The Indian Premier League of cricket may be the biggest sporting extravaganza of the season, but for the city multiplexes who decided to screen the matches, it’s a wash out. Far from a financially viable option, the screening of live matches is proving to be a rather expensive affair with occupancy as low as 10 -15 per cent on weekdays.
At least two consecutive film shows have to be cancelled to accomodate a single IPL match in a theatre. And the dismal crowd response has led to cinema owners struggling to break even. Says Deepak Taluja, vice president Business and Operations, Fun Cinemas, “The response has not been encouraging at all.” Taluja says he isn’t yet sure whether they will screen only the semi-final and final matches from next season. Others, too, feel frustrated on having signed up. “Even lowering ticket rates [to attract viewers] is not a good idea as we’ll face further losses,” says Munish Sharma of Satyam.
While multiplexes are ruing poor business, restaurants and pubs are raking it. Most places have done away with ‘Happy Hours’ as they have plenty of clients anyway every evening. QBA in New Friends Colony and @Live in Connaught place have replaced their happy hours with Thirsty Hours. “You now get a drink at Rs 99, and that’s quite a hit,” informs Sunil Tikkoo, manager. “It’s a complete entertainment package,” says Sohrab Sitaram of Tabula Rasa. Shiv Karan Singh of Smoke House Grill says the lack of food and drinks at multiplexes is a reason for them having lost out. “If people can enjoy the matches with a buffet for Rs 600, why will they come to a multiplex?” asks Taluja.
A flop on YouTube?
For the first time, IPL tied up with an online portal, YouTube, as its official partner to stream matches on the Internet. However, bad connectivity and slow speed seem to have played spoilsport.
“I tried watching the first few matches but you need a high-speed Internet connection. The feed was not clear and very often the connection would die out,” says journalist Tushar Abhichandani. “Netizens have to wait for a good five minutes before they can find out if it is a catch or a six,” he adds.
Student Vijay Das says it’s easier to go to www.cricinfo.com for faster updates, instead.
— Serena Menon