Spotlight On Sarawak’s Silver Screen Player
by Jonathan Wong, email@example.com. Posted on July 22, 2012, Sunday
Sarawak’s cinema industry has experienced a major boom over the years with major players entering the state’s market.With major cineplexes already in the state such as Star Cineplex, MBO Cinemas and Lotus Five Star along with upcoming players such as GSC and TGV coming into the local scene, the state is set to see increasing competition in the near future.
BizHive Weekly talks to these local players on the overall outlook for this niche of the entertainment industry.
Banking on the booming blockbusters industry
Sarawak’s cinematic industry has experienced a major boom over the years with prominent players entering the state’s market, portraying the revival of cinema operators here.
In Kuching for example, over the years, Lotus Five Star Sdn Bhd and Star Cineplex under the management of Hock Star Entertainment Industry Bhd has always been the go-to cinemas.
However, with the introduction of MCAT Box Offi ce Sdn Bhd (MBO) at the Spring Shopping Mall, competition for market share has increased.
The scene will only get more competitive soon with Golden Screen Cinemas Sdn Bhd (GSC) joining the race for market share here upon the completion of CityOne Shopping Mall.
Also, Tanjung Golden Village Sdn Bhd (TGV) is slated to join the ranks of local cinema players here with a planned outlet at Boulevard Shopping Mall (discussion still in the works).
With more players entering the scene here, things are certainly looking up for the public with varied choices and different offerings being made available by all these players.
This industry here has not always been this robust, though.
Admittedly, the industry had experienced a slowdown in the 90s due to the introduction of video home systems (VHS) as well as laser discs.
The increasing availablilty of technology such as DVD players, high defi nition televisions and laptop players add to the increasing competition cinemas face in today’s day and age.
The current cinema industry competes with many video product viewing and access alternatives, including cable and satellite TV, iPods, cellphones as well as computer downloads.
This competition was a major driver for investment in theaters as well as having movie producers producing movies that require the special facilities of the cinema to fully appreciate the experience.
Hence, the magic and lure of the silver screen will always captivate audiences of all ages and remain as the top pick of the entertainment industry.
Sarawak’s outlook During an interview with the BizHive Weekly, chief operating offi cer (COO) of MBO Ikmal Nizam Ariffi n said that the industry boom was to be expected and in tandem with the development of Sarawak, particularly in the retail and construction markets.
“Nowadays, cinemas aren’t what they used to be. They are not the stand-alone ones that were around 20 years ago and going to the cinemas is a lifestyle more than anything else,” explained Nizam.
“People would come and buy tickets, go shopping and then go watch a movie before continuing to shop and such. It is very different compared with what it was before.”
Nizam added that with the boom in shopping malls in Sarawak, it was only a matter of time for cinemas to sprout out.
National outlook In a separate interview, general manager of GSC, Irving Chee, believed that the phenomenon of the growth of the cinema industry wasn’t just limited to Sarawak alone.
“The cinema industry in Malaysia is currently in a state of expansion and growth, as the various cinema chains are expanding aggressively as it is an evergreen activity,” he told BizHive Weekly in an interview.
“The thing about going to the cinema is that it is an activity that promotes bonding not only between friends but also among families, it is an out of home entertainment and a distraction from the challenges of life.”
Additionally, enhanced cinema experiences like 3D technology and luxury theaters attracted a steady audience that would no doubt indirectly attract even more consumer spending for the local economy.
Chee was of the opinion that new technology provoked even more participation in terms of how the movie was being perceived, especially 3D technology which could invoke the feeling of being part of the movie itself by patrons, hence improving interactivity in the cineplex.
“So yes, in terms of the industry in general, the boom is largely due to the constant demand for entertainment backed by the improved economy as this brings about more income for people to distract themselves from the challenges they face everyday.”
A gradual recovery in business and consumer spending seems to further boost the demand for out-of-home entertainment and that indirectly boosts the demand for the latest box offi ce blockbusters.
With reduced seasonality revenues as fi lm studios have expanded the historical summer and holiday release windows and increased the number of fi lms released during traditionally weaker periods, as well as diversifi ed revenue streams such as sales from concessions, the industry looks to be riding on the bull in the market.
BizHive Weekly takes a look at Kuching’s major cinema industry players and their take on the current industry overview of the silver screen outlook.