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TOPIC: Discount Theater in Uganda

Discount Theater in Uganda 11 Jan 2009 20:34 #30684

  • schooley84
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Hello Everyone,

I'm in need of some input from everybody that has spent time in the movie theater business and wants to help a rookie out! For the past four months, I've been living in Uganda looking for business opportunities. Job creation is one of the biggest needs of African countries, so that is my reason for going.

One idea that I've had is to open a discount movie theater in the capital city of Kampala (pop. 1.5 million). There is currently only one movie theater in the city, which charges $6.50 to see new releases. I'd like to charge $1-$2.

What I don't know anything about is the licensing of films and other specific costs such as this. The movies shown would not be new releases. Rather, they could be older movies.

What other factors must I consider that wouldn't necessarily come to mind for someone that has never been in the business???

It would be great to hear from a lot of you! All advice and input is very much appreciated!

Thanks,
Tyler
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Re:Discount Theater in Uganda 11 Jan 2009 23:52 #30685

  • RoxyVaudeville
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Before I would spend any time or money on how to operate a theatre in Uganda, I would want to find out WHY there is presently only one theatre in a city of 1.5 million people? AND who operates that theatre?

The answer to those questions would give some insight as to whether opening a theatre there could possibly be the greatest financial reward of a lifetime, or the greatest risk, not only to your financial well being, but your physical well being as well.
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Re:Discount Theater in Uganda 12 Jan 2009 00:26 #30686

  • revrobor
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I agree with Roxy. There are many factors to consider and If you have the money to build a theatre you have the money to hire a consultant (someone who's been in the business and can research all these areas for you). It's my guess that film audiences in Uganda have different tastes (in both films and concessions) than those here in the U.S. and any input from us would be of limited use.
Bob Allen
The Old Showman
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Re:Discount Theater in Uganda 12 Jan 2009 09:28 #30687

  • bob1007
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Also, consider how involved you will be with the daily operations. Have you ever worked in a movie theatre? If not, I might recommend you finding either an internship or a job working as floor staff and learning the business from the ground up. You'll quickly discover there's more to the business than just projecting an image on a screen. Besides, you'll need to know what you're doing in order to establish credibility as well as protect yourself from those who think they can take advantage of you. Learn as much of the business as you possibly can before taking such an endeavor. That's my advice, anyway.
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Re:Discount Theater in Uganda 12 Jan 2009 13:34 #30689

  • rodeojack
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I also agree with Roxy. That there's only one theatre sends up a big warning flag.

What are the regulatory and economic realities in your city?

How is film booked in your country? How is it delivered? What are normal terms between the exhibitor and the studio, and how is the money paid? How does your one theatre advertise its films, if at all?

For that matter, does your one theatre play American films, or are they mostly from other countries?

How do other businesses in your city compete? Hopefully, not violently.

If there really is only one theatre in your city, it wouldn't surprise me that they have a firm grip on the market, and the answers to the above questions could be hard to come by. I'd think it certain that how your one theatre operates is nothing like our businesses in the US.

As Roxy said, be very careful how you study this issue, and who you talk to.
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Re:Discount Theater in Uganda 12 Jan 2009 17:06 #30691

  • dnedrow
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I would also want to find out how much is going to "grease" the people who demand it.

I think the "Quarterly Journal of Economics" had a good paper a few years ago specific to the business cost of bribes when operating in Uganda. You might want to search their site and buy the paper. I think the title was something along the lines of "Who must pay bribes and how much?"

-David
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