Mr. Sumant Bhargava is the founder and Managing Director at Stargaze Entertainment Pvt. Ltd., a film exhibition company that operates multiplex cinemas under the brand “GLITZ Cinemas”. The company has a dominant market share in the Tier II & Tier III cities offering 5200 seats per show and reaching 2.5 million plus captive customers.
Within a short span of less than four years, Stargaze has established itself as a formidable name in the multiplex segment with a network of 22 screens across eight locations of the country.
Mr. Sumant is a management graduate from IIM Lucknow and an engineer from the Delhi College of Engineering. Prior to starting his own venture, he had about 12 years of business, marketing and entrepreneurial experience.
His career in the film exhibition industry started in 2003 with Satyam Cineplexes, where he was responsible for overall operations of their multiplexes business and here he acquired an in-depth understanding and intricacies of the film exhibition industry. He spoke to The Hindu Opportunities on career opportunities in the multiplex industry.
Tell us about scope of employment multiplexes can provide?
Multiplex is one of the fastest growing industries in India. Each multiplex employs around 100 people, directly or indirectly.
Every year about 50 multiplexes are opened creating 5,000 new jobs. The roles include crew, projection staff, supervisory staff, managers at different levels, and finance and accounts personnel.
Can you please tell us the responsibilities for some typical job roles?
A cinema manager is in charge of the multiplex. He is responsible from management to business of the particular multiplex. It is a robust role.
Supervisory staff manages the crew, technical team and services like security, housekeeping and maintenance.
F&B Manager is responsible for food pricing, sourcing, quality and food cost. This is a crucial role because F&B is almost 25 per cent of the business.
Film programming position is responsible for managing the film costs.
Is there sufficient talent to fill the roles? How do you cope with the gap?
There is a great dearth of talent, especially in the Tier II & III cities that we operate or intend to operate in.
To deal with the situation, we are working on our internal training systems to train fresh graduates but unfortunately we lose the trained personnel to the bigger cities within 12 months!
What does this field teach its workforce?
We are a service industry. We teach our people to serve customers to the best possible extent. We teach our people to deliver a delightful customer experience whether it is in terms of quality of sound and picture, food, cleanliness or simply ticket prices.
What is the best thing about pursuing a career with the multiplex industry?
To succeed and grow in the multiplex industry, a candidate has to acquire experience in dealing with constituent domains like customer service, technical services and F&B.
Once he achieves this, he becomes a valuable resource in the industry and can grow very fast. With this experience, he can also shift to allied industries. However, acquiring so much experience entails a lot of investment in terms of time and effort. But students can work with the multiplex industry while studying and save some of the time.
How are remuneration and growth in this field?
Remuneration is lower when compared to other service industries like BPOs, Telecom companies, etc. But growth is exponential is some cases since the number of new multiplexes is growing.
What are the myths associated with career in multiplexes?
The biggest myth is that it is not a dignified career, especially for women. So when parents have issues with their children working in the industry, we ask them to first experience the ‘multiplex cinema experience' and then judge.
Does this field provide learning and growth sufficient for a lifetime? What are the opportunities available to a professional who made it to the top very soon in this industry?
Most people at the top in this industry have made it there very soon primarily due to lack of talent and plethora of opportunities. Like in other industries, the learning curve is steep for the first five to seven years.
But taking into account the growth of multiplexes these days, there will be sufficient growth opportunities later also.
Retail and Film Production fields provide good career opportunities to candidates with experience in multiplex industry.
What is your advice to students looking forward to a career in this field?
Put your head down and work diligently for the first five years. There is plenty to learn before you can become a complete manager. Once you achieve this, your growth can be exponential.
Do not discount your education. It is a decisive factor when you are competing for senior management roles.
Nitya Sai Soumya