Media and entertainment enterprises are increasingly embracing next-generation technologies to deliver an enhanced viewer experience and explore new revenue streams. PVR INOX Limited is actively tapping these solutions with a mission to advance and reimagine the cinema landscape. In an interview with tele.net, Sanjeev Kumar Bijli, executive director, PVR INOX Limited, shares his views on the key technology trends and the future of digital transformation in the sector…
What are the technology trends transforming the media and entertainment industry? How is 5G changing the consumption and delivery of content?
PVR INOX has always kept pace with the changing dynamics of technology globally through partnership with international technology players in projection, sound and 3D. With the advent of digital projectors, no print is required, making wider distribution of film content possible in a larger geographical area. Laser projectors are replacing lamp projectors, which are more efficient and sustainable. For sound, Dolby ATMOS with pro-ribbon HF allows crystal-clear, high definition immersive audio with perfect intelligibility and no distortion, even at high volume level. RealD 3D digital stereoscopic projection ensures clear, razor sharp, ultra-bright pictures for a breath-taking visual experience.
For the experiential immersive technologies to improve the consumer experience, PVR INOX has introduced the best formats currently running across the world such as IMAX with Laser – a ground-breaking, next-generation laser projection and 12-channel sound system. It also offers the fully immersive cinematic experience with its 4DX auditorium that incorporates on-screen visuals with synchronised motion seats and environmental effects such as water, wind, fog, scent, snow and more, to enhance the action on screen. ScreenX is the world’s first multi-projection immersive cinematic platform, exploding the moviegoer’s viewing experience by expanding the onscreen action onto the sidewalls of the auditorium and creating a totally comprehensive visual experience. A next generation projector-less movie going experience is brought by ONYX bringing the visual power of led picture quality to the big screen. Quite recently, it introduced ICE Theatres, a sensorial experience that features LED panels on each side of the auditorium filling the moviegoer’s peripheral vision with supplementary ambient colours and shapes complementing the action on the main screen.
PVR INOX uses an electronic content delivery platform to deliver movies, trailers and advertisements to its multiple screens at locations nationally. 5G has helped cloud-based content delivery using broadband with operational advantages over multicast delivery using satellite networks.
What are the new-age technologies being deployed by your organisation? How is it impacting your business?
New age-technologies namely IMAX, ScreenX, 4DX, ONYX and ICE Theatres have been embraced by audiences since the time they were introduced. One could see the recent unprecedented demand of consumers to see ‘Oppenheimer’ in the IMAX format with our IMAX screens across the country fully booked in the initial weeks of the release. In fact, Richard Gelfond, chief executive officer, IMAX had quoted that “India is one of IMAX’s most successful markets”. Since these technologies primarily showcase Hollywood movies, our gross box officer collection of Hollywood films has increased significantly. PVR INOX has the largest portfolio of these formats in India and continues to expand these formats in more regions in the country. Hindi and non-Hindi Indian movies with their dubbed versions made in these formats have expanded the movie viewing market beyond their native territories to attract diverse audiences. More and more Hollywood movies continue to be made in these formats and their dubbed versions have managed to break the thresholds of geographical and language barriers. All these formats with a higher average ticket price than regular formats contribute to the box office revenues of the company.
What are the challenges/drawbacks of these technologies? How can these be addressed?
All these globally acclaimed technologies are primarily inclined to play Hollywood content. Unlike in the West, where cinema going is just about enjoying the movie with popcorn and a drink as a companion, in India it is a social phenomenon and an event. Our vibrant film industry with its massive consumer base and diverse content produced in multiple languages spanning across geographies drive the social fabric of India. Hence, it is important that more and more Indian movies be made in these technological formats. Seeing the success of the Hollywood IMAX movies, a lot of Indian studios are now getting their movie remastered in the IMAX format. Some recent IMAX Indian movies include RRR, KGF 2, Brahmastra, Shamshera, PS 2, Bholaa and Pathaan. Even the recently introduced ICE Theaters format has got Indian titles converted into the format namely Pathaan, Bholaa, Rocky aur Rani Ki Prem Kahaani with forthcoming titles being Jawan, Salaar, Tiger 3 and Dunki.
What role can extended reality and metaverse play in the sector?
Cinema-going in a theatre is brick and mortar concept and an out-of-home-entertainment destination with people opting for it due to its social environment. Augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), glassless 3D, and 4D experiences could play a key in enhancing essential digitisation services like WebInApps and creating leverage with the help of digital marketing.
What is your outlook for digital transformation in the media and entertainment industry?
Digital transformation in the industry has already started with projection technology evolving from 70 mm and 35 mm analogue projectors to state of the art digital projectors. With the advent of digital projectors, the physical prints have become redundant. Electronic delivery of content through cloud delivery platform eliminates logistic challenges of shipment of hard drives enabling tracking and monitoring all content movement of theatres from one dashboard.