For anyone with one foot in tech and the other in entertainment, 2023 was truly an eventful year.
While ChatGPT came out in late 2022, one could argue that 2023 was the year of generative AI. And it was the year of gaming and immersive platforms. It was the year of reignition for movie theaters after the pandemic. And it was the year of the first double-strike in Hollywood since 1960.
Most of all (maybe), it was the year of Taylor Swift as her world tour grossed north of $1 billion and the tour movie generated another $250 million.
Like I said, eventful.
We’re leaving 2023 behind and opening the book on 2024.
So, now what?
First of all, I’m optimistic about the opportunities ahead for our industry. The cinematic experience will continue to be an unmatched way to experience stories. The cinemas’ unique combination of experiential, technical, and social qualities is as valuable as ever.
Yet, the world does change. And so we have to be agile and attentive. So that we can adjust and change with it.
There are at least three avenues of change that we should keep an intent eye on which I want to highlight today:
The Right Product for The Right Crowd
Cinemas can (and should) find ways to enrich the core content (movies), wrapping it into a valuable experience for moviegoers. However, the core content is still crucial.
Reports from the US indicate that the 2023 box office will end at ≈20% less than 2019. We’re seeing the same pattern in aggregate data from cinemas on the DX platform.
However, on a per-title basis, our data suggests that we’re already back at 2019 levels. So, the aggregate gap between pre and post-pandemic is more likely explained by the reduced volume of available content/title rather than general audience interest in the cinematic experience.
This is also worth being mindful of as we’ve entered a year likely to see the second-order effects of the previous years’ double-strike.
In 2023 we also saw signals of superhero-stagnation when several movies from such franchises underperformed predecessors. Some of these franchises may be due for reboots.
It’s also important that we as an industry are attentive to how preference and cultural relevance shift as we seek to attract new generations of moviegoers. We’re seeing early signs of the studios shifting their story sourcing with the increased movie-fication of gaming IP.
Speaking of gaming…
Understanding shifting consumer behaviours
Online games and game-like platforms continued to see user growth through all of 2023. Roblox and Fortnite are two platforms at the forefront of this generational shift towards experiencing the internet as a 3D space, not as 2D websites.
In 2024 we’ll see these platforms move even further from “game” to “online destination” by introducing new content formats and commerce.
Why does this matter for cinemas?
Because we have to market out products to our audiences where they are. Like different social media platforms have become important to the marketing mix over the years, the right presence on immersive online platforms will also become a part of it.
From a marketing perspective, this is one of the avenues we’re looking to explore and experiment with in 2024.
Embracing the opportunities of technology
Any summary of 2023 would be incomplete without mentioning AI. Most people heard about ChatGPT last year. Some probably tested it. And a few have even found ways to incorporate it into their daily workflows.
At DX we believe the innovative power of generative AI stretches beyond that, and we’re already looking into how this innovation provide ways to enhance the operational tools you use to run your cinema, but also how the technology alters the software itself on a deeper level.
Stay tuned for more.
P.S. If you're interested in following interesting projects in the space of tech innovation and the cinema industry, we've created a space where we curate content on such topics.