Media: Double Standards - 'No medium beats cinema for the quality of ads'

For sheer size, sound and visual impact, cinema advertising is still the best way to promote your brands, two of the sector's sales chiefs argue.

CLARE TURNER - SALES DIRECTOR, PEARL & DEAN

- What does cinema advertising provide that other media can't?

A relaxed and focused audience with no other distractions - where else can you reach an audience like that? Unrivalled impact and entertainment, no other medium beats cinema for sheer size, sound and quality of ads. Cinema is also one place advertisers can reach groups of friends and family together, not really that easy to do with any other media - we can reach 'em in their millions.

- Why is the cinema advertising market a duopoly?

Our position is reflective of a consolidated market.

- What new and innovative things are you working on?

Pearl & Dean is in a very exciting place; we're taking the brand beyond the big screen towards film/entertainment. Our consumer site, pearlanddean.com, is growing rich in content by the day. We can now run cinema ads on our site, and this year we'll be expanding our offering. On-screen, we are always seeking ways to further prove the power of our medium, and there are a number of research projects in the pipeline, including our own online cinema panel.

- What is the biggest challenge for the cinema industry?

For the studios, it's making good quality films that people want to see. For the exhibitors, it's making their cinemas a place where people want to go for an entertaining night out.

- What impact has the availability of downloadable films on the internet had on the cinema industry?

We welcome all legal ways to watch films. Admissions so far this year are up year on year; Spider-Man 3 looks set to out-perform the previous movies. The market is in very good shape. We know from the FAME survey that people who love film will watch in a number of formats so they may download, be a member of a DVD club and visit the cinema. Cinema is still the best possible place to see a film and that won't change.

- How is the industry trying to prevent this?

In the UK, All Industry Marketing is involved with the Federation Against Copyright Theft and the IP Trust to educate filmgoers about illegal downloads and piracy.

- How can the film industry attract higher audience figures?

By continuing to offer choice of quality product, marketing films in an engaging way and using the cinema environment to its full potential. Cinemas can be the social hub of a place. A great example is The Everyman Cinema in Hampstead; they've created a film club atmosphere that creates loyalty within the community.

- Why did you decide to work in cinema?

Cliche, but a huge passion for film played a part and it wasn't difficult to decide what the most exciting medium to work in was.

- What is your favourite cinema ad?

Orange "Lord of the Rings".

- What's your all time favourite film? And the best film you've seen this year?

The Lives Of Others this year - although with a little baby just arrived, I've only made it to the cinema twice! All time fave - To Kill A Mocking Bird or The Wizard Of Oz.

NICOLETTE HOMES - commercial director, Carlton Screen Advertising

- What does cinema advertising provide that other media can't?

Maximum engagement - cinema provides a captive audience in a relaxed, attentive and positive frame of mind who have no distractions interrupting their experience. The all-consuming sound and large-screen format ensure maximum impact for advertisers. Cinema also provides access to hard-to-reach audiences such as young adults and parents with their children.

- Why is the cinema advertising market a duopoly?

In the majority of markets around the world, cinema owners are keen to maintain competition between advertising contractors. From the media agency and client perspective, more than two sales points in a market that represents less than 2 per cent of total adspend would make the medium over-complicated to plan and buy.

- What new and innovative things are you working on?

We've launched Carlton Film Promotions, a new division to develop and implement mutually beneficial promotions between films and brands. We've also developed a pan-European cinema proposition together with our sister company, Screenvision, which has already been taken up by brands such as Armani, Suzuki and Toyota F1. Plus, live cinema ads, 3D, IMAX, digital advertising and holograms in foyers!

- What is the biggest challenge for the cinema industry?

To cater for the varying needs of very diverse customer segments, from groups of teenagers, couples on a night out, to families with small kids, and give them all a top quality experience. And to successfully manage the transition from 35mm film to digital projection!

- What impact has the availability of downloadable films on the internet had on the cinema industry?

Personally, I think, not too much ... Is it really a substitute for a night out with friends in an awe-inspiring environment? I argue those who would download a movie would have been unlikely to go and see that film at the cinema anyway.

- How is the industry trying to prevent this?

Increasing the number of films released on the same date worldwide limits both the supply of and demand for illegal copies. The transition to digital film distribution and projection makes piracy much more difficult too.

- How can the film industry attract higher audience figures?

Increase the frequency. If the average person in the UK went to the cinema as often as the average person in Ireland, we'd see cinema admissions increase by 60 per cent. Promotions such as Orange Wednesdays aim to encourage this, but we need to do more.

- Why did you decide to work in cinema?

The outdoor contractor I worked for sent me on The Media Business Course in 1993 and I was totally inspired by a really emotive cinema sales presentation - I thought "that's what I want to do".

- What is your favourite cinema ad?

There's more than one, but they are all for Lynx.

- What's your all time favourite film? And the best film you've seen this year?

True Romance. This year ... Babel, by far.