The rise of TV decimated cinema audiences but in recent years it has recovered, gaining new strength and clarity in its role. As such, it still warrants a place in the media mix. In particular, cinema aligns well with TV advertising. A trip to the cinema is both a financial and social investment for people; a positive experience and environment where people are more emotionally engaged, and receptive to advertising.


Cinema is a media channel that enables marketers to reach audiences in a distraction-free environment where films are shown for public consumption.

Key insights

1. Cinema audiences and cinema advertising are very healthy, driven by China

Investment in cinema advertising is set to rise for the sixth consecutive year, to a total of $4.6bn worldwide. Further, the projected growth of 6.8% is ahead of WARC’s all-media forecast of 4.6%, behind only internet advertising (+13.2%). This means that, on current trends, cinema will be the only ad medium other than internet not to lose share of global advertising spend in 2019. Cinema admissions in the UK reached a record high in 2018, at 177 million. North American admissions were up 5% to 1.6 billion, according to the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), while the UNIC recorded a similar footfall (1.3 billion) in Europe in 2018. However, China is the real growth engine as admissions rose by almost 6% to 1.72 billion in 2018. Further, IHS figures suggest that the number of cinema screens in China increased by 9,303 in 2018 alone, or 26 per day on average. PwC believes that China will become the largest cinema market in 2020, with box office receipts totalling $12.3bn – ahead of the US on $11.9bn. It is already the largest cinema ad market, ahead of the US.