All the world's a stage for IMAX (NYSE: IMAX ) .
The provider of super-sized theatrical experiences is announcing an agreement with SPI Cinemas Private Limited to install four digital theater systems across India.
India loves its movies, but the world's second-most-populous nation hasn't exactly taken to IMAX's premium celluloid proposition. The deal with SPI will result in a total of 13 IMAX screens available in India, a far cry from the company's success in China and Russia -- and a tiny fraction of the 583 screens that IMAX has open worldwide.
Stateside investors haven't had a lot of reasons to get excited about plays on India's leisure industry. The country's low per-capita incomes have spooked investors, leading skeptics to wonder when we will see clear signs that India's starting to build up its discretionary income the way other emerging economies have over the years.
Online travel website MakeMyTrip (Nasdaq: MMYT ) is profitable and growing. Revenue climbed 84% in its latest quarter, fueled by a 57% spike in gross bookings. Unfortunately, MakeMyTrip is more the exception than the rule. Website operator Rediff.com (Nasdaq: REDF ) stunned investors by posting a year-over-year decline in revenue last week. This morning, India tech services provider Sify (Nasdaq: SIFY ) posted a mere 4% top-line advance.
Things appear promising on the multiplex front. This morning's press release claims that the local Indian film market is the world's leader in terms of attendance and number of films produced. Reports forecast India's film industry to grow from $3.2 billion in 2010 to $5 billion come 2014.
However, this doesn't mean that cash-strapped consumers will part with their premium rupees by paying more for an IMAX screening. India's productions are not typically the special-effects-laden action movies that blow up nicely on IMAX's superior digital platform. However, as IMAX's screen presence grows in India, the greater the pressure for film producers to cater to the sensory-awakening advantages of IMAX's platform.
Today's deal is just a small step, but it's a step in the right direction.
I've been a believer in IMAX for years. It's been a market beater both times that I have recommended IMAX as an investment to Rule Breakers newsletter subscribers. As part of the CAPScall initiative for accountability, I've also had a bullish IMAX call on Motley Fool CAPS for some time.
If you're ready for a different kind of feature presentation, ask yourself if you know the two words that are scaring the dance moves out of Steve Ballmer. It's a free report, but like a hot theatrical release, it won't be showing forever, so check it out now.