Key takeaways from CineEurope 2023

June 26, 2023
The DX Team
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It’s been a most productive and inspiring week at CineEurope for the cinema industry. 

And our DX team was excited to be a part of it! 

We went full speed ahead, with our CEO, business development, and marketing teams immersing themselves in conversations with cinema operators in our priority markets (yes, we have exciting plans for the autumn!), meeting our DX clients and community, and deep diving into the latest cinema topics.

So, as we usually like to do after joining a cinema convention, let’s pause and reflect on key takeaways from a diversity of panels and interactions across the cinema value chain, with a focus on:

  • Creating premium, immersive cinema and cinema going experiences
  • A need to appeal to younger audiences in a digital native way
  • Sustainability practices 
  • Staffing challenges and how to attract new talent
  • Emergent technologies and how to leverage them for the cinema industry

But let’s dive in!

The need for experiential cinema is greater than ever

We, as creators, are responsible for making great experiences for moviegoers — pointed J. A. Bayona, Spanish film director (The Orphanage, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, LOTR: The Rings of Power) and guest of honor at the executive roundtable on “Engaging Audiences & The Future of the Theatre Industry”.

This point was echoed in multiple ways throughout the rest of CineEurope, as all marketing-focused panels highlighted a need for creating a real, authentic, immersive connection with the audience:

Lucy Jones, Executive Director at Comscore Movies, shared data that reconfirms a preference for short-form video and fan-generated content when it comes to film audiences, especially the younger ones.

Relevance is the new reach, she continued, as cinema marketing needs to happen where the targeted moviegoers spend their time. Just take a look at the table below and see how that differs based on demographics and film preferences:

Lucy Jones, Comscore

Eddy Duquenne, CEO of Kinepolis (650 screens globally), doubled down on personalized experience with active programming — not passively scheduling what distributors have in store, but actively curating films for your cinema according to your flavour and what your local audiences want. He also challenged the cinema professionals to think beyond “content” — in a world of subscriptions, it is experience and trust that build value for your cinema.

And that experience doens’t stop in the cinema auditorium. 

During UNIC’s Marketing group, even more data poured in to support the next step in cinema engagement: not just digital-first, but seamless experience, sometimes even platform agnostic. Greta D’Este-Donelan, Director of Entertainment at Generation Media, said it best: new audiences want to be disrupted, but not interrupted. It’s all about offering the right content at the right time and making it look like a continuous experience:

Generation Media data insights

There’s a new total addressable market to unlock, added The Boxoffice Company with more and more successful boutique cinemas and family entertainment centres being developed across Europe. 

Sustainability is a “must” for cinemas, going forward

Go green or… go home read another slide title of The Boxoffice Company’s key marketing trends in 2023. Well, it’s not just a question of good marketing, but of value-based decision making for younger audiences and waste and cost efficiency for cinemas. 

As we have written before in our UKCA 2023 takeaways and our in-depth piece on where to start with cinema sustainability, this is something we care deeply about as building with sustainability at the heart of everything is building for a lasting future.

That was echoed across the panel on “What’s Next? Trends and New Technologies

Transforming the Cinema Experience” as Jan Rasmussen, Head of Screen Technology at Nordisk Film Cinemas, highlighted a need for true innovation when it comes to cinema technology — one that includes product design with integrated eco-friendly and sustainable principles.

For instance, a good example of sustainable technology from the get go is the modular approach presented by InventaCinema — low-carbon, net zero, with a possibility to attach the modular parts to existing cinemas as well (like they did for London’s Phoenix East Finchley).

Or, as was also exemplified during CineEurope itself, what The Coca Cola Company is doing with their reusable packaging. A couple of insights remained on our mind:

  • The Kinopolis case study: Together with Coca Cola, they created a system where “cup rescuers” make sure that people don’t take their reusable cups home and sustain the circular system — and have around 1.3 million cups in there already. Overall, Kinopolis avoid 70 tons of waste per year due to green practices such as this one.
  • Reusables are not only better in terms of CO2 footprint than recyclable singe use packages, but they are more cost effective
  • 66% of Gen Zs are focused on ethical consumption

It’s all about the personal, the connected, the meaning 

To add to the previous sections, there were two more panels that fueled our future-focused minds at DX —  Coca Cola’s keynote on “Engaging the Young Adult Audience” and the ICTA powered seminar on “How Can Cinemas Prepare For the Next Wave of Marketing Innovations: Social, AI and AR”. 

Here are some insights you should consider when choosing your technology and channels for new audiences:

  • Envisioning a future where cinema tickets are sold through immersive gaming experiences like Roblox or Fortnite. We even found out from one member of our community that TikTok is also trialling this with their Showtimes on TikTok for movie studios (thanks, Emma!)
  • The 5 key trends this year for youngsters: ephemeral content, chatbots, micro-influencers, social shopping, and #TikTok
  • 87% of Gen Z say they pay attention to a brand’s ethic before buying from them. When keeping up to date with environmental commitments, 48% turn to the brand’s social media and 28% turn to the brand’s website. 
  • Industry dynamics in the US: rapid recovery of away from home experiences powered by Gen Z.
  • The gaming industry is flourishing as they capture the personal and the immersive (among other things) - it is probably time to think how to translate that to the cinema industry side. As we’ve also talked in our latest DX Talks episode, there’s a lot of potential with fan energy and fan engagement.

All in all, it was a packed CineEurope and we could feel the optimism returning in our industry. We still have more work to do, as shown above, but the opportunities are there — it’s a matter of creatively engaging with them! 

But, before we let you reflect on what we’ve shared, we also gathered some good resources for you — from the thoughtful speakers:

CineEurope resources you should check

  1. The UNIC Annual Report for 2023 is live and will offer you great insight into the state of the European cinema.
  2. Comscore’s latest data on European cinema box office, consumption, performance trends.
  3. UNIC’s recently launched People Programme focused on bridging the gap between the cinema industry’s needs and the challenges it faces when it comes to attracting the right talent. 
  4. UNIC's 7th edition of the Women’s Cinema Leadership programme also launched.

If you want to stay updated on all things cinema and technology, you can follow us on LinkedIn and subscribe to our newsletter.

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