Entertainment Sep, 06 2014

Entertainment hotspots open new gateways of growth

All work and no play, makes Jack a dull boy. Playing is the most important activity among kids during their childhood days. Playing does not only help in developing a child physically but emotionally and mentally too.

By Yamini S Verma, TFW Bureau
Sr. Sub-editor
Entertainment hotspots open new gateways of growth

Well, here is a handbook of a few good old play way means that are fetching great dividends to the investors who are taking franchise of kid’s activity centres pan- India. Trying hand on favourite console game, watching high definition cinemas or strolling on the roller coaster ride at an amusement park is a new era fantasy for kids. And that is how the entertainment industry is taking a lead to offer a very promising career to potential investors.

Though gaming and entertainment industry is at its nascent stage in India but with government initiative and the enforcement of FDI, many foreign investors are foraying into the country with their projects. Universal Studios, Disney, Sony and Ripley Entertainment, are among the global leaders in the gaming and entertainment parks that bring in the billions of dollars of investments every year. Indian brands too have made efforts to match their counterparts and are offering opportunities to the industry professionals via the franchise route.

 Market at a glance

The Indian gaming industry is pegged to grow extensively in the future providing career avenues and employment to the indigenous lot. As per the study of Skill Gap Analysis Report for Media and Entertainment Industry by National Skill Development Corporation, the console games are primarily imported in India which attracts a duty of 54 per cent and retail at prices of Rs 1,500 or above. The console makers drive to indigenise the gaming content that would lead to the growth in console gaming industry in India.

According to the FICCI-KPMG Indian Media and Entertainment Industry report of 2013 indicates that the Indian gaming industry is valued at Rs 15.3 billion and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 22.4 per cent to Rs 42.1 billion by 2017. Of this market, console gaming has a CAGR of 19 per cent with a huge scope or growth.

As per Insight alpha, proprietary business intelligence for India and S.E Asia investors, the Indian Amusement Park Industry is about two decades old and is relatively new when compared to its origin in USA and Europe. This industry found its roots in India during mid and late 1980s when a few innovative entrepreneurs took the challenge of pioneering few amusement parks in Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai.

Opportunities in store

A  Bengaluru-based entertainment hotspot, Snakes & Ladders owned by SARAGA is the go-to fun zone for children and schools. Incepted in the year 2010, the brand has grown to become first-of-its-kind in the physical entertainment sector, benefits from the first mover advantage with benefit of a tremendous growth potential in the area of business. “Entertainment Industry is the most sought-after and profitable business in India today. Snakes & Ladders business capitalises from the vast scope in this sector and benefit from the vast economical potential in the country,” says Dhatri Vittala, Executive Director and Chief Sponsor, Snakes & Ladders.

Another dynamic start up Gamineazy Entertainment, founded in 2011 in Bengaluru was started with the vision to make high-quality, next-gen gaming accessible and affordable, through an innovative lounge/retail/event-management model. Gamineazy Entertainment offers franchise opportunities for innovative store-format and kiosk-based gaming recreational facilities in malls, high-street locations and selected commercial/ residential areas. “We have a wide array of gaming experiences ranging from gaming theaters, 3D gaming, motion-gaming, racing cockpits, dance and karaoke that appeal to a wide demographic. Many of the options are intuitive, easy for customers to pick up and play and most importantly family-friendly. Our concepts are modular in nature and are very suitable for a franchise model. Depending on the location and budget of our potential franchise partners, we recommend an array of features/ options that would be optimal and viable from a business stand-point. Many of our entertainment service offerings are customizable, allowing franchisees to easily scale operations with time, hence opening up newer opportunities to profit from,” says Navin Rajendran (CEO) and Chirag Gaglani (COO), Gamineazy.

 Apart from these Amigos, Jammin, Prakash Amusement Theme Park, Sporty Beans, Bonzai, XD Cinemas, Snow King and KidZania are amongst the leading players in the Indian gaming and entertainment industry. Currently, the 5D cinemas, gaming parlours and amusement theme parks in India is a niche concept for investors to get involved but the influx of foreign brands in this particular sector is indicates that the growth potential of Indian gaming and the entertainment industry is substantial.

Beyond Boundaries Pvt. Ltd., an operator of entertainment concept XD Cinemas, is among those brands that follow franchise model to offer opportunity to prospective franchisees to become a part of the growing gaming and entertainment industry. Their model specifically caters to malls where XD Cinemas will be present. However going forward, the brand will also be looking at other feasible locations.

Challenges to overcome

The trend of amusement and theme parks are gripping amongst the urban residents due to their increase in disposable income and awareness for the alternative entertainment means. But running and operating a brand also comes with challenges and initial hiccups. “When our first store was launched around two years ago, some of the biggest challenges were to raise brand-awareness as well as helping people understand how console-gaming and motion-gaming was very different than what they have been used to for so many years in the form of PC/ arcade gaming. Our strong association with global brands like PlayStation/ Xbox, great relationships with the leading game importers/distributors in India and our emphasis on knowledgeable, courteous staff and the creation of a world-class ambience for family-friendly entertainment have helped raise Gamineazy’s brand recall and visibility, creating a favourable brand association in the minds of our customers,” says Rajendran. He further adds: “Our patience and perseverance has paid off and now our customers perceive and appreciate the value we provide. Our franchise partners are now in a great position to leverage our learning, experience and expertise in the creation of a unique gaming entertainment zone as a profitable enterprise in their home-town.”

While Vittala is of the opinion that being in the retail space, the brand understands the importance of reaching out to the customer with its services. “There is a great potential in this market segment in the smaller towns of India too. As an organization, the quickest and the most effective way of providing our services to this great audience is through franchising,” she quips.

 Expansion plans

Gamineazy is looking at associating with partners who are passionate about entertaining people and providing them an opportunity to smile and have fun. The brand has two full-format stores and a kiosk-format unit operational in Bangalore, a high-end entertainment franchise in Jaipur, Rajasthan and two more franchise units that will be operational by next quarter, within Karnataka. Gamineazy is relentlessly pursuing its plan to grow into a nation-wide chain of one-stop gaming destinations, providing classy gaming lounges with integrated retail stores as well as affordable and easily accessible gaming kiosks.

Through a combination of organic growth and inorganic growth through long-term, mutually fulfilling relationships with its franchisee partners, the chain is striving to establish its presence across various locations in malls and high-street areas in Bangalore and other tier-I cities in India. “We also see a lot of potential in certain tier-II/ tier-III towns that are currently under-served with regard to entertainment options and aim to open stores/ kiosks and create innovative entertainment avenues for the residents in those areas. Our kiosk model with its unique quick-play and easy-on-the-pocket concept has enabled us to attract a lot of customers, young and old, who were curious and hesitant at first but now have rediscovered the joy of gaming and have become regulars,” adds Rajendran.

However, Snakes & Ladders also aims to expand pan-India. The brand is looking for franchisees that have the zeal to start their own business and can spare one to two hours a day to take care of the operations. “As an organisation, we have designed the most lucrative business model to maximise the revenues and profits with low capital and operational costs. Over the next couple of years we envision the brand expands pan-India with presence in all major cities and towns of India. Further to that, the organisation sees itself diversifying into other sectors of children’s entertainment, children’s merchandise etc,” confirms Vittala.

Related: Party hard to reap profits

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