July 25, 2024


The entertainment industry is constantly evolving. Thus, understanding the dynamics of content consumption becomes important. In a recent episode of his podcast WTF is, the youngest and brightest investor in India, Nikhil Kamath, engaged in an intriguing conversation regarding the same. He welcomed 3 industry stalwarts- Founder of PVR Cinemas & Managing Director of PVR INOX Ltd Ajay Bijli, President & Head of Disney+ Hotstar Sajith Sivanandan, and Vijay Subramaniam, Founder and Group CEO of Collective Artist’s Network.

The episode covered the interesting life of Ajay Bijli. It spoke about his journey, his perception of different entertainment platforms and their consumption patterns. He noted how women in households are the deciding factors for going out to the cinema as he said, “Women of the house take a decision which Cinema to go to whether it’s your daughter your wife or your mother or your girlfriend.”

PVR founder Ajay Bijli’s inspiring journey

Ajay Bijli reminisced memories with his mother and how he ended up entering film exhibition business. He said, “She still lives in the same house as me and she said that when you go to the cinema your face lights up. But when you go to trucking company the weight of the world is on your shoulders so just forget about this. I had some cousins in Amritsar who owned about five percent of the stake. So I told them okay you run it, I’ll strategically give you whatever direction I can. But I just want to jump the plunge straight away into the family business. That’s where I, you know, was fortunate enough.”

Further, Ajay spoke to Nikhil Kamath about how he grabbed the opportunities to run multiplexes. “I found this opportunity to create multiplexes as there were no malls, no shopping centers. The only way you could build multiplexes was by picking up cinemas which are not doing well. Where the owners were just not interested, carve them up into two plexes, three plexes, four plexes. That’s how the journey started in 1997.”

The Covid effect on multiplexes

Ajay went on to add, “When COVID came, because everything was going well, that’s where I realized that putting all your eggs in one basket sometimes it can be an out-of-shape scrambled egg as well and not necessarily a good dog. So I think pre-COVID, post-COVID covid changed me dramatically.”

The multiplex owner also shed light on the never-ending significance of theaters despite the entrance of OTT. He said, “I am still finding TV shows are getting more traction. So when we talk about Ted Laaso, Dahaad, we will talk about a lot of those programs. I still think when it comes to movies, people feel that if the content is king, movie content theatre is the kingdom.”

He added, “Last 3 to 5 months, people are saying ‘I want escapism I will go out and watch the movie on the big screen, but please make sure that the content connects with me’. They were rejecting it pre-Covid also, but they rejected anything that doesn’t get their money’s worth post covid.”

Nikhil Kamath has an eight episode podcast series that unveils a treasure trove of insights into the consumption patterns of Indian content. The episodes underscore the importance of crafting content that resonates on a cultural, linguistic, and emotional level, ultimately forging deeper connections with viewers across the nation.

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