Operator Spotlight: How Carl Gustav Pettersson Encourages Cultural Exchange Through Cinema

September 18, 2023
The DX Team
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Cinema: Söderköpings Bio

Location: Söderköping, Sweden

Cinema Operator: Carl Gustav Pettersson

Number of Weekly Screenings: 3 (18:30 on Wednesdays, 15:00 and 18:30 on Sundays), 1 special screening every 2nd Wednesday, and daily screenings during school holidays.

Yearly Admissions: 5,000

Started Using DX: 2022

Favorite Part of Working With DX: Customer Support. DX's customer support handles issues on time with the drive to solve Carl Gustav’s problems.

For today’s spotlight, we had the pleasure of conversing with Carl Gustav Pettersson (main image credits - Yvonne Bäckstedt)

CG didn’t always work behind the silver screen. In fact, he started his career in the theatre industry. Now, CG is leveraging his three decades’ worth of theatre experience to bring people together through a different kind of shared experience: the cinema.

But CG also has a wealth of experience to inform his cinema management style. He sports a Master's in International Economics, while also being fond of languages and how they relate to people and community building. Besides being a native Swedish speaker, CG is also fluent in French and English.

Moreover, another of CG’s personal attributes is a focus on health, which makes him strive to evolve and move constantly — contributing to health issues is contributing to social issues, after all. 

All these aspects and his wide handle of skills and interest are his main drivers to answering: “Why cinema?” 

But let’s start at the beginning.

Everything stems from the pandemic. In his hometown of Söderköping, a small Swedish municipality with roughly 14,000 inhabitants, COVID-19 caused the only local cinema to shut its doors. But after a year and a half, the community decided to reopen the cinema, with CG stepping up to helm the operations. There were many problems to solve and that fueled his motivation to take over.

A look inside Söderköpings Bio (photo credits: Daniel Serander)

So what are CG’s goals regarding Söderköpings Bio cinema now? 

He mainly strives to use the cinema as an opportunity to unite the community. Currently, the cinema averages 5,000 yearly visitors, with this year looking to breach the 7,000 mark.

Söderköpings Bio - Auditorium (photo credits: Daniel Serander)

Bringing Cinema Management to the Future With DX

CG wears many hats while running Söderköpings Bio. On the odd day, he has a handful of assistants to help with the cinema’s daily operations. But for the most part, it’s a one-man show— he handles every management and operational task himself.

Luckily, he welcomes a good challenge. Some of his favorite daily tasks revolve around the very practical duties of running an entertainment facility, like reaching out to industry contacts, or something as “simple” as buying a new popcorn machine.

A selection of available concessions at Söderköpings Bio (photo credits: Daniel Serander)

Leveraging DX to Enhance the Customer Experience

While addressing all the undercover operations of cinema management might be among CG’s favourite tasks, the real highlight of his day is when he sees a smile on a cinemagoer’s face. And since incorporating DX into his cinema management strategy, CG has been able to focus on that more and more.

For solo operators like CG, this is a game-changer. It allows him to maintain a personal touch when communicating with his small (but loyal) audience, without eating up hours of his valuable time. Of course, this is just the beginning of his journey with the DX solution and he feels optimistic about getting to use more of it, as the onboarding process continues and our company establishes its footing in the Swedish cinema landscape.

CG and the Söderköpings Bio box office (photo credits: Daniel Serander)

Customer Support

One of CG’s favourite features of DX is its customer service response system. DX’s customer support solution provides speedy issue addressing without relying on automated responses. Whenever he submits a support ticket, the system immediately forwards the ticket to one of DX’s customer support agents, who reach out to customers ASAP on cinema operators’ behalf.

That way, CG gets to put out fires before they get out of hand. With the help of DX, dealing with day-to-day issues doesn’t take too much time, giving him the opportunity to focus on the important things—providing new customer experiences.

Bringing the Cinema Experience Online 

Another way CG is leveraging the moviegoing experience, is bringing the mobile optimisation advantages to his cinema.

Before starting with our solution, his cinema had an established digital presence and website, but no online booking option. 

But all of that changed when CG brought DX on board, along with its easy-to-use online ticket purchasing platform. Because of the friendly booking process, online ticket purchasing makes it another convenient way for his cinema patrons to enjoy their experience. And removing those barriers to sale has made an impact in his business. 

As a result of all the changes he has brought since joining the cinema, Söderköpings Bio is on par to reach 7,000 bookings this year - a 40% increase from 2022.

Suffice to say, the convenience factor of DX is instrumental for reaching CG’s goals. By removing barriers to attending the cinema, it promotes a better customer experience and enables him to bring more people together.

Behind the "operating" scenes with CG (photo credits: Daniel Serander)

Not Just “Cinema”, A Communal Experience

Throughout all the complexities of managing a cinema, CG still hasn’t lost sight of his goal: bringing the local community together. He doesn’t see Söderköpings Bio as just a cinema, but an opportunity for the people of Söderköping to socialise, experience the joy of film, and more.

In fact, he says that plans are already in motion to use Söderköpings Bio as a community center. For instance, the Söderköping community has already contacted him to sponsor community events, so they’re exploring ways to do so together.

CG constantly finds ways to encourage community interactions through cinema. For one, every second Wednesday, Söderköpings Bio hosts a “daily cinema” to provide more opportunities for the community to enjoy a day at the cinema during their day off.

On top of that, during some school holidays CG hosts daily special screenings to allow students to take a load off, gather with their friends, and enjoy their time at the cinema.

CG plans to use Söderköpings Bio as a gathering spot for the community rather than a mere business venture. So far, he’s accomplished his goal with the help of DX’s convenience features. 

With the online booking functionality, CG eliminates one barrier that keeps potential customers away from Söderköpings Bio. Even better, online ticket purchasing removes the hassle of waiting in lines and the inconvenience of missing out on the seats you want. 

Plus, the customer service response system DX offers helps him build and maintain strong relationships with his customers, 24/7.

CG’s plans to elevate Söderköpings Bio from a movie theater to a pillar of the local community are well underway, and DX is helping him achieve that dream.

Söderköpings Bio: The Takeaways

CG’s story reminds us that a cinema isn’t just a place for people to enjoy the latest blockbusters or indulge in escapism, but a place to enjoy communal experiences. Söderköpings Bio provides its patrons with the context of going beyond “just watching a film” and that shows in their results and popularity.

His vision for Söderköpings Bio is a role model for how other local cinemas can foster a sense of togetherness through:

  • Community Engagement - Discovering opportunities to create bonding events. For instance, Söderköpings Bio special daily screenings which take place during school holidays.
  • A “Customer First” Mindset - Providing convenience systems to allow cinema patrons to enjoy the visit better.
  • Looking Beyond Movies - Involving the community in events other than another day at the movies.

Söderköpings Bio isn’t your traditional movie house. It’s shaping up to be a communal focal point for building relationships and fostering cultural exchanges.

We’re a proud partner of Carl Gustav Pettersson and Söderköpings Bio. If you want to learn more about DX and how it’s changing cinema management, subscribe to our blog.

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