Anyone working in the world of cinema knows that CineEurope is one of the industry’s biggest events. So after a much needed sit down (and of course, cup of tea), we’ve reflected on what we learnt from this year’s show.
We know that the industry is in a constant state of flux
The technology used to provide entertainment is constantly evolving, whether that be projection, sound or customer experience. However, exhibitors’ use of this innovative technology can be, at times, behind the pace. On a global scale, cinemas are competing for the same outcome – higher levels of occupancy within their theatres. Retaining and attracting regular customers, and appealing to an increasingly diverse audience, are ever present challenges and top of exhibitors’ wish lists, and technology will play an important role in the future of cinema. Unsurprisingly this conversation was echoed throughout some of the talks during the show.
One of the things we took note of during CineEurope was the conversations around the relationship that the younger generation has with the cinema, and there is some compelling data showing that youth attendance within cinemas is falling. Although this is not a problem faced solely by the cinema industry, future growth is hugely dependant on engaging and retaining the youth market today – especially if exhibitors are trying to increase the levels of occupancy within their cinemas. Ultimately, without the younger generation’s buy in, it is likely that the cinema industry’s days are numbered.
How Coca Cola adapts to Generation Y
Coca Cola gave an insightful talk on how its brand deals with the generation Y problem through customer engagement. One of the standout points was how brands, companies and industries at large can no longer expect younger demographics to fit pre-existing methods of service - youth audiences have different needs and need to be addressed in new ways - from wanting Wi-Fi and constant connectivity, to social media and social sharing capabilities and the ability to express their individuality.
WiFi and social sharing is essential to millenials' experiences
Coca Cola went on to describe some of its successful campaigns that embraced youth culture, such as its personalised Coke bottles all the way to vending machines allowing you to mix your own flavours. And although a different industry, exhibitors do have the power to emulate these customer experience touch points. For example, CineCardz, part of our Thunderstorm platform, empowers cinema-goers to send a personalised message to friends in the audience, via the cinema screen during the pre-show.
The rise of the 'sofa trap'
Another industry challenge spoken about was the rise of the home cinema experience. One of the key phrase people were discussing was the brilliant term the 'sofa trap' - losing a potential customer as soon as they get home and sit on their sofa. The rise of the ‘sofa trap’, thanks to the explosion of services such as Netflix and Deliveroo, creates an environment where prising people out of their sofas once they’re at home is very nearly impossible.
The sofa trap: getting people off the sofa and to the cinema is a challenge
But it’s not all doom and gloom - live sports in North America is a great example of how to overcome this challenge. The live sports industry in the US has seen an increase in ‘home viewing’, where viewers can now watch their favourite sporting events anywhere, and on any device they choose. However, sports arenas have taken a new approach to delivering an experience that entices people away from the ‘sofa trap’. Almost all the major stadiums have been re-built in recent years, and are now delivering an experience from the car park to the seat. The film industry can and should take learnings from that – the cinema experience should begin from the moment a customer enters a theatre (and even before), engaging with customers from the lobby until the moment they leave (and beyond) – and is something the cinema of the future should be implementing.
What is clear from CineEurope is that the cinema industry needs to take action in order to live long and prosper. We think the new digital revolution is what is going to save the industry from the challenges it faces.
But what should be the next thing exhibitors focus on to reinvigorate their audiences? Let us know your thoughts below.