India’s largest movie theatre operator, PVR INOX is launching the country’s first subscription service for movie tickets. The exhibitor’s new Passport program allows subscribers to watch up to 10 movies per month from Mondays through Thursdays for just Rs. 699 (USD $8.50).
India’s movie theatres have struggled to return to pre-pandemic occupancy levels with big budget blockbusters accounting for roughly 85% of the industry’s Hindi box office. It is thought that cost consciousness may be one factor keeping some audiences from theatres, thus PVR may be using Passport to boost weekday attendance which currently sits at an occupancy rate of 17% throughout the country.
Only standard auditoriums will be available for PVR INOX’s Passport subscribers as the program does not include premium and experiential formats or even those screens with recliner seats. As well, Passport subscriptions require a three month minimum period which should help reduce churn and are not available in most of India’s southern states.
One restriction which is surely done for marketing purposes was limiting the number of Passport subscriptions to 20,000. In a country with 1.4 billion people where moviegoing is a cultural institution, that seems incredibly low. But that is kind of the point, as PVR INOX is relying on the fear of getting shut out of the program to help drive subscriptions.