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Jun 26, 2007

Satyam Cinemas plans 12 screens in Covai !

Unlike most of their countrymen who prefer to watch movies in their respective regional language and occasionally in English, people in the four southern states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu like to watch a good movie—be it in Tamil, Hindi, English, Telugu, Malayalam or Kannada. It is this phenomenon that has made south India, which houses 40% of the 12,000-plus screens that the country has—develop into a Rs 3,000-crore market—the money that the people in the region spend in a year to watch movies in theatres.

This explains why the average occupancy rates here are 30% to 40% higher than other parts of the country. Inox that recently opened its Chennai multiplex boasts of an average occupancy at 86% on a weekday and 95% over the weekends, highest among all its properties across the country.

Major corporate theatre chains such as INOX, PVR Cinemas, Pyramid Saimira and Sathyam Cinemas, are keen not to miss out on this market. Together, they are in the process of setting up over 600 screens across the region. Pyramid Saimira Theatres Ltd, the biggest player in the region with 148 screens, is expanding rapidly. “We are currently constructing more than 500 screens. Over the next few years we plan to have 1,500 screens over 625 towns in south India. Every single township having 20,000 households will have our screen,” says P Saminathan, managing director, Pyramid Saimira Theatres Ltd

Sathyam Cinemas too is expanding. In fact, it is expanding only in the South and will add 51 screens soon—27 in Chennai, 12 in Coimbatore and 12 in Hyderabad, according to Kiran Reddy, managing director, Sathyam Cinemas. “Discussions are on for building screens in all major cities in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu,” he adds.

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