News Column

Central Embassy offers minibar, sofas

June 7, 2014

By Saengwit Kewaleewongsatorn, Bangkok Post, Thailand



June 07--Brian Hall, a veteran Canadian cinema investor, spent 120 million baht to build a luxury cinema in Central Embassy in a bid to provide a new moviegoing experience to audiences who prefer convenience and exclusivity.

The luxury Embassy Diplomat Screens by AIS has five screens with a total of 203 seats, opening for business today.

Mr Hall, chief executive and a major shareholder of Executive Cinema Corporation, operator of the cinema, said the service was unique, as the cinema provided a private reclining lounge chair equipped with personal lighting to create privacy while watching the movie. Seating options include sofas built to accommodate four people as well as adjustable sofa beds.

Customers will get a pillow and blanket, or they can request a special zone equipped with a private bar if they come in a big group. The minibar is all-you-can-drink.

Staff provide customers snacks and drinks, and every customer receives a welcome set with two drinks, either alcoholic or non-alcoholic.

The cinema is decorated in a gold and grey theme to make filmgoers feel they are sitting in the living room of a billionaire businessman.

Mr Hall said although Thailand frequently dealt with political instability, he was very confident in his cinema investment for the long term.

The veteran cinema businessman has been familiar with Thai cinema for more than 20 years and is a high-ranking manager of Major Cineplex Group. In Vietnam, he is a major stakeholder in CGV, the leading Vietnamese cinema chain.

A ticket at Embassy Diplomat Screens is 900 baht, many times more than regular or luxury movie houses in Bangkok. Regular tickets in Bangkok range from 100-200 baht or more.

AIS Serenade cardholders who are customers will be able to purchase each accompanying friend's ticket for a 20% privilege discount of 720 baht.

The luxury cinema is sponsored by eight brands including Advanced Info Service, Noble Development, Bank of Ayudhya, Bangkok Bank and Mercedes-Benz (Thailand), and tie-in deals will help to expand the customer base.

Mr Hall plans to break even from his cinema investment in 5-6 years, and the first-year revenue projection is 140 million baht, of which 100 million will come from movie tickets, 10 million from concession fees and 30 million from advertising revenue.

The high-end cinema expects to draw 130,000 customers in the first year and register 10% annual growth. It forecasts 35% occupancy, while regular Thai cinemas average only 20%.

"In 15 years of experience here, we've noticed some Thais with high purchasing power are satisfied with spending a lot of money in exchange for super high-class service and convenience," said Mr Hall.

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(c)2014 the Bangkok Post (Bangkok, Thailand)

Visit the Bangkok Post (Bangkok, Thailand) at www.bangkokpost.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services


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Source: Bangkok Post (Thailand)


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