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VKAAO Targets 10,000 Theatre-on-Demand Screenings by the End of 2017

Vkaao’s USP lies in its technology to create a social, crowd-sourced movie watching experience and to add value for all key stakeholders.

Launched in January 2017, Vkaoo is a pioneering Theater-on-Demand initiative from PVR Pictures which gives viewers complete control of their movie watching experience at cinema halls. It allows them to select their preferred movie along with the location, date, and time of the screening at any theater of their choice. Vkaao’s USP lies in its technology to create a social, crowd-sourced movie watching experience and to add value for all key stakeholders.

BW Disrupt spoke to Karan Ahuja, Business Head at VKAAO (PVR initiative); Edited excerpts from the interview:-

Brief us about your business model like how did the idea came to start and how does it work?
We are in almost 50 cities and we constantly get feedback from people from different corners of the country and they have suggestions, they have complaints people say in Guwahati I want to watch Oscar nominated films but, you don’t show them in Guwahati. so we looked at all these feedbacks and we said can we come back with a solution, a service, which can respond to these complaints/feedbacks and give a solution to people and that’s what Vkaao does.

What are the unique key points of your company?
Movie screening at theaters are influenced to a great extent by statistics such as projected ticket sales, revenue collection, and expected number. This rather limits the movie choices available to new-age Indian viewers, who want their entertainment to fulfill their evolved tastes and preferences. It was to address this demand-supply gap and democratize the process of movie viewing that we have conceptualized Vkaao. By pioneering the concept of Theatre-on-Demand in India, we are giving prospective viewers complete control over their movie watching experience and heralding a new epoch of entertainment consumption in the country.

How are you different from the existing competitors?
Theater-on-demand was never into existence in India before the launch of PVR Vkaao. Before launching Vkaao we worked on the platform for 18 months. The development took about 16 months and in the last two months we worked on a pilot. So far, globally, theatre-on-demand platforms are being used for niche content only. Where as PVR Vkaao showcases all genres/types of movies be it mainstream or otherwise which is yet not available anywhere else. This differentiates us from other platforms available globally in the category.

What is the funding status and monetization model?
The monetization model is as typical as any e-commerce channel, where we take a share of the net sales which also includes the internet convenience fee. The Vkaao initiative is completely internally funded.

What challenges are you facing in running your business?

Though the model is unique but we do have a flip side, which is, if sufficient amount of tickets are not sold for a screening. Since the process is based on theater-to-theater and weekend-to-weekday, we will have different threshold for each. But, let’s say range of 50 to 100 seats. Typical around 50 seats show will get confirmed. So very doable number. In case if the threshold is not met, we will refund the oney of People who have bought tickets.

How has been the people responses so far?

The response has been receptive. We talked to people in film industry; we aggregated a lot of films from film producers and independent film makers, studios – we have been receiving a very positive response.

What are the traction details?
The app has around five thousand downloads. Our entire brand proposition is based around leveraging state-of-the-art technology to create a social, crowd-sourced movie watching experience. This makes it perfect not only for dedicated cinema buffs to watch and discover niche movies that they prefer, but also connect with like minded individuals that share similar tastes in movies. Our extensive catalogue of Bollywood, Hollywood, and regional movies further ensures that we are able to cater to the movie-watching preferences of each and every viewer.

How do you look at expansion?
Currently Vkaao is available in 48 cities with more than 100 theaters. We are looking forward to expand into 50 more cities by bringing 100 more theaters on board by second half of 2017.

Also currently it’s all PVR chain cinemas on Vkaao, 122 theaters but we want to tie up with every chain possible, every single screen possible. We are in active discussions. So far it’s confined to PVR chain.

Talking about the film library available at Vkaao, currently we have 500 films across all genres. Our catalogue is completely genre agnostic and we are constantly updating the same. Within three months we plan to add one thousand films and over an year we will be adding twelve thousand films to Vkaao's library.

What are your marketing plans?

Our biggest strength is the loyal customer base of PVR. The idea is to ensure that each patron that visits PVR Theatres understands this unique offering and we hope that they will utilize this service. We have also created quite a few strategic tie-ups with movie ticket aggregators, payment wallets and other leaders in various entertainment categories. the idea is to fin synergies between these brands and our offerings for a seamless value proposition to the consumers

What have been the biggest learnings so far?

We have realized that content is the key and as long as we continue to provide unique content opportunities to the consumers, be it making a movie like Split, available 2 weeks before it's release or exclusively releasing niche movies like Mantra, I Daniel Blake or Kaul; we will continue to gain traction.

What is the market size and opportunity?
In addition to empowering viewers with greater choice and convenience, the platform also adds great value to other key stakeholders. Production houses and distributors benefit from Vkaoo’s long-tail revenue model for their already released movies, while independent, regional, and small budget filmmakers are able to realise the full potential of their creations with its cost-efficient and effective reach and distribution. Theatre owners, too, are able to maximise their theatre utilisation and improve overall footfalls.

Vkaao currently has more than 122 theatres in 48 cities as a part of its Prime Theatre Inventory, the platform will be looking to expand into 50 more cities by bringing 100 more theatres on board by the second half of 2017 as it sets about to change the way entertainment is delivered and consumed in India. By the end of the first year we are targeting 10.000 screenings created through Vkaao.

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