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Alok Tandon, CEO, INOX Leisure walks us through INOX’s performance and why it is strengthening its experiential offerin...

How INOX is de-couching Indian cinephiles by making the cinema-going experience grander

Alok Tandon, CEO, INOX Leisure walks us through INOX’s performance and why it is strengthening its experiential offerin...
  • INOX recently launched Megaplex, an 11-screen threatre in Mumbai to elevate the movie-going experience.
  • The multiplex plans to launch Megaplexes in more cities, starting with Lucknow in an attempt to bring people out of their homes to watch movies in theatres instead of at home.
  • Alok Tandon, CEO, INOX Leisure walks us through INOX’s performance and why it is strengthening its experiential offerings.
Multiplex chain INOX Leisure recently launched Megaplex, an 11-screen theatre in Mumbai’s Inorbit Mall, Malad, with an aim of transforming movie-watching into a more experiential experience and to further increase its engagement with its audiences.

With 1,600 seats, INOX is said to have invested between Rs 50-60 crore. It will offer 6 different movie viewing formats, IMAX, ScreenX, MX4D, Onyx LED, Kiddles and INSIGNIA.

In a recent conversation with Alok Tandon, CEO, INOX Leisure, we tried to understand the reasons behind the organization’s increased focus on experiential, and also what the future of INOX would look like, and what role marketing will play in it.

Edited excerpts:

Q) Why was this a good time to launch Megaplex?

While the criticality of the role of ‘content’ in the cinema exhibition industry is massive, we were determined to play our part and offer an even more engaging experience to our guests. We were therefore, determined to up our experience game by creating massive experience-led entertainment destinations. Grand and chic INOX multiplexes took shape in Bangalore, Kolkata, Jaipur, Hyderabad and many other cities, but what really set the tone for the new decade was the recent launch of INOX Megaplex at Mumbai. Apart from being an architectural masterpiece in the cinema space, Megaplex also comes with innovative F&B concepts and an elaborate gourmet selection.

Q) Why did you choose to launch Megaplex in Mumbai? What other cities are you planning to expand to?

The entire country looks up to Mumbai as the heart of Indian cinema, and putting up a destination like this in Mumbai was a matter of huge pride for us. Our next Megaplex is coming soon in Lucknow in the Phoenix Market City. We have strategically decided to make massive experience-driven entertainment destinations as a part of our growth strategy, and you would see more Megaplexes rolling out over the years.

Q) What are your expansion plans for INOX in terms of number of screen? What is your vision for INOX?

We currently stand at 617 screens across 68 cities in 147 multiplexes. We have a robust pipeline of over 900 screens that are going to come up across the country. As the passion for the giant screen experience is evenly spread across the country, so are our expansion plans. You will see INOX coming up in the highly urban locales to non-metros, to Tier II and Tier III centers as well.

Q) A lot of youngsters are choosing to watch content on OTT now. How are you enticing this group of audience?

The preference for watching content on OTT platforms is on the rise but it has not impacted the footfalls in cinemas so far. If the footfall figures are anything to go by, I believe OTT and cinemas are going to co-exist, with the quantum of content consumption increasing with increasing availability. We will continue to entice film patrons with the various formats we offer and by driving our experience strategy rigorously through luxury, service and technology aspects. We want to ‘de-couch’ Indian cinema lovers with supreme standards of cinema viewing experience, and we have done it with a lot of success. We have also innovated a lot on our F&B services. On the marketing front, we have adopted a lot of experiential marketing initiatives to develop a stronger bond with our guests. Whether we are promoting a movie, or hosting a special screening, we have added a lot of fervor to our events. We have also successfully ventured into screening of concert films like BTS, Westlife and Metallica. We have also done reasonably well with Live screening of sporting events and brand alliances with various sporting leagues including the NBA, IPL and the PBL. We were one of the three multiplex operators in the world that got the screening rights of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019.

Q) How are you making the entire experience more seamless, in terms of tickets bookings, cancellations etc?

A lot of effort has gone into making the ticketing and food ordering experience seamless and digitally-enabled. The aspiration was to remain available at the guests’ fingertips the moment they make the decision of going for a movie.

Our redesigned app is intuitive and simple to navigate, much like our website. You can avail food combos at offer prices while making an online booking. In case you are visiting the multiplex without a booking, you will be greeted with interactive touch screens, which allow you to book tickets, order food and make the payment, all at one go. Even our box offices are enabled with touch screens, making the transaction faster and transparent, with a personal touch. The endeavor is to ensure that the guests do not have to stand in queues while entering or while ordering the food.

Q) Tell us a bit about INOX's performance in this financial year? Did the general industry slowdown lead to lesser footfall?

FY20 has been great so far. H1 saw us reporting the best growth in the industry, on footfalls, at 24%, on revenue at 30%, EBITDA at 48% and on PAT at 89%, all on a year-on-year basis. Our occupancy too grew by 319 base points in the same period. We have added 46 screens and 9 properties so far. The need and urge for entertainment, and that too cinematic entertainment has stood the test of time for decades in our country, and is unparalleled. Regardless of the state of the economy, going to the cinema is a family celebration or social event, and we Indians never compromise on celebrating, and that is what inspires us to welcome them at our properties and serve them better.

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