Recently, Wavemaker hosted a cinema day with the UK’s largest cinema media owner DCM. Throughout the day there were a number of sessions, including a panel on why cinema has still got the WOW factor.
In the age of AV disruption, where watching films has never been easier due to the plethora of video services, the big question remains: do people still go to the cinema?
The answer is a resounding “yes”. Cinema is not just surviving, it is in fact, thriving. In 2018, cinema recorded its highest attendance levels in 50 years. In 2019, there will be over 800 films released - that’s over double the amount released 10 years ago. There’s a film for everyone and the slate this year proves it; Marvels: Avengers End Game, Frozen 2, The Lion King and of course Star Wars Episode IX, a constant conveyor belt of blockbuster hits throughout the year! In an age where social currency has never been more prevalent, cinema still has a major trump card with the 16-week theatrical window.
There has been continued investment and innovation within cinemas; the independent chains provide a fuller experience making a cinema trip more of an ‘event’. This is important as it allows brands to create a deeper integration with customers. Given we are now living in an experience economy, the added benefit for brands is that cinema’s role can also live within the active stage of the purchase journey as well the priming stage, where it has typically seen to be. In terms of innovation, ScreenX and 4DX offers a different way for customers to enjoy the cinema experience. Young adults can feel ‘hounded by advertising’ but cinema ads are the AV format that they respond the most positively to, and such innovations continue to build the overall experience for customers. Cinema still has mass appeal, a prevalent medium for all ages. In a world where we are exposed to thousands of brand messages a day, the ability for brands to reach consumers in a relaxed positive mindset is increasingly difficult. Cinema provides a place of escapism where the ad reel is part of the experience.
Added to a great slate and a more engaging environment, is the flexibility cinema now offers through varying buying routes. Gone are the days of a fixed reels, digitalisation of screens means brands can seamlessly tie in Cinema within their AV strategies.
This is supported by DCM’s latest research Mission 16-34, conducted by d.fferento/ogy and follows on from the three volumes of Building Box Office Brands, conducted by Kantar Millward Brown. It positions Cinema media as Quality Engaged Impacts, moving away from a mindset of ‘Nice-to-Have’ incremental reach. This resonates with Wavemaker’s view that not all impacts are equal and the need to understand the value each exposure creates, rather than just focusing on the media cost. Wavemaker’s recent work on AV Fusion and Open Video helps substantiate these views. In a marketing world where focus has shifted to a ‘short-termism, such research reminds both agencies and clients are the importance of outcome driven results, both in the active but just as importantly, the priming stage.
The future for Wow work in cinema can definitely live in content creation. We’ve witnessed some exceptional work in this space over the last year including a campaign for Ubisoft Far Cry 5.
By the end of the panel, it was clear that cinema has the WOW factor; an engaging medium for all ages, yearly admission growth bolstered by a fantastic film slate, with an outcome driven role for media plans in both the active and priming stages.