As I started writing this piece, I am trying hard to book tickets for the Movie of the Decade – Avengers Endgame. The tickets are available online on selected portals and each ticket is going to cost a fortune – A minimum of INR 440 Rs.
I am a die-hard Marvel fan but shelling out 500 bucks (hello, taxes) for a movie is an extremely high price deal. Anyhow, I am going to book my seat and enjoy 3 hours of breathtaking cinema that Marvel is known for.
Living in a Tier-1 City, some people can afford to spend a 200 or 300 Rupees ticket every week to enjoy a good movie. The Multiplexes make a fortune in tier-1 and tier-2 cities and that’s where they are limited to.
For a country of a billion plus people, a mere 2,400 multiplexes – that too majorly in the cities- cannot cater to the masses, especially the rural India that often has to travel a distance of 40-50 km to watch the latest movie.
Keeping in mind the hurdles that come with setting up a brick and mortar multiplex, and without compromising on the experience of movie viewing in a theatre, an engineer turned entrepreneur Sushil Chaudhary decided to launch a Picture Time.
Story so far
Established in October 2015 by Sushil Chaudhary, PictureTime introduced mobile movie halls to ensure people in rural areas have access to good quality entertainment at affordable prices. Using trucks as a medium, the company carries inflatable theaters to towns, villages and remote parts of the country to offer the rural audience a world-class movie-going experience.
The inflatable theatre is weather-proof, fire-resistant and has features like HD interactive screens, live chat function, and 5.1 Dolby surround sound. The theatre can seat 120-150 people at a time and tickets are priced in the range of Rs 30 to Rs 50.
PictureTime introduced mobile digiplex cinema theatres to increase the number of cinema screens in India. The company currently has 10 mobile digiplex cinema theatres on the ground, covering Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Maharashtra.
The area outside the digiplex is converted into a local food court, with entertainment and gaming activities giving audiences in small semi-urban and rural areas accessibility to a multiplex cinematic experience.
Apart from providing entertainment, the company raises awareness on education and social welfare schemes with the help of technology. The mobile movie halls also offer government and private organisations an outreach vehicle to promote their schemes to the rural population at large.
Funding and future
PictureTime operates 10 mobile digiplex cinema theatre units and has so far showcased movies in remote villages of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh.
They had secured Rs 25 crore at an undisclosed valuation in a Pre-Series A financing round from a group of HNIs led by Ajay Relan, Founder Chairman of CX Partners. The funding has been used to expand PictureTime’s mobile digiplex cinema theatres to multiply the number of operational units.
It provides unique dual benefits to the rural population of India – a state of the art cinema experience as well as an outreach medium for both social messaging and private advertising all under one umbrella. By offering low-cost mobile cinema halls, the venture will help address the severe cinema theatre crunch by increasing the screen count in remote parts of the country.
PictureTime has opened new markets and revenue streams for the Indian Film Industry.
Blockbusters like Baahubali-2, Dangal, Baaghi 2, Toilet- Ek Prem Katha and Padman have been screened on PictureTime to audiences that had no access to a world-class cinematic experience.
Their vision is to open new markets, by reaching out to new audiences and bring them to the main-stream audience at an affordable price.