Interview: Print advertising for us is becoming more and more irrelevant: Gautam Dutta, PVR Cinemas

Sneha Yadav
Jan 08, 2020 09:49 IST
Gautam Dutta PVR Cinemas

In conversation with Social Samosa, Gautam Dutta, PVR Cinemas speaks about the brand's campaign, 'Every seat has a story' and nuances of marketing a cinema hall.

Conceptualized around the significance of customer-centricity, PVR  with 'Every seat has a story' reiterates its focus on customer experience.

Social Samosa gets talking to Gautam Dutta, CEO, PVR Cinemas to know more about the insight behind the campaign, PVR's vision for 2020, digital marketing strategy, and more.


The brand film states that ‘Every audience plays a role and every seat holds a story’. What is the rationale and insight you went by?

There was a time when people needed to know that PVR is a cinema, now we have brand recognition.

Reality is that there is a certain story that gets build between you and your movie partners on those seats. We said if cinema has to be personified as human beings of a family, - what would it personify as. It will be like a grandmother who always has so many stories to tell. That seat actually is a great metaphor for holding so many stories.

Nobody says - “Aaj me gaya tha PVR aur PVR ki kahani bohot kharab thi’. They say this movie was bad. We are an experiential brand where seats are the pivot point. Around this insight, we started to build the campaign.

What is the

end objective?

Objective was the relevance and to get closer to the consumer.

We did not aim at selling anything through the film – we just wanted to say that – Am I getting closer to the consumer? Brands that go beyond the selling of products become more relevant.

How are you

going to take the thought beyond the campaign?

The good thing about ‘Every seat has a story’ is truly campaign-able.  We are also making an activation program around it where we are saying to the consumers to give and share their stories and what kind of a viewer are you. Getting people to hashtag on #WhatsYourStory at PVR. What is the story that you left behind?

Also Read: CMOs who chase trends tend to last as long as these fads: Karthi Marshan, Kotak Mahindra Group

How is marketing a Cinema different from other brands?

The beauty of being in the cinema is that our product changes every 7 days and that product is marketed by the product owners. When Dabangg was released, we did not market it but the makers did. So the fact is that as a brand we market ourselves very differently.

The marketing here is different in every cinema. Every cinema has different pricing, a different consumer within that catchment and how to be relevant in that pricing band to that consumer. No flat statement can technically work in marketing. We are into more micro-marketing of our cinemas because every cinema is like a company for us.


Media mix?

Ours is Television and digital largely with TV at 70% and 30% digital. The total spends in the region is about INR 8 crore for this burst categorically.

According to me, print advertising for us is becoming more and more irrelevant.

Our audiences are not sending much time on the medium and earlier we used to do the listing there about our movies and showtimes. Today people aren’t using this information. It all online and applications.

There is no deficit in terms of film marketing. The only thing is we

pulled out of print medium and put that money in many other mediums to create

more relevance for the brand.

What is the

digital marketing strategy of PVR like?

First and foremost the total number of tickets sold online is now 60% which clearly defines that the focus on digital is getting only sharper.

What is also extremely encouraging is even in tier 2, this online penetration of tickets is as high as 45-50 percent, which clearly shows that people are willing to pay more for convenience of booking tickets at home.

As time goes by, the spends will have to go higher. While this was the first burst, we did a lot on television but the kind of traction we have seen coming through digital is phenomenal. Next time we come up with a campaign, I think it will be clearly a 50-50 divide between digital and TV.

Do you consider platforms like Netflix and Amazon's Prime Video as a threat to the cinema world?

Not really. I keep saying don’t ask me that question but look at the numbers- not only for India but even for the US, all multiplex chains the footfalls are only going up and clearly Netflix, Prime, and many others have been in the US or the West market for over a decade.

The need for people to step out of their homes is very crucial. It’s not about content – in fact data shows if you consume more content on Netflix you go out and watch more movies in multiplexes.

PVR recently ventured into the Sri Lankan market. What’s the strategy there and do you have mor expansion plans?

Sri Lanka is one market which while we have crossed the boundary, behaves quite like South India. It's about 40 minutes away from Chennai, consumers use 3-4 languages in terms of content and we felt it would be good to venture as the place is completely starved of not only entertainment but also movies and multiplexes. We wanted to take the first-mover advantage. We signed two properties, one will open in 10-12 months' time.

Also Read: A Dabangg marketing strategy?

What is PVR’s

vision for 2020?

We have the guts to fail, we fail as much as we succeed. So you will see a lot of new things being tried out.


please list down three trends in the category that you foresee?

People are now looking at movie experience as a holistic experience which is very important. It’s no longer just about content.

Secondly, convenience is on high across tier markets. Everyone wants to live life king size and do not want to stand in queues. It’s a wrong notion that they are fine with taking more queues.

Digital is the big buzzword.

Fourth will be from the content side, the movement from stars to stories. More and more focus will be on good scripts rather than having a great big star.

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