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India’s largest multiplex operators merge, creating cinema giants

FILE PHOTO: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in New Delhi
FILE PHOTO: A worker in protective gear sprays disinfectant at an empty PVR multiplex closed following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in New Delhi, India July 31, 2020. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi/File Photo

March 27, 2022

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India’s two biggest multiplexes said on Sunday they would merge to create a giant cinema operator with more than 1,500 screens in 109 cities as the entertainment industry recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic .

PVR and INOX Leisure said the merger, which is subject to regulatory approvals, would help both companies improve efficiency, reach new markets and optimize costs.

“The film exhibition sector has been one of the hardest hit sectors due to the pandemic and creating scale to achieve efficiencies is critical to the long-term survival of the business and combating the onslaught of digital OTT platforms,” ​​PVR Chairman Ajay Bijli said in a press release.

Over-the-top or OTT platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney have made deep strides in India, where the pandemic has devastated a film industry known for song-and-dance extravaganzas watched by millions .

PVR is India’s largest multiplex chain with more than 850 screens, followed by INOX Leisure with around 650 screens.

The merger follows a two-year period in which most cinemas were closed due to COVID-19 restrictions.

(Reporting by Devjyot Ghoshal, Editing by Rupam Jain and Edmund Blair)

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DUSTIN JONES

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