Discounts, now at a multiplex near you

New Delhi: PVR and INOX Leisure, two of India’s biggest multiplex chains, will reduce ticket prices for the first few weeks after re-opening to bring back cinema goers who have spent a major part of the past four months confined to home.“For the first 2-3 weeks, there will be introductory pricing. We don’t have any expectations for the first two months. We would like to call customers and privileged members to come and see the kind of safety measures we have undertaken,” said Gautam Dutta, CEO of PVR Cinemas.While both operators declined to share the quantum of discount, officials said ticket prices could be cut by 10-15%. “We are hopeful that by acmonth-end, we will be allowed to open. We expect to reach the pre-Covid levels by October-November. A lot of big-ticket movies are scheduled to be released during the festival season,” Dutta told ET. Experts said the cinema exhibition industry would have lost an estimated Rs 5,000 crore in revenue in the past four months. “We will surely make the cinema-going proposition more attractive,” said Alok Tandon, CEO, INOX Leisure.The pace of consolidation in the sector is expected to increase as singlescreen theatres may close due to financial strains and uncertainty and the financially stronger multiplex chains could gain market share.Both companies are in talks with mall operators for rental relief. Their other costs will escalate as they implement safety standards such as contactless payment. With social distancing norms, seats will be left vacant.PVR unveiled safety measures on Friday. It said guests will be involved in auditing these. There will be an extended intermission to avoid crowding and row-wise exits after a show.