The rise of streaming services like Netflix, Disney Plus, and HBO Max has dramatically changed the cinema landscape and film watching behaviours.
As a cinema manager, you have the advantage of positioning your cinema at the core of that film watching need. This challenge is presenting a new opportunity: you’re not only bringing people together to see the latest movie — you’re selling a whole experience.
And how should you make sure you create the best possible experience? The short answer is: Data.
With access to big data, you can make informed decisions to improve your operations, from selecting movies to optimising pricing strategies and promotions.
Our data mission at DX is to empower you, as a cinema manager or cinema professional, do just that.
A purpose-built cinema software solution not only allows you to make more data-driven decisions, but helps you simplify your overall cinema management operations by seeing all of your essential data in one platform.
In this piece, we’re exploring 5 key benefits of using an integrated movie, tickets, and concession sales database that not only gives you access to audience and film performance analytics, but transforms your data into the assistant you need for better decisions:
- Enhancing the customer experience
- Optimising cinema operations
- Optimising personalization and segmentation
- Identifying key performance and usage trends
- Optimising promotion
Let’s take an in-depth look:
1. Enhance Customer Experience
While many expected a mass closure of theatres due to the pandemic, a report by the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) revealed that the number of screens worldwide has actually increased by 5.8% from 2019-2022.
The cinema industry is still very much alive, and you have an opportunity to leverage data to power great experiences.
One way to ensure that your moviegoers have that memorable experience is by understanding who your local customers are and their preferences when watching movies in theatres.
This is where aggregated data comes in, as it helps you:
- Tailor your offering to meet your audiences’ wants.
- Determine which movie genre has higher attendance among your audience.
- Figure out what kind of payment method they prefer when buying movie tickets.
- Discover why customers want to watch movies at home, and bring that experience to the cinema.
Once you have a better grasp of how your audience wants their experience to be when watching a movie in theatres, you can adjust your operations and offerings to cater to that need.
For example, once you’ve got your hands on this data, the next step is to search for relevant films that match your audience. A better way to do this is with a centralised movie database integrated into your cinema operations solution, where you can:
- Leverage discoverability: With an integrated movie database, you can discover new interesting films you could include in your monthly programming.
- Streamline updates: The database includes all the crucial film assets necessary to promote the film, so you won’t waste time updating your cinema’s website—you can automate it with data.
Not only will you save time and money, but you’ll also enhance the overall customer experience in your cinema. It’s a win-win solution for your business and its movie-loving audience.
2. Optimise Cinema Operations
Data analytics can help you optimise your cinema operations by:
- Analysing and predicting traffic at your cinema
- Optimising staffing
- Managing and organising your planning
Having access to an easy-to-use dashboard that enables you to visualise such key data, means you can organize your team more efficiently, and not waste resources or energy where it’s not necessary.
Moreover, you’ll be able to evaluate:
- What are the hourly trends for admission rates and your cinema traffic
- What are the daily trends for admission rates and your cinema traffic
- Types of movies correlated to cinema traffic
With such data at your disposal, you’ll not only manage your cinema resources, but know how to optimise your marketing efforts for more customer engagement.
Which leads us to the next benefit.
3. Optimise marketing and create better targeted campaigns
Your cinema is your best asset, and how do you effectively entice customers to choose your theatre among other options? Offer each group what they most want.
When you have a wealth of data at your fingertips, you can easily segment your audience and cater to their specific needs. You can base your groupings into:
- Demographics: like age group, gender, or location.
- Viewing habits: Know and divide your customers based on if they’re regular customers to your cinema, their preferred movie genre, if they only go to your cinema to watch a specific movie genre, or if they go to your cinema only to watch particular films.
- Visiting behaviour: Group your customers based on what day of the week they often go to the cinema, what time of the day they watch a movie, or how often they visit your cinema.
- Purchase behaviour: Segment your customers based on whether they prefer cash or cashless payment, paying discounted or regular price, or if they often pre-book their tickets or buy on the day.
- Preferred movie content: Categorise your customers based on their profiles. As an independent cinema, your audiences will probably expect you to know their niche film tastes.
