MANILA, Philippines – The SM Group, the largest cinema chain operator in the country, is venturing into stand-alone theaters this year as it moves to diversify its cinema offering outside shopping centers.
SM Lifestyle Entertainment Inc. president Edgar Tejerero said the company is gearing to introduce this year about three to four stand-alone community theaters dubbed as Blink Cinema.
“There are a lot of areas where we cannot put up any more malls because it’s too small or logistics won’t allow it so we decided to put up countryside cinemas,” Tejerero said.
“Designed to reach patrons who do not have near access to in-mall activities, the stand-alone theaters will release current films simultaneously airing with Metro Manila branches,” he added.
Tejerero said the plan is to put up as much as 44 Blink Cinema outlets across the country over the next three years via the franchise model.
“We will be using the franchise model since it’s hard for us to bring these types of cinemas to the provinces. We have already identified 44 locations nationwide for Blink Cinema. Among these are Masbate, Romblon and Marinduque,” he said.
Tejerero said a Blink Cinema would have an average floor space of 600 to 800 square meters and a seating capacity of about 100.
The SM Group has 307 theaters in its portfolio to date consisting of 289 2D and 3D screens, eight IMAX Theatres and 10 Director’s Club Cinemas.
It ended 2015 with total seats of 141,753, higher by 12 percent year-on-year.
Tejerero said the group targets to add some 5,600 seats more this year to bringing it to nearly 150,000 seats by yearend.
SM Lifestyle is a unit of integrated property developer SM Prime Holdings Inc.
By Richmond Mercurio (The Philippine Star)