Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Smart snatches up Major Cineplex deal from rival

Smart snatches up Major Cineplex deal from rival

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Chy Sila (left) and Thomas Hundt, CEO of Smart Axiata, shake hands at the signing ceremony for Major Cineplex on Friday. Heng Chivoan

Smart snatches up Major Cineplex deal from rival

Aeon Mall’s Major Cineplex officially ended a three-year partnership with Cellcard as its primary sponsor for both its theatre and its Blu-O bowling lanes on Friday by signing a new partnership agreement with mobile operator Smart Axiata.

As of Friday, the ubiquitous yellow Cellcard logo had been taken down and replaced with Smart’s green insignia.

Often bitter rivals in the Kingdom’s lucrative telecom sector, Smart has been edging its way into the film and television industry through the launch of its SmartOn streaming service for iflix and JaikonTV earlier this year.

Smart’s partnership with Major Cineplex stems from a deal earlier this month after it acquired a 30 percent stake in Sabay Digital Plus which is owned by Chy Sila. While Sabay does not own Major Cineplex, Sila is a member of the board for the theatre.

“We are looking forward to a long-term relationship [with Smart],” said Sila. “We want to create more opportunities for digital production here, and to bring higher-quality movies into our market.”

Thomas Hundt, CEO of Smart, said the partnership was “another milestone” for the company and that Smart’s customers that top-up at least $5 to their accounts a month can receive discounted ticket prices.

“If we are making our customers happy then the company will benefit from a satisfied customer base,” he said, when questioned on the sustainability of discounted tickets. “It is a very straightforward business plan.”

Sila hopes the partnership will bring more Cambodians to the theatre and further bolster the movie industry in the Kingdom.

“In general, our expectations are to have more Cambodians coming to the cinema, and partnering with Smart – which has 8 million subscribers – makes it possible for us to lower our ticket fees so that more people can afford them,” he said. “This is not only a benefit for our own company, but a benefit for the whole industry itself.”

Major Cineplex, which is the largest theatre in the Kingdom with seven screens, expects to open two new theatres in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap by the end of the year, as well as in Aeon Mall 2 when it is completed sometime next year.

While Hundt declined to outline future plans for the partnership, he was confident that the agreement was a positive one.

“At the end of the day, the two strongest players in their industries are coming together,” he said. “Major has selected the best network in the country, and we have selected the best cinema in the country.”

Cellcard declined to comment on the termination of its agreement with Major Cineplex.

MOST VIEWED

  • Breaking: US House passes 'Cambodia Democracy Act'

    The US House of Representatives in Washington, DC, on Monday, passed the “HR 526 Cambodia Democracy Act”, also known as the Cambodia Democracy Act of 2019. If signed off by the president, the bill will allow two major sets of action to be taken against high-ranking Cambodian

  • Shanxi wins bid to build sections of new Siem Reap airport

    Shanxi Mechanization Construction Group recently won the bid to build two sections of the new Siem Reap Angkor International Airport project in Cambodia for 290 million yuan ($42.16 million). The existing Angkor International Airport in Siem Reap, 5km from the famous ancient temple complex and world tourism

  • ‘Zero-dollar’ tours under fire

    Minister of Tourism Thong Khon has blamed “zero-dollar” tour operators for the decrease in foreign tourists to Angkor Archaeological Park in the first half of this year and has called for action against them. Angkor Archaeological Park received 1.24 million foreign visitors in the first half

  • Breaking: Rubbish found packed inside 83 containers at S'ville port

    Eighty-three containers packed with rubbish were broken open at Sihanoukville Autonomous Port by joint authorities on Tuesday. The origin of the containers has yet to be ascertained, Ministry of Environment spokesman Neth Pheaktra said. Pheaktra, who is also the ministry’s secretary of state, said