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T.SARAVANAN
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INTERNET BOOKING of cinema tickets is catching up and the new Diwali releases are sure to cash in

LOG IN For a hassle free entry to view films Photo : M. Vedhan
LOG IN For a hassle free entry to view films Photo : M. Vedhan

W ith online booking, long queues at cinema ticket counters disappeared long time ago in metros. Now, with the introduction of this facility in the city, film exhibitors’ faith in attracting more people to theatres has shot up.

Movies being the main source of entertainment here this Temple Town was known for its reputation of making or breaking a movie. But in the recent past, rampant video piracy detracted filmgoers from flocking to screening centres.

Many people also avoided theatres fearing huge rush as nothing is more frustrating than to see a ‘tickets sold out’ board after a long wait. Online ticketing could not have come at a better time when comfort is a priority and home theatres a reality.

Encouraging

“A new concept is evolving now to make people feel at home when they are in theatres. Any technological advancement takes time to stabilize. But in this case it has been encouraging to see the increasing number of patronisers. “Initially, we started with allocation of 10 per cent of seats for this facility. For ‘Enthiran’, we threw open all seats and the response was heartening. We introduced combo offers like snacks with online booking of tickets. For the Diwali releases, ‘Mynaa’ and ‘Va Quarter Cutting’, our expectations are high,” shares S. Manivarma, Managing Partner, Mani Impala Multiplex.

The quantum increase in online reservations has propelled theatre owners to introduce series of goodies like gift vouchers to dine in popular restaurants in the city. Some theatres have even waived off parking fee.

Outsourced

Lack of skilled man power has also brought in solution providers like S. Kumar Kannan, managing partner, www.limata.com, an exclusive portal to book tickets.

“We create a platform where customers can choose their movie, theatre and seats. We also entertain reservations through telephone and deliver home the tickets with service charge. As telephonic and internet bookings do not get instantly reflected in theatre systems, their counters have to close 30 minutes before the scheduled show. To rectify this anomaly we have asked theatres to enter the real time platform in which counter sales as well as online transactions can be simultaneously done. Already, the real time booking has been introduced in a couple of theatres in Madurai,” informs Mr. Kumar Kannan over phone from Chennai.

“It is still in a nascent stage. But steady increase in number of online customers offers plenty of scope for the exhibitors. Since individual screening houses are more in number than multiplexes in the city it is impossible for the standalone theatres to have their own websites. Hence, we outsource people to manage ticketing,” confers Anand Solaimalai, Managing Director, Ambiga Cinemas, where Dhanush-starrer ‘Uthamaputhiran’ is slated for Deepavali release.

Most city theatres have outsourced their online ticketing while BIG Cinemas have created their own website. “We get frequent calls from customers enquiring about opening of booking. We thrive on corporate bookings where we also provide on request combo food orders along with the tickets. Judging by the number of online customers we get, it is definitely picking up in the city,” vouches R. Prabhu, Theatre Manager, BIG Cinemas JAZZ and ARSH.

Upgraded facilities

Tasting success, many theatres have upgraded their facilities. Some have even fixed internet kiosk ticket vending machines. “Booking tickets on the website generates a confirmation number. The kiosk would issue tickets when the number is keyed in. You can also get your tickets straightaway swiping your credit or debit cards,” explains R. Ramkumar, Director, Thanga Regal Theatre.

Such value additions have proved to be effective in attracting people to theatres and film viewing in big cinema houses has become more of an experience now.

T.SARAVANAN

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