How to Open a Cinema Hall

The Nigerian movie industry is a huge revenue earner. The average citizen loves both foreign and local productions.
They spend millions of naira each year consuming thousand of films and home videos. An investor can leverage on the popularity to establish a cinema. The business is profitable and moderately competitive.
How to Start a Cinema
There are three ways to start the business. You can buy into an existing on, join a franchise or start from scratch.
Starting from scratch requires huge startup capital for fixed assets. Buying into a cinema could be through private placement, ordinary shares/rights.
The franchise format leverages on an existing brand. The franchisee gets full support from the principle through training and technical support. The benefits of franchising include leveraging on a popular brand and easy access to marketers, producers and distributors.
Write a Business Plan
Write a cinema business plan and carry out a feasibility study. Conduct a survey to understand customer needs and find a good location. The business plan should focus on location, infrastructure, equipment, supply and staffing. You need huge funds to setup a moderate outfit.
The amount of startup depends on many factors. You need money to purchase land, build a structure, install equipment and obtain permits.
You could also rent space in a popular shopping mall and establish a small entertainment center. To get funds approach a commercial or merchant bank for loans.
Make sure the loan is long termed with low interest rate. You could also approach venture capitalists, find a core investor or try franchising.
The location is very important to the success of the enterprise. Find a location in a popular area with heavy human or vehicular traffic. The location would impact on the amount you charge per ticket. Make sure it is easily accessible, attractive and secure.
Learn the Trade
To successfully run a cinema you need job experience. Learn through formal training, workshops and seminars.
Hire an expert in the trade for coaching and recommendations. You can seek employment in a cinema to learn the trade. Other ways are through online courses, books and video tutorials.
  • job experience
  • formal training
  • workshops
  • seminars
  • coaching
  • online courses
  • books
  • video tutorials
Register the Company
To become a limited liability company you need registration. Go to the Corporate Affairs Commission and register the business.
The next step is to apply for get a permit from the Nigerian Film and Video Censors Board. The NFVCB have the statutory duty to regulate the Nigerian movie industry. You need liability insurance cover and tax identification number (TIN).
To show foreign films there are strict provisions to follow. There are also contractual agreements with local movie producers. You need full compliance with copyright provisions on public screening of movies.
  • Register as limited liability company
  • permit from the Nigerian Film and Video Censors Board
  • liability insurance cover
  • tax identification number (TIN)
  • contractual agreements
  • full compliance with copyright laws
Sell Snacks
As an entertainment center, leisure activities are usually accompanied by food. Sell a verity of snacks to your audience.
Setup a snack stand and sell meat pie, popcorn, cakes and sausage. Add an assortment of soft drinks, carbonated water, fruit juice and ice creams.
The snack section only requires a small oven at the back office, high chairs, sales stand and display boxes. The area should encourage temporary lounging between film presentations.
Buy Cinema Equipment
The quality of the equipment is very important. You need state of the art sound system, lightening, projectors and screen. Make sure the screening room is comfortable and secure. Provide adequate entry/exit points including fire safety equipment.
  • sound system
  • lightening
  • projectors
  • screen
  • chairs
Employee Staff
You need staff to operate the key areas of the entertainment center. Common staffs are snack bar attendant, sales, manager, accountant and cleaners.
Others are projector operator, sound supervisor and security guards. Offer your staff periodical retraining for better efficiency.
Network with Distributors and Producers
You need to network with film producers and distributors. Make sure the films you stock are highest quality productions.
There are many top distributor channels for both foreign and local films. Insist on high definition picture and good sound quality. Before you can show any film there are copyright laws and contractual agreements with film producers. 
Pricing and Earnings
The cinema predominantly makes money from snacks and ticket sales. The amount of ticket sales depends on the popularity of the film and audience.
The producers usually earn a predetermined percentage of your ticket sales for the viewing. The percentage is determined based on the number of times the film is shown, number of audience and other parameters. 
Producer can make good money from a popular presentation. What directly impacts on earnings are location, cinema crowd and price of the ticket.
The price of a ticket in Nigeria ranges from N500 to N2000 per film. Supplementary income is made from the sale of popcorn and snacks. Cinema business is highly lucrative and the operator can make millions of naira annually.
To attract patronage you need to have a good marketing strategy. Advertise in local newspapers, entertainment magazines and popular blogs.
Use social media marketing, television advertisement and radio. Print flyers, posters, banners and billboards. Offer regulars, discounts, free tickets and promotional. Feature blockbusters and popular films to attract patronage.


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