NEW DELHI: Owners of theatres shut since the middle of March would be happy to know that 54% of Indian entertainment lovers are eager to get back to cinemas within 15-90 days after the lockdown is lifted while the rest would prefer to step out after 90 days. 98% of Indians expect cinemas to implement strict safety and hygiene measures to ensure a safe movie-watching experience.
These are findings from a survey conducted by online ticketing site BookMyShow titled Back To Out-of-Home Entertainment. It takes into account 4,000 respondents who are active BookMyShow transactors and was conducted in May 2020 spanning respondents aged between 18-65 years across 235 cities and towns in India.
70% of the responses came from consumers in Hyderabad, Mumbai, Bengaluru, NCR, Chennai, Pune, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Vijayawada and Kochi. 49% of consumers who responded were aged between 25-34 years.
Male respondents want to head out sooner as compared to female ones, as do older people, those aged between 55-64 years.
Further, south India misses its entertainment the most, with 56% of respondents from the region eager to catch their favourite movie and/or concert post the lockdown.
When they do go to theatres, 99% of those surveyed would want staff trained in safety and hygiene measures and deep cleaning of cinemas, seats and restrooms post each show. 98% ask for disinfectant tunnels and thermal scanners, 69% look forward to big-ticket releases, 81% want new ticket offers and 95% need safe food and beverage options. Among the top two expected safety measures are seat sanitization and disinfectant tunnels.
However, while 90% of respondents are willing to follow social distancing measures, 10% believe there is more to life than just living with paranoia. 52% said they were unlikely to pay for higher ticket costs if cinemas restrict the number of viewers per show.
National multiplex chains such as PVR, INOX and Carnival have reiterated that no sooner than they receive the final go-ahead by the government, they intend to start special cleaning and disinfection process, the turnaround time for which should be 15-20 days.
Given conversations with producers within the industry, INOX said last week that big-ticket releases will hopefully hit screens by the third quarter of this financial year. While Akshay Kumar’s Sooryavanshi is now looking at an October release, Salman Khan’s Radhe is eyeing November while Ajay Devgn’s Bhuj- The Pride of India, sports drama ’83, and Aamir Khan’s Laal Singh Chadha are looking at December. However, unlike many other businesses, film exhibition can only resume at the same time across the country. A non-Hindi local language film may find showcasing in specific states but for a Hindi or Hollywood release to be viable, theatres across the country have to be open.
Moreover, Indians are looking for contactless entertainment experiences. 85% of consumers surveyed prefer purchasing their tickets online with the M-ticket & e-ticket option being preferred for a contactless entertainment experience.
For live entertainment experiences, 40% of Indians would prefer attending a music concert in smaller groups of 50-100. Drive-in concerts, intimate tables for two to four people are some of the factors that consumers would prefer the most, while attending their favourite events.
As far as food goes, 50% want only freshly prepared food, 15% prefer pre-packaged food while 23% would go for either. While attending these public events, 68% want minimal social contact, 36% would want food and beverage to be delivered to their seats, while 32% would buy F&B through vending machines.
Alok Tandon, chief executive officer at INOX Leisure Ltd, said the company has taken a deliberate decision of operating with a shortened menu in the initial weeks.
“Considering that guests spend two to three hours at our premises, we see sales picking up along with the anticipated increase in footfall,” Tandon added.