Friday, June 22, 2007

Look ma, no seat number

When my friend came back from the UK, one of the things he told me about how things work there was about the movie going experience at the Village Roadshow Cinema. He told me that there is no concept of having seat numbers reserved along with the tickets bought and the idea is quite interesting.

How it works?

It works like the cinemas in my village actually. You buy the tickets and go to the auditorium and pick the seats as per your preference. So in order to catch the best seats we used to go to the cinema well in advance. The only shortcoming of this was that we had to sit in the auditorium for a longer period until all the seats got occupied and the wait was extremely boring.

In the same fashion Village Roadshow makes people come well in advance to catch the best seats and till the movie starts they shows advertisements and movie trailers. This not only makes the audience's waiting time more interesting but also earns revenue to the multiplex. Also the crowd coming in can be better managed as there is no last minute traffic incoming and chaos.

There are no intervals!! Then when can I buy snacks?

People buy snacks as they go into the auditorium so that they have enough food throughout the movie. So while coming in for the movie, you have to que up to buy the tickets and then que up for the food; which is again a pain point which they tackled. If you are not keen on buying food you can directly go to the box office counters or to the kiosks and buy tickets and get in. But if you are interesting in buying food too, you can que up at the food counter and buy both tickets and food and there are enough number of counters so that the crowd is well managed.

Will it work in India?

I don't think so. Coz we Indians are crazy about movies and that's the main entertainment option we have. At a given point of time all the cinema halls are crowded irrespective of whether its a weekday or a weekend. Also there is no much gap between two shows as to show 5 shows per day in a hall. So revenue wise the multiplex is not losing much. However they do find time to show advertisements in that short waiting period.

Most of the time people come in for evening/night shows after late work hours, so advance bookings without seat numbers will be a real inconvenience. Also our movies have longer running time, so we can't do without intervals.

Online movie tickets are a big boon for us that we can book tickets at our own convenience and get to the cinema by the time of the show, even though the online booking process is not something easy to go through.
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