Market Insight

Indian major builds up US cinema circuit

March 30, 2008

David Hancock David Hancock Director – Research and Analysis, Cinema & Home Entertainment, IHS Markit

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Indian media group Reliance is to launch a cinema circuit in the US focusing on Indian films and consumers, following a series of acquisitions of US cinemas in the past few months. Reliance's US circuit will operate under the brand Big Cinemas, in line with Indian rebranding, but is keen for the circuit to be seen as a US venture, rather than an overseas extension of Indian interests. The circuit currently has 250 screens in 28 locations, including New York and Los Angeles, although further acquisitions are planned.
The strategy involves buying long-term leases on lesser quality sites, where Reliance is spending money on improving infrastructure, such as sound systems and air conditioning. Cinemas will be run by Phoenix Theatres, in which Reliance has also taken a stake.

Most interesting in all this is the focus on Bollywood and other Indian films, as well other Asian content, and sites have been acquired near Indian and Asian population centres. So far, digital cinema is not on the immediate agenda but Reliance is looking to switch when timing is appropriate. Reliance is the largest Indian media group, and is the company behind Adlabs, which, among other things, is rolling out digital cinema across India. Its Indian circuit is 150 screens strong. Recently, financier George Soros took a three per cent stake in Reliance.

Geography
India
Research by Market
Media & Advertising
Category
Cinema
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