Cinema advertising is at the top of its game
Cinema advertising is at the top of its game
A view from Karen Stacey

Cinema advertising is at the top of its game

Last month's AA/Warc report stated that UK advertising spend grew by 5.8% in 2014, its highest rate since 2010 and for cinema even more exciting times lie ahead, says Karen Stacey, chief executive of Digital Cinema Media (DCM).

2015 continues a strong story for cinema advertising. Ad spend for the medium is up 9.4% year on year – with ad revenue growing faster than TV, radio, out of home and print.

Demand for cinema has never been higher and no one can argue that it is one of the most emotionally engaging and impactful mediums that offers unrivalled opportunities to reach a wide audience. Over 70% of the UK are cinemagoers, of which 75% are under 44 and over 60% are ABC1, reflecting those all-important audiences that are socially connected and first in the queue for everything.

It’s an exciting year for the cinema industry during which we’ve seen cinema’s biggest ever promotion launched, Meerkat Movies, which offers cinema lovers 2-for-1 tickets every Tuesday or Wednesday. Comparethemarket’s huge commitment to the industry recognises the power of the big screen and is testament to the strength of our compatible audiences.

For the first time in 13 years, we’ve also opened up the most prestigious advertising position in cinema, the Gold Spot, to offer more targeted opportunities, further flexibility and increased revenue to advertisers.

This was an industry-wide decision, led by the CEA, with the new sales process seeing Digital Cinema Media (DCM) working alongside Pearl & Dean, with both of us already reaping the benefits. It has been encouraging to see such a wide range of advertisers, including Renault, Bombay Sapphire, Adidas and Xbox to date, aligning themselves with relevant films and investing significant amounts of money in the cinema industry.

2015 was destined to rewrite the record books and has already surpassed our expectations. It’s only the end of April and records have been broken, and then broken again, with admissions up across all key demographics.

In February, Fifty Shades of Grey became the biggest 18 certificate film of all time, grossing a huge £29.9m in its first two weeks in cinemas. Fast & Furious 7 then delivered a bigger weekend number than any 2014 release managed to do and is now the fifth biggest film of all time, overtaking Frozen.

Just last week the latest Marvel superhero blockbuster, Avengers: Age of Ultron became the biggest opening of 2015, the eighth biggest of all time and the biggest April opening ever. This is the best opening since James Bond’s Skyfall in 2012 and with the release of Spectre in October, as well as a new Star Wars movie in December, it’s safe to assume further records will be broken with admissions expected to reach a high of 172m for the year.

In total, cinema admissions are already up 6% year-on-year for Q1, the fourth highest total since 1972 and shows no signs of slowing as a strong line-up of blockbusters propel the sector through winter. There are still even more blockbusters to come over the coming months, with a stellar line up including Mad Max: Fury Road, Pitch Perfect 2, Entourage, Jurassic World, Minions, Magic Mike XXL and Marvel's Ant-Man.

In today’s changing media landscape, cinema is continuing to transform and grow as an industry. At DCM we’re always looking at ways to innovate and provide new opportunities for advertisers, resulting in double digit revenue growth in Q1, which is 20% up year-on-year. With growth expected to continue for 2015 and into 2016 and beyond, we’re committed to cementing cinema’s position in the media mix.

Karen Stacey is chief executive of Digital Cinema Media, DCM