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Major Cineplex looking at expansion in CLMV markets through JVs

MAJOR CINEPLEX Group is looking at the CLMV (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam) markets for expansion of its cinema business overseas.

In addition to Cambodia, where Major will open its first seven to eight-screen cinema at a cost of Bt120 million in July, at least one new CLMV country will be announced by the group for overseas expansion this year.

"We are having negotiations with potential partners, in particular in CLMV markets. The expansion will be through joint venture and the ownership ratio will depend on local regulations in those markets," Vicha Poolvaraluck, chairman of Major Cineplex Group, said.

He said local consumers in the CLMV markets had shown a preference for and were already familiar with Thai movies. They were exposed to Thai films and soap opera via new media such as satellite TVs.

Many of them have an understanding of Thai culture and language.

Vicha said Major Cineplex would never stop its expansion despite the economic and political difficulties in Thailand.

The company will this year open 40 new screens at a cost of Bt800 million, including 8 to 9 screen cinema complexes to be launched at the Bt9-billion EmQuartier shopping centre to |be opened by the end of this year on Sukhumvit Road opposite The Emporium shopping complex.

Major Cineplex yesterday launched its new member card programme, "M Generation Freedom", to target elderly customers aged 60 and above.

Elderly people in Thailand now number between nine to 10 million and account for 15 per cent of the overall population in Thailand.

"We expect that under the M Generation Freedom member |card campaign, we will be able to raise the number of elderly customers, aged 60 and above, visiting our cinemas to between 900,000 and a million people," said Vicha.

He said that the number of elderly customers was currently less than 1 per cent of total ticket admissions. In many markets such as the US, Hong Kong, and Singapore, the proportion of elderly customers at their theatres is as high as 30 per cent of total movie-goers.

"Our largest customers are aged between 18 and 30, who account for 70 per cent of total movie-goers coming to the theatres, while another 20 per cent are customers aged between 30 and 45," said Vicha.

He said Major Cineplex sold 31 million tickets last year, up 23 per cent over 2012. The group expected to achieve another 10-per-cent growth in ticket admissions this year.

Vicha said the current political and economic difficulties had |no direct impact on the company's performance, which would rely more on the line-up of Thai and Hollywood blockbusters.

The group itself posted a 13-per-cent growth in ticket sales year on |year in January this year.

The sales, however, were flat in February due to the weak line-up of movies.


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