Switching your cinema management solution is hard. Here are 5 critical factors to consider

November 13, 2023
The DX Team
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“Cinema operations” is not an easy or fluid process. It’s not even one single thing. There are many moving parts which need separate attention and care. And not all cinema management solutions are created equal. 

In fact, if we look at the cinema operations tech landscape now, we identify some of the following patterns:

  • Some cinema management solutions weren’t designed with a cinema’s workflows in mind
  • Some solutions are just ticketing solutions
  • Some solutions are actually event management solutions
  • Some solutions don’t support reporting and/or require a lot of manual work to get your mandatory reports in order
  • Some solutions only cover parts of your cinema operations, so you need at least 2 or 3 to run your cinema website, your film programming, your online sales, and your sales at the cinema 

Looking at it as a busy cinema owner or manager, of course, you’d feel the pain and hassle and prefer to do most of it manually, so you’re in control — not to mention having to troubleshoot so many parts or use multiple tools at the same time.

When we’re looking at it, at DX, we see an opportunity to get rid of the problems arising from too much complexity, “good enough” manual work, improvised tools, or too many tools and systems to do the job. So we’ve designed a cinema management solution that covers the whole cinema journey, with seamless integration from start to finish — so you have everything critical in one place and can get back the time, resources, and energy you need to power great experiences. Today and in the future, too.

We’ve also gathered the main questions and objections we’ve heard in the last few years from our many conversations with cinema operators: to help you better evaluate your current cinema management setup and decide what’s next. 

And, of course, to explain how we approach things in DX:

Fear of disruption: “I’ve been using the same solution for a long time and it’s working for me and my staff”

There is the old adage that asks why fix it if it isn’t broken. There’s truth to that, of course, and it might be the case that your current setup is working for you just fine. 

It might also be the case that you’re feeling like something is missing or there are relevant things to improve. If what has kept you from exploring the market until now was the concern that switching to a new system would disrupt your cinema workflows, then it’s time to look at your setup from a different perspective.

Let’s unpack it for a minute!

Important to clarify:

  • What kind of disruption are you expecting from switching to a different cinema management solution?
  • The implications that there will be disruptions and the extent of those disruptions for your cinema business

Operational disruptions: this usually means downtime which can translate into loss of revenue and unhappy customers.

This might have been the case in the past, but DX is cloud-native, which means you don’t have to worry about servers and other local infrastructure that might need a long setup time. This also means that, if needed, we can rollout the solution incrementally, so we ensure your operational flow is minimally affected. 

And, if you’re worried about losing your data, you should know that we have personalized onboarding and support, who are with you from day 1 — and that includes handling data migration based on your current setup or provider.

Staff disruptions: steep learning curve for the cinema staff which implies slower service, more errors, the potential of lost revenue, and unhappy customers.

We’ve designed DX with reducing cognitive load in mind. What do we mean by that? Using the best practices and standards of user experience to deliver a product that is intuitive, easy to use, and has a clean, straightforward interface. 

A clean, intuitive interface — the DX solution

Now, you might be thinking — so what? Why does it matter that you have a next-gen look and feel? According to the Nielsen Norman Group, our brain processing power is limited. By respecting usability standards and familiar patterns for cinema workflows, we reduce the time needed to “get used” to a new platform. Time you get back so you can focus on creative strategies for your moviegoers.

And, as already stated above, we also have dedicated onboarding specialists, so you’re not learning on your own.   

Hidden costs and ROI: “How do I know what I’m paying for?”

Pricing is always a complicated affair. Especially in our industry, where there are many parties involved across the chain — from payment processors to gift card and voucher providers or equipment rentals.

Important to clarify

  • Do you know all that you’re currently paying for when it comes to your cinema operations tool(s)? 
  • Do you know what types of intermediary fees you have to support? 
  • Do you know all the payment processing fees you have to support, upfront? 
  • Are you using all that you’re currently paying for? *Both in terms of features and tech stack
  • Are there any fees required for system updates?

If you’re not sure how to answer any of these questions, then it’s time for an audit of your current cinema tech setup and finding the answers from your current provider(s).

