How rural India gets its dose of entertainment
The DigiPlex mobile theatre vans, run by Picture Times, offer their audiences high-quality movie-viewing experience in the rural areas.
The DigiPlex mobile theatre vans, run by Picture Times, offer their audiences high-quality movie-viewing experience in the rural areas. Charging Rs 30 from each viewer, the DigiPlex first pitches a collapsible all-weather canopy that can accommodate at least 120 viewers.
“A country of 1.25 billion has access to only 2200 multiplexes. People in smaller towns and villages aspire to good entertainment, share the same aspirations for good entertainment as people in bigger cities and towns, but have nowhere to go. Picture Time DigiPlex is an endeavour to bring world class Digital Cinema experience & IOT (Internet of Things) to the people of Rural India,” said Sushil Choudhari, the founder and CEO of Picture Times. According to him, they also prefer to show films on the first day of their release in rural areas.
AN OUTREACH VEHICLE
The success of the venture has drawn a raft of agencies, including departments of the central and state governments, to harness the screenings to reach out to rural audiences. The venues are routinely used by the agencies for making people aware about the schemes launched by the central government and various states. During the demonetisation process, the DigiPlex shows helped people download apps for going cashless. It prompted people to download apps such as BHIM to help drive digital transactions in the rural areas as part of the DIGIDHAN Mela.
Those associated with the shows also claim that they helped organized the “Modi fest” in at least 100 locations pan-India. There is also a video-chatting system available in the DigiPlex van. Using its system, government agencies could publicize schemes such as the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, Mudra Yojana, and cashless schemes.
A DIGITAL MARKETPLACE
The DigiPlex van first reaches any rural belt. Then it halts at a selected site of about one acre of land. The place is soon converted into a DigiPlex market-place, with all facilities that one finds in the multiplexes. It provides stalls for government and private sectors for promoting their schemes.
It creates 100-meter-wide intranet sites to ensure a digital market-place, which organizers say is their contribution toward e-commerce. There is also the facility of Wi-Fi hotspot there and a Micro ATM. With their system available in the van, villagers could link their Aadhar card numbers with their bank accounts. “I am currently in Dungarpur of Chhattisgarh. We are showing here Bahubali 2. I was surprised by the presence of a good number of women watching our first show. They had used several three-wheeler vehicles to reach our venue of the show. It was a houseful show. The message soon spread about the quality of our cinema and it attracts viewers,” said Vinay, who is associated with one Digiplex mobile van.
The Chhattisgarh government is using a DigiPlex to ensure proper publicity of its pro-people schemes in the state’s rural belt. Apart from giving publicity to the schemes undertaken by the Chhattisgarh government, the team also makes people aware about Net banking.
“We provide stalls for different banks, including nationalized and private banks, to attract customers in the rural market. You can see such stalls at multiplexes in your city also,” said Vinay.
HELPING OUT STUDENTS
The DigiPlex also enables students in rural areas to download application forms for competitive examinations. They also show short films containing the primary and secondary education syllabus. “If you prepare for medical and engineering, we will show a film on the study materials required by a student,” said Vinay.
The van has MPEG & 2K projectors, server and content supply contracts with Qube Cinema Technology Pvt. Ltd, Dolby 5.1 audio for perfect surround sound and projection screens. Technology helps put a check on the problems of piracy as DigiPlex prefers to release new movies simultaneously in remote rural areas.
The organizers run at least five advertisements of 10 minutes each, provided by the state government on the particular campaign. The van could double up as an office as it has computers, scanners, fax machines, and printers.