From the box office to App Market

From the box office to App Market

By | August 14th, 2012
No Comments on From the box office to App Market

Jitender Verma, Chief Information Officer, PVR Ltd, talks about the latest

PVR app available on Google Play. This app lets customers choose available

seats, locate closest cinema halls as well as hold tickets and pay later at

a cinema hall.


														               
							 	 						

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What are your plans with iOS? Also, how confident are you of BlackBerry as a platform?

Our current app supports iOS, and was the first platform for which we released our application. iOS users are a niche target audience for PVR Cinemas. We released our Blackberry App in April this year. We have not seen a huge penetration on app downloads, but the numbers are still as per our expectations. Our target user for BlackBerry platform is the corporate user.

Is India ready for payment via mobile devices?

No, customers are still reluctant to share credit card details over mobile devices. To overcome this challenge, we have introduced a “Pay Later” option alongside as well, wherein customers who book under the “Pay Later” option, can pickup tickets from the Box office by paying cash.

Why did you opt for a dedicated mobile app, and not an optimised mobile site?

We wanted to exploit native app features such as gesture control and AR, which will be showcased in future releases.

Was this app developed by an in-house team or was this outsourced?

The development was outsourced.

Any plans of launching a ‘pay-per-view’ version of the app (similar to BigFlix)?

No. It’s a free app to purchase movie tickets. The focus is to bring convenience to the impulse buyers.

How has the response been for the app? Any negatives?

Positive. We have seen good number of users using our app for ticket purchases.

Any plan to tie-up with IMDb (for detailed reviews) or Twitter (for hype around a movie)?

Not currently.

Paint a picture of the Indian movie-goer — do most go to a theatre to watch a movie first, or do they prefer watching it over cable TV channels? How’s piracy affecting the movie industry?

Majority of Indian film goers enjoy a typical Bollywood entertainer with a box of popcorn. Mostly people enjoy going to theatre for a movie rather than watching it on cable TV, especially the movies with a vast star cast such as Shahrukh Khan and Salman Khan who have a huge fan following, this is simply for the big screen experience. Also, cinema has become a medium for family outings and perfect hang out zone for young crowd. Online piracy is proving to be a persistent plague dodging the heels of the movie industry worldwide. In India, the three biggest movie sectors—Bollywood, Tollywood and Kollywood—have lost a fair share of their profits to video and audio piracy.

With quicker “television premieres” and thereby, a shorter shelf life in theatres, do you think theatres have stopped being relevant? Do you think people will stop going to theatres in the next 10 years?

Cinema theaters can never be irrelevant as the high quality visual and sound effects can only be thoroughly enjoyed at a cinema hall only. Even though there are 3D TV’s available at home, people haven’t ceased coming out to a theatre. The eminence of a cinema hall can never be competed with what we see at home. What the Director’s do is designed to be seen on a massive 70 mm screen and not on a computer screen or even on a 40 inch television screen.

When will IPTV catch up in India? Although Airtel released it first in India around 2010, it didn’t catch on.

I believe that Large Screen Experience cannot be replaced by Home Theatre Experience. Customers still prefer to come and watch Larger than Life Experience only in Cinemas. You cannot have an Avatar or Transformers experience on a home theatre system.

The latest regulatory requirement is of digitising cable TV. Will it have a huge bearing on how entertainment is consumed? How will it impact theatres and cinema halls? Is it worthwhile for an independent app developer to develop for a platform such as movies?

With Digitalisation of Cable TV, consumers will now be able to enjoy better picture and sound quality, enhanced services such as high definition and video on demand content but as said earlier, the television sets at home cannot be compared to what a theatre offers. PVR apps for movies have been very well received by the movie goers as they come handy on smart phones and at the same time are convenient for them. The effort in every way is worthwhile.

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Nash David
I’m fascinated by open web technologies, and its endless possibilities. I use Windows for work; want to switch to an Android smartphone, and get an iPad soon. Write to me at editor@devworx.in, or tweet: @nashpd.