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Could France’s Oma Cinema concept be the future of Covid-secure viewing?

Could France’s Oma Cinema concept be the future of Covid-secure viewing?

Oma Cinema is a new seating concept from France which is in discussions with cinema operators around the world, including India, as a new-age theatre experience that could go on to tick many of the Covid-secure boxes.

Conceived pre-pandemic in 2018, it is now being pegged as a new promise for theatres in different parts of the world as they gradually ease out of lockdown to eventually open their doors to cinema lovers.

The first cinema within this new architectural style is currently under-construction and set to open in Paris later this year. Meanwhile, the company is hoping to strike pacts with other film-loving nations, such as India.

Cinema lovers

Nicolas Chican, Co-Founder of ‎Ōma, explains: “There are already luxurious multiplexes in the country but also India is a key market for Ōma, as it is a nation of movie lovers and one of the biggest cinema markets in the world.

“Our concept doesn't have to exist in a multiplex. While it can be the jewel or the flagship offering of the multiplex, it can also be a standalone or single-screen cinema. We have also been approached by cities that want to redevelop existing buildings, or in areas with a signature landmark link, and exhibitors adding single screens to their portfolio of offerings.”

Oma Cinema claims to rely on an intimate atmosphere created by its “platform” layout, offering a flexible seat arrangement in each "balcony" and projector positioning among special seating “pods”. It could go on to offer an additional solution to meet the pandemic-imposed social distancing restrictions for cinemagoers, besides allowing audiences to get much closer to the screen and the action.

The concept of staggered platforms is designed around a central positioning of the projector and would mean the audience flow into a cinema would be naturally managed without overcrowding. Customisable platform distribution would allow operators to choose between size, number of levels, platforms per level, as well as seating configurations per platform, the company says.

Pod-based viewing

The pod-based setup is designed with the option for a family or group of friends booking out an entire pod to meet the new Covid-secure requirements.

“The ticket price for an Ōma would be at the cinema operator’s discretion. Even if Oma Cinema is a premium experience, cinema must remain a leisure activity accessible to all,” notes Chican, who believes that the new concept is a timely addition as people are eager to return to cinemas for new film releases once again.

“The demand from audiences for amazing film content is evergreen, and this just builds a much more unique experience in which they can enjoy great content. We hope that Ōma will completely change the way people experience films in a cinema theatre,” he adds.

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