Satyam Cinemas is probably the only truly decent cinema theater in proper Chennai (Mayajaal in the outskirts is just too far to be true competition). PVR, Inox and other multiplexes will soon be entering the Chennai market. Prices at these complexes are in the order of 80-150 rupees and hence, way out of the reach of the common man.
The Tamil Nadu government recently enacted a Governmental Order that prohibits the pricing of tickets in Air Conditioned halls at above Rs.50 per ticket. Now this should have been excellent news for the regulars at Satyam. However, most people are aghast at the possibility that they might have to sit besides an auto-driver (the horror !) if the prices are dropped.
And of course, Satyam and other multiplexes could lose a huge amount of revenue (more than 50% in some of their screens). So the conundrum for them is, how do they stay in line with the Governmental Order, retain revenue and also ensure that the crowd in their theatre is decent and does not insist on spitting on every wall?
I believe I have a solution ....
The best way out for the Satyam Management would be to make their theater "membership based" ! They could charge a Rs.1,000 lifetime membership and then only allow members to purchase tickets. Or maybe they could extend the dichotomy of Indian society and allow "general booking" for the cheaper seats and only allow members to buy the more comfortable seats.
This way, they can keep the tickets at Rs.50 and still generate the same levels of revenue. And of course no auto driver will spring for Rs.1,000 in one shot.
The "fuel card" that Satyam recently launched could be re-branded as a membership card.
And of course, if Satyam jumps on this and starts such a program, it will put INOX and others in a lot of trouble, as I doubt if anyone would pay for more than one membership.