Beta Media Puts Capital To Work With A Promise Of Affordable Cinema
At a time when most cinemas in Vietnam were targeting the high-end customer, Beta Cinemas went after a young, dynamic crowd offering good quality for reasonable money and filling a gap in the market: students and middle-income customers who were underserved.
With the cinema boom in Vietnam in full swing (there were an estimated 200 cineplexes across the country at the end of 2019) and with strategic government support, Vietnam is expected to have 1,050 cinemas by 2030, serving 210 million moviegoers a year. Understandably, investors see the market as attractive and full of potential.
Realizing the potential of the industry as early as 2014, Bui Quang Minh (also known as Minh Beta) founded Beta Media and launched Beta Cinemas the same year, right after finishing his MBA course at Harvard University (USA).
At a time when most cinemas in Vietnam were targeting the high-end customer (low median household income meant cinema experience was seen as a luxury), Beta Cinemas went after a young, dynamic crowd offering good quality for reasonable money and filling a gap in the market: students and middle-income customers who were underserved.
After one year of operation (in 2015), Beta Media received investment capital from VIG (Vietnam Investment Group). Another USD 2.5 million of venture funding was secured in 2017 from Blue HK Financial Group (Hong Kong) bringing Beta Media’s valuation to VND 600 billion (over USD 25 million). Since then, Beta Media has been on a tear, and is currently operating 12 low-cost Beta Cinemas complexes and nearly 60 cinemas nationwide.
Despite significant hurdles posed by COVID-19, on June 15, 2020, Beta Media officially reached an agreement to receive USD 8 million from the prestigious Japanese investment fund, Daiwa PI Partners, achieving an enterprise valuation of VND 1,000 billion.
In an industry hit badly by the pandemic, with cinemas idling for weeks, the news was received with a sigh of relief. Minh Beta, the founder, admitted that the investment call was made in the first half of 2019 and an agreement was reached by the end of 2019, but the virus put plans on ice.
Undeterred, Minh Beta and his team focused their pitch on the company’s impressive financial results over the years, the bright future of Vietnam’s film industry as well as Beta Media's commitment to the segment in the long term. At the moment, the brand’s cinemas are back in operation and the investment contract has been officially completed. Beta Media has earmarked the funds for expansion in Vietnam.
Beta Cinemas’ success formula
Despite charging only around VND 50,000 a ticket, Beta Cinemas uses state-of-the-art, Hollywood standard equipment and offers modern, spacious facilities. The use of domestic construction materials allows the company to significantly reduce investment costs, while ensuring good quality and durability. Profitability is also achieved through eschewing expensive commercial centers and optimizing movie theater designs to minimize operating, utility and personnel costs.
Today, Beta Cinemas operates 12 cineplexes across the country, including locations in Hanoi, Thai Nguyen, Thanh Hoa, Bac Giang, Nha Trang, Bien Hoa and Long Xuyen. Its trendy, youthful and colorful interiors appeal to a wide range of moviegoers who can look forward to 40 more Beta Cinemas opening in the next few years.
Diversifying the model
Beta Media’s distribution arm, Beta Distribution, has been collaborating with major film studios around the world to bring quality cinema to Vietnam. Since 2017, the company has screened over 20 international films across a number of genres, ranging from animation and romance to horror and psychological thriller.
Realizing the potential of the domestic film market, Beta Media launched Beta Productions that has since released a number of successful films screened at cinemas nationwide and broadcast on national television. Following domestic success, Beta Productions cooperated with GMM Thailand to produce an American movie "The book of The Gods", which is expected to open in theaters nationwide by the end of 2020.
A smart investment
Since its inception, Beta Media has made great strides in promoting affordable moviegoing experience, most recently with the launch of Vietnam’s only homegrown cinema franchise business.
With investors in mind, Beta Cinemas Franchise was born with the goal of creating a dynamic, Hollywood standard cinema business model with low investment capital, high profits and quick return on investment. The three cinema complexes currently in operation in Dong Nai and Ba Ria - Vung Tau are reaping the benefits of this new partnership model.
Beta Media’s young and dynamic management team works closely with investors to ensure they make use of all the privileges the partnership affords them: the right to use Beta Cinemas brand name, construction and design consultancy, setting up production standards, technology transfer, standardized training and management of human resources, high-quality Hollywood and Vietnamese films, a share of the advertising revenue and ongoing communication.
With the mission to bring affordable cinema experience to the Vietnamese audiences in all regions, Beta Media is committed to promoting the franchise model in the coming years.
About Daiwa PI Partners — Japan’s leading investment fund
Part of Daiwa Securities, Daiwa PI Partners is mainly involved in investment activities in the fields of loan investment, private equity, and establishment and management of investment funds. In Southeast Asia, Daiwa PI Partners has provided growth capital to many leading businesses in key growth sectors of national stature.