Operator Spotlight: How Vega Scene is Transforming the Cinema Experience

October 25, 2023
The DX Team
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Cinema: Vega Scene

Location: Oslo, Norway

Weekly Screenings: Between 90 and 100 screenings per week.

Yearly Admissions: Just under 99,567 in 2022, with an ambitious goal to surpass 100,000 in 2023.

DX Adoption: Vega Scene started using DX right from its opening in 2018.

Favorite Part of Working With DX

  • Truls: The cinema programming feature. It’s really easy to use, very flexible, and easy to plan for the whole house (theater and cinema)
  • Ragnhild: Loves reporting, uses it daily for insights.

In cinema, where storytelling meets spectacle, there are individuals working tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure every moviegoer has a seamless and unforgettable experience. These unsung heroes are the cinema operators, creative minds, and strategists who take the cinema experience to another level. 

We had the pleasure of interviewing two film aficionados from Vega Scene, a cinema and theater in Oslo, Norway. Meet Ragnhild Pedersen, Marketing and programadvisor, and Truls Foss, Head of Program, as they shed light on their dynamic roles, the growth story of Vega Scene, and how DX has been instrumental for their operations.

Behind the Curtains: Meet Ragnhild and Truls

Ragnhild Pedersen joined Vega Scene in 2021, initially stepping in as Head of Communications. However, her role soon evolved to include marketing and operational responsibilities for both the cinema and theater. Ragnhild's journey into cinema began with a passion for film, leading her to volunteer in film clubs and production before transitioning to theater work. A chance dinner conversation with a friend led her to Vega Scene, where she now oversees not only cinema operations but also the cinema's streaming service and website.

On the other hand, Truls Foss started his cinema journey through an unconventional path. He studied film and television in Norway and wrote his thesis in Copenhagen. During this time, Truls dabbled in various film-related activities, including writing for a Norwegian critic's magazine. Upon returning to Oslo, he embarked on a career in retail. Still, he continued freelancing in the film industry, ultimately leading him to Vega Scene as the Head of Program. While he didn't have direct experience in cinema management, Truls' deep-rooted desire to grow the independent and art house cinema scene in Norway propelled him into this role at the young age of 29 — something not so often seen in the industry.

Vega Scene: The birth of a cultural landmark

Vega Scene, a cinema and theater complex in Oslo, opened its doors on 2 November 2018. However, the journey to establish a cinema like Vega Scene in Oslo began much earlier, with the relentless efforts of Unnur Sande since the early '90s. Unnur's dedication to the industry played a pivotal role in bringing this cultural hub to life.

Vega Scene, Oslo - photo by Johnny Vaet Nordskog

But Vega Scene's identity isn't confined to just cinema; it's also a thriving theater. With Ida Hauge Johannessen at the helm of marketing from its start, the team doesn't dwell on pre-COVID times since the cinema's opening coincided with the pandemic. Instead, they focus on adapting to the ever-changing industry landscape and evolving customer behaviors.

As you can already tell, there is a small, but strong team that continues to shape Vega Scene’s identity as a space for cinema, theatre, and more.

Not your typical art house cinema

From the beginning, and especially during their first year, the team at Vega Scene tried a lot of things to better understand who their audience is and what works best for them, as they were establishing their identity. It’s just like a coming-of-age story, Ragnhild and Truls say. 

Cinema audiences in front of Vega Scene - photo by Oslo Pix

One experiment that worked? Transforming Mondays at the cinema with a special price - discounted, of course. They went from 50 tickets sold to more than 600 over the years, as they realised this idea was a winner. 

Another? They built their own streaming service, so moviegoers can rent or buy films from them, bringing Vega Scene into their homes.

From community building to audience engagement, the team continues to develop a distinct identity for what Vega Scene stands for — and that makes them power great experiences.

Cinema event at Vega Scene - photo by Oslo Pix

We’re excited that we were there with them, from the start: 

DX: The Digital Transformation Catalyst

Programming made easy

Truls fondly recalls the first encounter with DX when someone from the team arrived to assist. While there were initial hiccups with the setup, the solution quickly became indispensable to Vega Scene's operations. One of the standout features is the cinema programming tool, which Truls uses extensively. It allows him to seamlessly plan screenings and events for the cinema and around the house, while not colliding with the theatre shows. Especially when working with film festivals.

In fact, as a sidenote, he also says that one thing he would’ve liked to know when he was getting started is that if you do something wrong when it comes to the data server, it’s not that bad, certainly not the end of the world.

With the new DX cloud-based solution it’s even safer.

Customer-centric reporting

For Ragnhild, DX's reporting capabilities are a highlight. She relies on these reports daily to analyse customer trends and make informed decisions. Integrating DX with the Report Server in Norway facilitates collaboration and enhances efficiency, making their job significantly easier.

Flexibility and trust with the right support

Both Ragnhild and Truls appreciate the flexibility DX offers. They trust the platform to be open and accommodating, allowing them to make necessary adjustments without hesitation. When they add a film to the system, it becomes accessible to all users, which they find incredibly valuable.

Vega Scene's success story with DX isn't tied to a singular moment but rather a continuous journey. Ragnhild and Truls emphasise their appreciation for DX's customer support, citing that they receive immediate assistance whenever they have a question. 

The ability to collaborate with short filmmakers for audience development is a shining example of how DX empowers its initiatives. Due to seamless integrations, they can easily experiment with diverse content and bring more audiences at the cinema. This partnership with independent short filmmakers not only fosters community engagement but also makes Vega Scene a true cultural hub.

Kiosk view at Vega Scene - photo by Johnny Vaet Nordskog

Challenges and ambitions

Every journey comes with its challenges, and Vega Scene is no exception. With a focus on driving growth, Truls and Ragnhild wish for more flexibility in supporting multiple sales at a time and integrating loyalty programs, coupons, or merchandise sales — tactics that foster the cinema business to thrive, while keeping their customers happy.

As with every story, there’s always a new obstacle to surpass and we’re thrilled to uncover what’s next as we continue down the road together.

Wrapping up the Show: Vega Scene Key Takeaways

As we conclude our behind-the-scenes look at Vega Scene and the integral role that DX plays in their operations, it's clear that cinema operators like Ragnhild and Truls are the movie industry's “unseen heroes”. Their passion for film and commitment to creating exceptional experiences for their audience is truly inspiring.

If there’s one thing to learn from their story so far, it’s that daring to experiment, both with diverse ideas and the right technology, and learn from your community will help you find your way — while building even more trust with that community.

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