Karen Stacey: the chief executive of Digital Cinema Media
Karen Stacey: the chief executive of Digital Cinema Media
A view from Karen Stacey

Cinema isn't losing anyone's attention anytime soon

Digital Cinema Media's chief executive says cinema advertising ensures brands can be sure they are reaching their target audiences with minimum wastage.

Reading reports this month that the rapid growth of ad blocking is costing the ad industry £14 billion in lost ad revenue during 2015, has made me appreciate the privileged position of cinema as a paid for content medium.

People plan their trip in advance and pay an  average of £6.72 to visit the cinema, where they watch the ads with no distractions.

Despite ad block usage in the UK reportedly increasing by 82 per cent in the past year, 92 per cent of cinema-goers make sure they’re seated before anything is shown on the big screen, while  97 per cent watch ads before the movie.

The cinema medium’s USP has always been its ability to reach and engage audiences with no distractions via the biggest screen, a dark room and the best sound – an advertising opportunity that is even more relevant today.

In the past few years however, cinema has gone through a metamorphosis as advertising on the big screen has become easier to plan, more flexible and even more affordable.

With reliable audience profiling and the ability to align not only by film, but by audience, by cinema or particular showings, brands can be sure they’re reaching their target audiences with minimum wastage. More than ever, specific buying routes help engage with key genres, categories and broad cinema audiences throughout the year.

New brands are advertising on the big screen because they can be more tactical. For example Camelot, the UK National Lottery operator, launched a cinema campaign with a two minute piece of creative that was shared around Mother’s Day 2015.

This was the swiftest production turnaround ever seen on cinema as within 24 hours of receiving the brief, the creative was aired on screen, testing the dynamic digital scheduling that DCM has pioneered since going fully digital in 2012.

Additionally, selling the Gold Spot position, which plays just before the film, in a more targeted way has opened up more flexible opportunities and made it even easier for advertisers to engage with that all important early-adopting, socially savvy cinema-going audience in the most premium spot there is.

However, cinema advertising is not simply about the onscreen element. DCM is constantly unlocking new commercial opportunities for brands.

These include experiential  opportunities in foyers, sponsorship platforms, the continuing rolling out of digital screens  and new online and mobile channels. Advertisers can capitalise on creative activations to complement the onscreen execution, enhancing brand engagement through multiple touchpoints for the audience.

All of these innovations, as well as a strong film slate and ambitious cinema openings  across the UK are helping the cinema industry to experience a stellar year.

Cinema ad revenue was up 21 per cent year-on-year at the half way point, the box office is up 15 per cent year-on-year, and cinema admissions for the year-to-date were 99 million, which is also up 12 per cent from 2014 and the fifth highest January to July total since 1972.

The top five performing films at the box office in 2015 are already bigger than the top grossing film during 2014 and there are four more films between now and the end of the year that are likely to join them.

2016 is also set to be another fantastic year with a selection of films that can stand toe-to-toe with any of the last few years. Some of these include The Hateful Eight, Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice, The BFG, Finding Dory, Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them and Star Wars Anthology: Rogue One.

However, what fills me with confidence for our medium more than anything is the great work we’re seeing on the big screen.

This year we’ve launched the inaugural Digital Cinema Media Awards, in association with Campaign and MediaWeek and the quality of the entries has exceeded all our expectations.

The judging takes place next week and I  really can’t wait to share this great work and showcase the winners at our awards ceremony on 23 September. We hope the annual Digital Cinema Media Awards will inspire the industry to maximise the power of cinema for years to come.

Karen Stacey is the chief executive of Digital Cinema Media