellow on a black background. The main logo consists of the word ‘Cinemas’ at the bottom whereas, the production company's logo contains the word ‘Pictures’ instead.

PVR Cinemas - Business Model

PVR Cinemas is involved in the movie screening business which is their primary activity. In addition to it, they are involved in the production and distribution of films in India. PVR’s other businesses include ads in theatres, the sale of foods and beverages and ticket bookings.

The company is involved in the manufacture and sale of gourmet popcorn, a popular snack from PVR that is available in their cine halls, several airlines and even Indian railways. This gourmet popcorn can also be ordered online from several e-commerce platforms. V Pristine is an initiative by PVR that offers cleaning services for homes.

PVR Cinemas - Revenue Model

Most of the revenue for PVR Cinemas comes from the sale of movie tickets. They make around 46% of the revenue from box office collections. The next biggest revenue for the company flows from food and beverage sales which contribute around 29% of the profits. The rest 15% of the income comes from advertising, movies distribution and other miscellaneous activities.

PVR Cinemas - Challenges Faced

A major challenge faced by PVR Cinemas is during this Covid pandemic. The resultant lockdown and further restrictions stalled its operations. This rigorously impacted their growth financially. The next major challenge that is affecting not only PVR Cinemas, but the entire industry is the OTT Platforms. These platforms used the lockdown as an opportunity to enter people’s homes and started replacing the theatres. Even after the lockdown and theatres functioning normally, many movies are still released in OTTs. This could be a threat to the future of theatres and multiplex cinema halls.

PVR Cinemas - Funding and Investors

PVR Ltd. has raised a fund of ₹800 crores through Qualified Institutional Placements (QIP) in early 2021. The board further approved to raise a sum of not more than ₹500 crores through the issue of NCDs. Excluding this, PVR Ltd. bagged an amount of ₹14.72 billion through 5 rounds of funding.

PVR Cinemas - Growth

Starting the business with a single theatre named Priya Cinema in Vasant Vihar, the growth of PVR Cinemas in the past two decades is astonishing. This single screen has grown into 846 screens in 176 cinemas across the country. The company has always kept innovating ideas and technologies to keep them uphill. PVR’s box office revenue shows a steady rise from 2015 to 2020. It has increased from ₹8.24 billion to ₹17.31 billion in 5 years. But the pandemic has severely affected their revenue in the current year. PVR’s Food and Beverage (F&B) business has seen consistent growth over the years. They have made ₹960 crores by selling F&B in FY 2020

As the company progressed, they also kept introducing new brands that kept pulling people towards their cinemas. Here is the list of brands under PVR Ltd.

  • PVR Director's Cut
  • PVR Pictures
  • PVR 4DX
  • Playhouse
  • PVR P[XL]
  • PVR Nest
  • 4700BC Popcorn
  • V Pristine

PVR Cinemas - Competitors

Though PVR has a large market share in the theatre business, it has a major competitor INOX Leisure Ltd. INOX is closely trailing PVR in all aspects of the business. It is a multiplex theatre chain with around 667 screens in India. PVR challenges INOX in terms of quality whereas INOX competes with a price. They both have a lot of similarities in which PVR is just a step ahead in the competition.

PVR Cinemas - Awards and Recognition

PVR Ltd. has received many recognitions over the years. Here are some of the awards received by the company for its advanced technical implementations and marketing strategies:

VC Circle Awards - Media and Entertainment Category

CNBC’s Emerging India Awards, 2013

Retailer of the Year - Images Retail Forum 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 & 2017

India’s Most Trusted Cinema Display Brand, 2014 & 2015

Fortune India’s Next 500 Biggest and Best Midsize Companies, 2016

Top Multiplex Chain of the year, 2016, 2017, 2018 & 2019 - Big Cine Expo

International Exhibitor of the year, 2017 - Cine Asia, Hong Kong

Master’s of Modern Marketing Awards and Conference, 2019 - mCube Awards

Most Innovative Mid-Sized Company, 2019 - ET Innovation Awards

PVR Cinemas - FAQs

What is PVR Cinemas?

PVR Cinemas is one of the largest movie theatre chains operating in India.

Who is the founder of PVR Cinemas?

Ajay Bijli is the founder of PVR Cinemas. He is serving as CEO of PVR Cinemas since 1997.

Who is the top competitor of PVR Cinemas?

INOX Leisure is the major competitor of PVR Cinemas.

How many screens does PVR Cinemas have?

PVR has 846 screens in India and Sri Lanka and is the largest operator in the country.

What is the revenue of PVR Cinemas?

The revenue of PVR Cinemas is $440 Million.

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