How is cinema meeting the digital challenge?

campaignlive.co.uk, Thursday, 03 May 2012 08:00AM

Cinema is now just one of a number of ways to watch a movie. But rather than pose a threat to its future, digital can make the medium even more popular, two experts claim.

Joe Evea, business development director, Digital Cinema Media

Joe Evea, business development director, Digital Cinema Media

JOE EVEA, BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR, DIGITAL CINEMA MEDIA

- Considering the premium prices consumers pay for cinema, does the rise of video-on-demand spell its eventual death?

No. A trip to the cinema is an experience in its own right, one that is completely different from watching a movie in your home or on the move.

- Is digital progress in any way a benefit to cinema? If so, how?

The advent of 3D cinema was a catalyst for digital, which has its own benefits for studios, consumers and brands, while the migration to digital projection will also provide much greater flexibility when it comes to scheduling and serving ads. Digital progress will also help bring to life the multiple advertising opportunities around cinema and enable DCM to maximise the impact of the screen, making the cinematic experience bigger than just the movie.

- How has media planning around cinema developed in recent years, and is it set to change much by 2013?

As the media landscape continues to fragment, the impact and brand awareness cinema provides guarantees the medium remains key in the planning process. Digital projection will change how cinema space is planned, making the medium more flexible and agile, ensuring more accurate scheduling and media planning. As DCM embraces new technology, campaigns will be planned according to the "consumer journey", enabling advertisers to deliver brand-focused, cross-media campaigns that will definitely impact the planning process.

- Is cinema doing enough to get on the media plan?

Fortunately, cinema has a deep emotional engagement with consumers and an impact that no other medium can deliver, and DCM does a great job of selling the screen very successfully. Too much reliance on the commoditisation of the media metric has meant that brands have missed opportunities to really express themselves in unique and creative ways, so it's DCM's job to now re-educate and reinspire brands and agencies to engage with cinema.

- What new opportunities are available for clients in the next 12 months?

DCM can now start to communicate with our audience while they plan their cinema visit, and continue the conversation in the foyer, on-screen and on-exit. The number of people buying tickets online or via mobile is also increasing rapidly. Advances such as Blippar and digital six-sheets will bring the foyer to life, Shazam and cineSync can make on-screen ads interactive, while Twitter and Facebook are hugely popular ways for people to discuss movies and nights out.

- Sell me cinema in 60 seconds.

I sat in a busy cinema last week and watched as the audience sat glued to the ad reel. They laughed, talked about the ads and were completely immersed in the experience. All of these people have spent time planning their trip, most will have spent at least ten minutes in the foyer, many will have checked-in using Foursquare and some will have shared their thoughts on the movie and the ads via Twitter or Facebook. Advertisers can now communicate with this audience on an individual basis with a targeted message brought to life across multiple platforms, confirming that there is no greater advertising opportunity than that offered by cinema in the digital age.

CHARLIE YEATES ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR AND HEAD OF CINEMA, MEDIACOM

- Considering the premium prices consumers pay for cinema, does the rise of video-on-demand spell its eventual death?

No way. Even with the explosion of video-on-demand platforms and HDTVs, cinema remains the prime place for consumers to immerse themselves in new films. Going to the cinema is an experience that a device cannot offer. Hence why it remains the nation's favourite leisure activity.

- Is digital progress in any way a benefit to cinema? If so, how?

It's crucial to the growth and evolution of the industry. Depending on how far the process will allow us to go, the medium could become a staple of the communication process rather than a "nice-to-do". By removing the current inefficient (albeit improving) production process and developing new models, the industry could see an influx of investment from new areas such as print. Cinema audiences continue to grow, so a new way of buying one of the oldest (and loyal) media can only be a good thing.

- How has media planning around cinema developed in recent years, and is it set to change much by 2013?

Not much for on-screen. With regards to off-screen solutions, though, there has been a stark improvement. Whereas before, the off-screen offering was mainly limited to sampling (where brands such as fragrances would give away samples in the foyer), it has extended to include in-foyer digital screens (with 3D versions en route), interactive floors, in-auditorium stunts and brands partnering with actual screens and cinemas.

- Is cinema doing enough to get on the media plan?

Yes, but the increase in platforms elsewhere means it needs to find stronger allies to work more closely with. This may still be TV and possibly out-of-home, but certainly mobile. Film is a huge part of people's lives, so the industry needs to find a way of connecting film to consumers off-site. Social integration is required by generating more debate and brand involvement. Within auditoriums, we also need to look at how we can make it an immersive experience. Engagement can be achieved with the commercial content, through gaming and voting technology, augmented reality and even live ads.

- What new opportunities are available for clients in the next 12 months?

This will be dependent on the trading model that evolves from the digital conversion process. But the medium will become more agile, flexible and attractive to existing and new advertisers. Aside from reshaping the trading process, mobile and OOH will have a big part to play. They will create truly multimedia, connected solutions. Cinema needs to harness the opportunities that Twitter could offer, such as film clubs, bloggers, film reviewers and advocates.

- Sell me cinema in 60 seconds.

UK consumers parted with more than £1 billion to watch movies at the cinema last year. The fact that its popularity is as high as ever, in an era of severe platform fragmentation and global connectivity, speaks volumes. Film is one the most common themes the world over. As a result, cinema is still the most powerful place to showcase your brand. Everyone has a favourite film and cinema is a unique experience, not just another audiovisual platform.

This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

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