For any mall owner, a PVR, an INOX or any other multiplex is their star player as the theatre-going audience contributes in various ways to a mall's business.
Movie-goers not only add to overall mall footfalls but they also significantly contribute to the F&B and retail businesses inside malls.
This is why many mall owners are urging the government to allow cinemas, which are shut since March due to the Coronavirus-led lockdown, to reopen.
Movies bring people to malls
“In the pre-COVID-19 period, the ratio of footfalls driven by multiplexes in malls ranged between 5-20 percent. It depends on three major factors -- the quality of a movie and whether it was a weekday or a weekend – the latter obviously draw more footfalls, and, lastly, the size of cinemas vis-à-vis the size of the mall,” Anuj Kejriwal, MD & CEO, ANAROCK Retail, told Moneycontrol.
A 2017 Deloitte report points out that mall operators actively seek out multiplex tenants, and offer them attractive rentals because multiplexes are known to drive footfalls to malls.
Grabbing a bite in the food court
Concurring with Kejriwal, Abhishek Bansal, ED, Pacific Malls, said that when a big-starrer film releases in multiplexes, along with the increase in mall footfalls, the F&B in malls see a 20 percent jump, thanks to the theatre-going audience.
After all, who can avoid going to the food court in malls after catching a movie in a multiplex?
“Customers usually, pre or post-movie, grab a meal at the food court,” said Naviin Ibhrampurkar, Head of Marketing and Corporate Communication, Inorbit Malls.
Films fuel mall revenues
In addition to higher F&B sales, Shashie Kumar, CEO, Brigade Malls, pointed out that multiplex audience also boost business of large retailers by around 10-15 percent.
After a movie, shopping at Big Bazaar for groceries or going to the Lifestyle store to check out new fashion trends is a must for many.
Be it PVR or INOX, most of the screens these multiplexes have are in malls. Plus, multiplexes are also innovating with different types of screens. INOX at R City Mall in Mumbai in 2018 had installed the 7D technology and made the common space open for public as a part of their revamping plan.
In addition, multiplexes help mall owners to generate revenue during the weekdays as well as the differential pricing strategy (different rates on each day of the week) of multiplexes generates demand throughout the week noted a 2018 report, titled Rebirth of Retail Malls.
Films, footfalls and festive period
Analyst Karan Taurani, who closely tracks the media and entertainment space and is the Vice President at Elara Capital, said that footfalls in malls in Tier I markets are around 30-35 percent of pre-COVID levels, whereas in the Tier II and III markets, it has recovered sharply at 60 percent of pre-COVID levels.
“The festive season is likely to boost footfalls, but, for that, opening of cinemas will be very important in order to revive footfalls towards the 70 percent to 80 percent levels in Tier I markets. In terms of consumer behaviour, window shopping remains completely absent and this consumer base usually forms almost 40-50 percent of the sales volumes in a mall,” he said.
While theatres will bring back more consumers to malls, Bansal thinks that in both theatres as well as in malls, the jump in footfalls will not be immediate. One reason for that, he noted, was that theatres running older movies for the initial few weeks.
“Even if theatres reopen during the festive period, a lot will depend on the content cinemas have. Until distributors have the confidence that they will be allowed 50-60 percent occupancy in theatres, they will not release new content.”
Yet, Kejriwal thinks that reopening theatres will bring more people to malls.“For some time, travel will not be high on the priority list for many. In such times, watching movies in shopping malls could be one of the best entertainment options. And given that multiplexes in most malls are operated by leading players, movie-goers will mostly be assured of the safety and hygiene protocols. Most players are already ready with the necessary protocols and just awaiting the government’s nod for the reopening of theatres.”