Cinema faces a double challenge in wooing back film fans, needing to reassure them about safety as the COVID-19 threat lingers and to persuade them that the out-of-home experience on offer is preferable to paying to view a movie premiere in their own living room.

It’s a dramatic turnaround for an activity that Kantar research from 2019 showed was the most popular form of out-of-home entertainment among UK consumers: 80% of respondents to its TGI study went to the cinema at least once a year, and 21% at least once a month.

To put this into context, the next most popular form of entertainment, plays, was attended by 32% of the population annually and 6% monthly or more.

With almost all out-of-home entertainment unavailable during the past three months, consumers have been forced to find alternatives and substitutes, Kantar UK’s chief growth officer Jane Bloomfield told a recent webinar that offered advice specifically to this sector.

“What we have to try and do is break some of those habits, and we have to encourage people to come back and join us,” she said. “We have to cause consumers to re-evaluate what leisure and entertainment means for them.”

Since it’s not possible to simply rip everything up and start again, “what you do need to understand is that, as long as the depth and length of the disruption continues, how much flex to have within your business either to restructure or shift your model,” she advised.

To lure consumers back into cinemas, Kantar recommends brands focus on three areas:

• Communications: offering reassurance of the safety of cinemas and reminding people why they love going there.

• Customer experience: explore a fresh approach to partnerships and packaging to address safety issues around open cartons of popcorn and pick ‘n’ mix confectionery, for example.

• Innovation: consider things like open-air screenings during the summer months, or offer private bookings for groups of consumers.

“There are green shoots,” Bloomfield said. “Keep talking to consumers. They really haven’t forgotten you. They need a reminder as to how much they love you, and how much they will enjoy that big experience of live entertainment and when they come back to it.”

For more details on what actions out-of-home entertainment brands can take, read WARC’s report: How cinema can challenge the rise of in-home movie premieres.


Sourced from WARC