Does cinema need to evolve in an ever changing media landscape?

Recent stats show that an increased percentage of millennials use both legal and illegal online streaming platforms to watch films. Films are being watched on multiple mediums now, this doesn’t mean that cinema is struggling but it does have an effect on box office sales and could cause a challenge for the cinema industry having to satisfy the most challenging audience – young people!

The growth and sustainability of the sector depends on the ability of cinemas and their partners in film distribution to attract, maintain and grow cinema attendances amongst the younger demographic.

While the cinema customer base has become increasingly broad over the last 5–10 years, with factors such as ageing audiences and segmented consumer markets, young people below the age of 25 constitute the largest group of cinema-goers, and account for up to 35% of admissions, depending on country (European Market figures).

In growth markets that include countries such as the Czech Republic, Poland and Turkey, the share of total admissions represented by young people continues to increase, paving the way for further sector development in the next few years. In more mature markets, admissions share and visit frequency have levelled out or even slightly decreased over the past decade. The main factor that will help grow and maintain the same number of cinema-goers is the desire to continuously invest in the cinematic experience. The audience not only expects massive technological improvements in projection and sound quality but also a creative engagement strategy that would reshape their customer experience.

The cinema experience has changed dramatically over the last few years; whether we are talking about multiplexes or luxury cinemas such as Electric Cinema, Everyman or Curzon. In London we are very spoiled with experiences such as Secret Cinema that offer an immersive experience transforming abandoned warehouses into medical facilities or haunted houses, special screenings of horror films in cemeteries, Shakespearean Romeo + Juliet screenings in a candlelit church with a full choir singing the film’s most famous soundtracks and rooftop film clubs with gourmet popcorn and cocktails. We are just so hard to please, aren’t we?

The industry is going through a stage of transformation as audiences have higher expectations and are changing the way they consume film. All these changes are directly linked to developments in creative video technologies such as 3D,4D, VR or 360-degree productions. The continuous upgrades and experimentation with new services and marketing approaches, manage to keep cinema on the top of the most popular leisure activities.

Cinema is an amazing platform for brands as it captures a highly attentive audience in a relaxed environment. Cinema is also very engaging – 87% of cinema-goers use their mobile phones after seeing a trailer and up to 50% discuss their experience on social media platforms afterwards.

Tom Linay, Head of Film at DCM, thinks that the cinema industry is in better shape than ever and is still a great place for advertisers to spend their budgets:

“The cinema medium is in fantastic shape and 2017 to date has been another great year. Admissions in H1 were up 6.4% year-on-year, while advertising spend is also up 6%. Not only that, the medium delivers efficient targeting and extended campaign cover against traditionally hard-to-reach audiences – across the year 30% of total cinema admissions are 15-24 year-olds. Additionally, the development of cutting-edge technology such as Dolby Atmos and 4DX continues to give cinema the WOW factor. 4DX screens, which offer sensory enhancements such as movement and smell, are pulling in younger customers and the technology is set to expand even further across the UK in 2018. There’s never been a better time to be on the big screen.”

And with the DCM Awards taking place this week, it will be exciting to see how the industry is utilising this unique medium to create maximum impact for brands.

Sources: UNIC Annual Report 2017 – Key Trends in European Cinema


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