Movies cast light in recessionary gloom

Peter Field

As the economic doom and gloom intensifies, it is perhaps time for an escapist trip to the cinema – which is exactly what many consumers do in recessions.

During the 1991 recession, when consumer spending as a whole was declining by 1.6% in real terms, UK cinema admissions rose by 4.3% – an acceleration of the previous year's growth of less than 1%. So far this year, the pattern looks set to repeat itself, with admissions in July representing the second-highest month on record.

Cinema is truly counter-cyclical – not just in the sense of audience numbers, but also in the role it plays as an affordable cheer-up treat during gloomy times. So now is a good time to consider cinema and examine what can be learnt from the case studies of success in the WARC archive about how best to use the medium.