During a discussion at FICCI-Frames, Kapil Agarwal, Joint MD, UFO said that out of roughly 9,500 screens in India, 55 percent are in 5 states of South India and 45 percent are in rest of India.
There have been several reports on how the film industry loses out whenever two major stars or films clash at the box office. The biggest reason for this cannibalism is a dearth of theatres in the country.
Audiences in tier- I markets may not have witnessed the crunch but it is the tier-II, III and IV markets that feel the pinch as India stands among one of the most highly under-penetrated markets among major countries with only 8 screens per million.
India works with 8,000 odd cinemas divided between single screens and multiplexes. The Indian film exhibition segment, in terms of number of screens, is less than 1/5th in size as compared to developed markets like China and US.
The ratio is expected to further deteriorate, with India facing a constant decline in its screen count, largely due to the shutdown of single screens.
During a discussion at FICCI-Frames, Kapil Agarwal, Joint MD, UFO said that out of roughly 9,500 screens in India, 55 percent are in 5 states of South India and 45 percent are in rest of India. He further said that India should aim to add around 15,000 to 20,000 screens in the country in next two years to solve the problem.
While industry experts are of the opinion that screen penetration should be more in Tier II and III markets, Kurt Rieder, Head –Theatrical, Asia, 20th Century Fox, says otherwise. According to him, as occupancy is good in India, exhibitors should focus to bring more screens to tier I and II markets as these circles need to have more density of screens.
Occupancy in single screen theatres is around 20-21 percent in India, and in multiplexes it is around 30-34 percent, which is higher than the occupancy that US and China experiences.
What can India learn from its peers?
Lessons from other parts of the world can be fruitful for the Indian media industry such as China which has almost quadrupled its screen count in the last few years, going up to 45,000 screens from around 10,000.
India can benefit from the business model of building low-cost cinema halls and increase the screen count in the country. With just 1 screen per 96,300 residents, India is the world’s most under-screened major territory. The US, by contrast, has 1 screen per 7,800 residents.
Explaining the growth of exhibition business in China, William Feng, VP, GreaterChina, MPA said that China started to implement cinema line system in 2002. Gross Box Office in the country expanded from 130 million in 2000 to USD 46 billion in 2017, an increase of 6,500 percent.
By Dec 2016, China became world’s largest cinema markets with a total of 41,179 screens compared with 41,000 in US. By end of 2017, China screen count was 50,776 screen and 26 new screens was added in the market each day during the year.
Top 10 cinema lines have a combined screen count of 32,377 representing 63.8 percent of the country’s total while generating 67.7 percent of the overall Box office, according to 2017 data.He further said that government’s support was key for the growth. And industry insiders say that India needs the same kind of support from the government back home.