More provincial cinemas in a ‘Blink’

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SMLEI president Edgar Tejerero

SMLEI president Edgar Tejerero

At a time when technology helps make the world smaller and brings its inhabitants much closer, one can only imagine innovations to be limitless.

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Such is the case with the upcoming line-up of projects from SM Lifestyle Entertainment, Inc. (SMLEI), whose immediate priority is to put up cinemas in geographically remote provinces of the country and show movies simultaneously screened in major cities across the Philippines and around the world.

Dubbed as the Blink Cinema, this stand-alone movie house will feature a twin cinema with 100-seating capacity each, complete with a reception area, popcorn service and even a merchandise store to give would-be patrons the same cinematic experience mall moviegoers have at every visit.

According SMLEI president Edgar Tejerero, Each Blink Cinema will only need a 600 to 800-square meter lot. “The whole inspiration for stand-alone cinemas came to us when we went to Mexico. We found out that for 160 million people over there, they have about 8,000 cinema screens, while the Philippines that has about 100 million people with only 700 screens,” related the executive.

He then shared that their knee-jerk reasoning had been that the Philippines is an archipelago with 7,107 islands, while Mexico is not. But driven with the objective to bring the movie magic to the whole nation as a whole, Tejerero’s team studied the options for their objective.

“When we analyzed the Philippine archipelago, we discovered that there are many areas where we can no longer build malls—either because it’s too small or logistically quite challenging. Then the idea to come up with country side cinemas happened.”

To make Blink Cinema up to date in terms of content, Tejerero’s team designed a new satellite delivery system that will no longer require the shipment of hard drives, where digital format of films are now stored.

Besides screening blockbusters, though, Tejerero’s team also established a way to maximize the use of Blink Cinema theatres as a venue for venue for neighborhood, school, or corporate events.

To date, SMLEI has identified 44 remote areas—among them Masbate, Romblon, Marinduque, and Samar—where Blink Cinemas will be built, three to five of which will be up and running within the year. As to which province will have the first stand-alone cinema, Tejerero divulged that 12 parties in various locations have already shown interest to be in front of the line, but his team is still deliberating where best to begin.

This year is also an important year for SMLEI as its SM Cinema brand will convert more of its theaters to laser projection cinemas to emit better motion picture quality. SM Cinema will further introduce more branches of the Director’s Club Cinema with its plush leather recliner seats and minimal seating capacity to give for a more “private” screening experience.

Lastly, Blink Online Cinema, which guarantees never-before-seen flicks available from a user’s mobile gadget, will also be introduced.

“We are not looking only into building new businesses but also in improving our currents brands. That is why our objective in 2016 is to strengthen our structure, renovate our facilities, upgrade our service, and maintain our relevance.” Tejerero said.

“SMLEI’s goal this year is growth—not only for the expansion of the company but for the economy. We want the world to take notice of the Philippines as a diverse and rapidly emergent country,” the executive ended.

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