What T-20 Has Done To The Sport Of Cricket In India, BluO Has Done The Same To The Sport Of Bowling
COO, PVR BluO
Technology, video games, online games etc may be in vogue these days and would be evolving into serious business in India, however something which is catching up trend these days except for the above is the Bowling Industry in India. Though the craze of bowling can very well be seen in metropolitan cities like Gurgaon, Noida, Bangalore, Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore yet majority of population of India still remains unaware of this concept. Gaming, success, entrepreneurship and the pursuit of passion is what drives Mr. Gautam Dutta to open BluO, one of the most happening bowling alleys in Delhi NCR. BluO which is has two outlets based in Delhi and Gurgaon has broken the conventional norms of gaming industry leading it to be the most visited place by the youth of the two cities. We sat with Mr. Gautam Dutta as he takes us for a ride through his winning success story and the trends catching up in the gaming industry to finally leaving corporate world behind him and following his pursuit of passion.
Metroplots: What is the inspiration behind the idea of bluO?
Gautam Dutta: The idea for setting up bluO was to provide one stop entertainment destination to all and also promote the sport of bowling in India. Initially bowling was not as much popular sport in India as it is now. We wanted to promote bowling not just as an indoor sport but also as leisure and entertainment activity and we feel we have accomplished our goal as the patrons for BluO are on a constant rise.
Metroplots: bluO was a new addition to Indian Gaming industry how has been the response?
Gautam Dutta: Response to bluO has been overwhelming. Though it caters to everyone but still youngsters are really fond of the destination. It is quite a hit amongst the corporate sector as well. We have an array of events happening at bluO all round the year like corporate tournaments, birthday parties, kitty parties etc. Even celebrity spotting has become a regular affair at the centre. Almost every month we have someone from bollywood visiting it. Just to name a few - Amitabh Bachchan, Shahid Kapoor, Katrina Kaif, Ranbir Kapoor, Deepika Padukone, Shreyas Talpade and many more have been to the place.
Metroplots: Gaming now in India is seen as an aggressive business. Do you agree?
Gautam Dutta: The fad of gaming has exploded in India as the new generation and their parents see it as entertainment than a waste of time. The virtual world of gaming has evolved into a serious business especially in metro cities.
Metroplots: Though are have been many other gaming cafes but they are not much of a sport. Do you think idea of bowling is a better interest?
Gautam Dutta: Bowling is definitely a better interest that other gaming cafes, since apart from entertainment there are a lot of health benefits involved with the sport as it involves a lot of physical movement. About 95% of bowlers consider bowling as a sport that can be exploited as a recreation, a form of relaxation, a societal factor, and a competitive nature as far as sportsmanship is compared. The simplicity of the game contributes to its adaptability. And since its rules are easier to understand, more and more people are engaging in this sport, not because of competition but to enjoy and have good time with family and friends.
Metroplots: You have some very impressive partners, how have they been able to draw awareness to your efforts?
Gautam Dutta: Being the leading cinema player (PVR Cinemas) and one of the leading entertainment destinations in the country, we are choosy about the brands with whom we enter into alliances. All our current partners are leaders in their domain areas and we are in various stages of talks and negotiations with various prospective partners for some new age concepts. The concepts are targeted towards our primary target groups namely youth and urban and upwardly mobile working professionals. All our specialized programmes and promotions are devised with a focus to provide increased visibility and mileage to our partners whether be it bowling competitions for amateurs, first timers and professionals, birthday and party packages or customized bowling and food combo. Our aggressive marketing efforts help them contribute to increased revenues and brand awareness.
Metroplots: What has been the biggest challenge in selling, promoting, and marketing bluO?
Gautam Dutta: Bowling in India is at a very nascent stage as compared to the western countries. People are still not much aware about the bowling and hesitant to take up bowling as a professional sport. Since BluO is a unique concept, it is not a stand-alone bowling centre and neither a fine dining restaurant. BluO is a one of its kind entertainment concept in India. Hence, the biggest challenge for us was how to position BluO. Through creating a stronger vitality across all TGs and age groups and a stronger stature by leveraging the strength of being a PVR group company, we have been able to carve out a distinct identity for BluO contributing immensely in increasing our base of loyal customers. Simply speaking what T-20 has done to the sport of cricket in India, BluO has done the same to the sport of bowling. In other words, BluO is a concoction of fun bowling, world cuisine, music, adventure coming together.
Metroplots: The gaming industry worldwide is huge, but is still taking time to evolve in India. Please comment.
Gautam Dutta: The gaming industry in India is also growing at a rapid speed. As per the study by Market Xcel, the size of the Indian gaming industry was estimated at around Rs 790 crore in 2009, compared to Rs 650 crore in 2008, implying a growth of 22 per cent during the period. In coming we will see an influx in gaming tier I and II cities.
Metroplots: What are your future plans and aspirations for your business?
Gautam Dutta: We plan to invest Rs 70-75 crores in the business towards opening of BluO across cities like Pune, Mumbai, Chandigarh, Ludhiana and Noida in the coming three years. We will soon be launching the biggest bowling alley of India in Bangalore’s Orion Mall.
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