The demise or inextricable erosion of cinema has been predicted for years, often from those who see services like Netflix or OTT, On-Demand, SVOD or pay-per-view making inroads into viewers' time and attention. But, according to recent movie trend reports, movie attendance is now on the upswing with +17% growth in A18-49 attendance and +34% among 18-34s.
The reasons behind cinema's healthy growth might be due in part to industry initiatives such as the one recently announced by Screenvision Media, that through various alliances help weave the entire movie viewing experience for consumers from consideration to ticket purchase to attendance to remembrance, making it more holistic and engaging.
"People who come to see movies in the theaters are in the right mindset to be entertained or informed, and this is not a given in today's media landscape," says CEO John Partilla. "We at Screenvision Media are maintaining the power of the enormous screen and, through a series of alliances, have the ability to engage this captive audience with a great, artful, immersive core offering. We are introducing additional elements in addition to the screen that extend our ability to touch customers during every moment of their movie-going journey."
Screenvision Media's initiative includes the ability to capture the time when moviegoers first read reviews, when they enter theater lobbies, when they see the pre-show entertainment as well as the movie and when they exit the theaters, all via cross-platform interactions. Many of these touchpoints can be branded according to Katy Loria, Executive Vice President, Chief Revenue Officer, with the additional advertising dollars coming from other media. "Screenvision Media has evolved over the past several years," she says. "There are now more platforms for brands to take advantage of by relocating TV dollars to cinema to help offset TV erosion. Cinema is a true enhancement for TV prime."
John McCauley, CMO, Executive Vice President Strategic Alliances, showcased the actual offering at Screenvision Media's Upfront event. "There are larger appetites for brands to tell their story on the big screen," McCauley says. "At Screenvision Media we have connected the cinema journey through technology alliances that connect brands organically. One such alliance is with Movietickets.com that introduces the brand in the movie ticket sales and movie search and discovery experience cycle, as well as adds the related network of Hollywood.com, the exclusive ad sales representation for Movietickets.com. Then there is TimePlay that turns the cinema experience into a smart screen using the mobile phone of the moviegoer to interact with the screen through branching video, trivia and other interactive games that can influence what they see." This capability is currently available in Canada; Screenvision Media is bringing this technology to the United States as part of this initiative.
"We have another alliance, and that is with Shazam in the movie space," McCauley revealed. "We are working with them on enhanced audio and visual recognition capabilities, as well as elevated branded content offerings. We also are announcing a virtual movie gift shop through EdisonX where you can shop for movie related items from the moment of impulse with an integrated shopping platform. So we are integrating technology before, during and after the movie experience and integrating brands within that consumer journey."
There is also a creative initiative: new hire Sir John Hegarty will serve as Creative Chair in Residence at Screenvision Media. Hegarty's efforts are anticipated to increase the power of the cinema screen by creating opportunities for brands to work on their stories on the big screen. That effort, along with Screenvision Media's in-house creative studio, 40 Foot Solutions, is focused on developing branded content, as well as creating graphics and animation packages that amplify a brand's presence in Screenvision Media's new Front & Center pre-show.
"We are developing a new original pilot series," McCauley confided. "It has five characters written in and the sixth character will be a brand, as they will be able to influence plotlines and integrate within the show. The stories will roll out into two to three minute episodes and we will weave brands into each episode."
Even measurement is advancing. Screenvision Media now has an alliance with comScore that matches the relationship with ticket purchasing behavior with sales. They are also working with comScore (formerly Rentrak) to develop a planning and attribution tool that will provide details up to a specific movie and movie genres -- a planning tool with backend analytics. They are also using comScore box office data which will connect to that platform. All this in addition to current Nielsen measurement which is now delivered via a new tool call Total Media Fusion. "This service offers a total view of all media, now including cinema," McCauley said. "This enables us to see what the impact is when we reallocate other media to cinema and see the incremental reach."
From the start of the consumers' cinematic journey to the end, it looks like the fusion of technology and creativity will help keep the appetite for movie going strong for both the consumer and the brands. Screenvision Media is poised to take advantage of all of these opportunities.
The opinions and points of view expressed in this commentary are exclusively the views of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of MediaVillage.com/MyersBizNet, Inc. management or associated bloggers.