Because we want to make it easier for you, our prices scale with you — so you always know your expenses based on your current business volume (transactions). Being a SaaS model and offering an integrated software-hardware platform comes with this main benefit. 

The other? We believe all fees should be transparent, so here are ours:

  • A transaction fee that varies depending on what you sell
  • A monthly subscription fee dependent on the number of POS devices your cinema needs
  • Payment processing fees, including security and fraud detection features supported in your subscription (we pay for these)
  • Optional: additional equipment fees you can choose to rent or acquire from us

Because DX is a cloud-native SaaS, that also means you get continuous software updates and system maintenance at no extra cost.

Not right for my cinema (business/size): “Looks like an expensive solution / Looks more like a solution for a chain”

Looks aren’t a criteria for pricing, but a criteria of being adapted to efficiency, usability, and digital-first best practices. 

But if you’re referring to DX covering the whole cinema journey with planning, scheduling, selling tickets online, POS, concessions management, and reporting – then is it that you don’t need all of it or that you’re concerned about the price tag associated with such a platform (due to its perceived complexity)?

Important to clarify

When you unpack this concern, you should also ask yourself:

  • Do I have a solution designed for a cinema’s needs?
  • Do I have a solution with many features I don’t use or plan to use? In other words: am I wasting resources?
  • Do I feel Excel and manual work do a better job for my current business volume?
  • Do I compromise on parts of my cinema operations so it’s cost-effective?

We’ve heard many of these questions in our over 25 years of experience in the cinema industry. Let’s come back to our pricing model as a SaaS company: pay as you grow also implies you can upgrade or downgrade your consumption based on your current business needs. 

DX dashboard prototype view

We’ve built our platform with scale in mind — from the infrastructure, to the user experience, to the operational flows we know you follow. That offers you all the flexibility you need from the start without having to worry that you’re paying too much or that you’re getting features you don’t need. That’s the fault of “all-size-fits-all” solutions and we’re not that.

Compatibility issues with my current setup: “I need more investments to use your tool”

We’ve touched on the software-hardware aspect of it, but let’s dig even deeper. Because it’s not just a matter of new equipment acquisition and budget, but you might be worried about the hardware itself and its usage.

Important to clarify

  • How old is my current hardware?
  • Is it working seamlessly with my current cinema software? 
  • Do I need to pay for each new system upgrade?
  • Is my POS integrated with other systems I need?

As you already know, there are many hidden costs and needs associated with the hardware aspect of cinema operations management. We believe that for a technology to be successful, the hardware and software need to be integrated. That also means we provide the full package. 

If you’re familiar with Apple products, you know they’re stable, user-friendly, and mostly error-free when it comes to their hardware because the company has control over the full product experience. That’s also our vision. We want to future-proof our solution, so we future-proof you — you’ll always have an up to date cinema management system, working at peak parameters, because we’ve been intentional about it. 

Yes, that means you will have to switch your hardware setup and have an upfront cost, but that also means better ROI in the mid and long-term, because you have it all in one place: maintenance, support, and updates.

Timing: “I’ve just invested in a new system”

If you’ve just been through the nerve-wracking decisional process of choosing or switching to a new vendor, then you’re probably not in a hurry to start again anytime soon.

This is a done deal, right? Why are we even exploring this objection?

Well, there’s no such thing as a permanent decision when it comes to technology. At the rapid pace that it’s evolving, you need to keep your critical hat always on. 

Important to clarify

  • As with everything in business, there’s a trial period — even an unofficial one. Are you and your team still satisfied with the value? Is the promise met?
  • Are you locked in a contract?
  • Are there any unmet business needs left? Can you tackle it now?

If you’re locked in a contract, there’s not much you can do at this point. Other than, of course, keeping the pulse of the market or even exploring complementary solutions. At DX we believe in constantly communicating our product development journey, so you’re in the know.

Even if you choose to learn more about us or not, even if you explore how we can complement your current cinema tech stack or not, don’t forget to do your due diligence periodically. The market is quickly changing and being ahead in terms of the tech you use is a competitive advantage in itself. Both your staff and your moviegoers will thank you for it. 

What other objections do you want us to explore?

If you’re interested to know more about what DX can do for your cinema, our business development team is always happy to help. Contact them using this form.

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