All of this helps increase attendance and promote customer loyalty.
For example, if you have a new award-winning independent film to release, you can send its campaign materials to your customers who frequently book lesser-known, more artistic screenings. Or if you got a new scary movie coming up, you can send promotional ads to past moviegoers that watched horror films.
With the DX solution, we’re going one step ahead so you’ll also be able to assess:
- Admission rates and number of shows
- Average admission values
- Degree of coverage on the floor
- Average pre-sales values
- Distribution of sales channels
- Distribution of payment methods
- Concessions sales data
You’ll no longer have to wonder if your cinema is performing on par with the industry average or if your concessions offer is varied enough because you’ll have real-time data in your hands, both for your cinema, but also at a regional or national level.
With all that access, you’ll get to enhance the full customer journey experience, personalized and with the right offering based on tastes, discounts, movie genres, and many more.
4. Track key cinema going trends
The share of box office sales in the global movie industry increased from 36% in 2010 to 46% in 2020—meaning it’s eating into the share of TV and DVD.
And this remains the same today, more people still prefer watching box office movies in theatres rather than on a TV or laptop screen - great news for our cinema managers!
According to Gower Street, a leading analytics firm, the global box office revenue could reach $32 billion in 2023, higher than the initial projection of $29 billion. So, how do these global trends relate to aggregated data and your cinema?
By analyzing your cinema historical data, you’ll identify trends and patterns that can help predict future sales and ticket flows. That way, you know when to dedicate the right number of screens to the right movies at the right time to maximise attendance and revenue.
For instance, as an independent cinema, do you have the data to know if they’d prefer John Wick 4 or an Ari Aster special marathon night?
We’re working on a proof of concept that integrates such insights into the cinema management solution, so you know:
- How to optimise your film planning
- When to double down on certain films, promotions, or special events
Even more so, as we know that it’s usually the top 10 films at your cinema that provide most of the revenue, we plan on developing a data platform which assists you in identifying the right titles, and even suggests the best weekly scheduling — all AI-enhanced, so the data works for you.
We’re always focused on powering great experiences by helping you offer a smoother, more secure, and more stable cinema experience.
Because we are a cloud-based SaaS platform, our dedicated product team spends much time thinking about how cinemas (through its services) can create a deeper and more meaningful connection with their customers—giving them a reason to get out of the comfort of watching movies at home to having a better watching experience in a cinema.
5. Develop an effective Social Media Strategy
In this day and age, not having a social media presence could be detrimental to your business’ success. And creating a Facebook page or a TikTok account is just the first step—you need to get deeper into data analytics to truly harness its power (as cliché as it sounds).
The deeper you go, the more you can do social media marketing in a cost-effective way.
Given that online touch points are now an integral part of the whole moviegoer’s experience (from watching movie trailers and booking tickets to sharing their thoughts after watching a film), you must get online to meet them where they are.
And with data, you will know exactly where to find them, engage with them, and entice them to watch movies in your cinema. If you already know who your target audience is and what they like, thanks to the data you’re collecting from your cinema, you can easily find out:
- Who needs to hear about you, and who needs to be reminded. With data, you can both expand your reach and better engage existing customers. For example, you can target audiences for special screenings that meet their taste in movies. The best part? You don’t need a huge marketing budget if you can target segmented audiences with laser focus.
- See what sales channels work best. Our past data showed that 90% of all transactions across 100 cinemas in Norway were paid by credit card. Which means, it’s probably better for movie theatres to offer cashless payment to moviegoers. If you have the data on the purchasing behaviors of each audience segment, you can allocate the appropriate funds to each sales point. And even optimise your pricing.
- Find out where customers are talking about your cinema. For instance, if you noticed that they post movie reviews on TikTok after watching, engage with their TikTok videos. Then create content for your cinema’s TikTok account, too, so you continue the interaction. Doing these things requires man hours, but customers engage two times (or more) when they’re emotionally connected to a business, leading to increased sales, customer loyalty, and better retention.
These are just a few examples of how you can leverage social media to your advantage.
That’s why, our product team is working on discovering the most effective ways to help you better segment your audience and promote your film and events offering, while automating such marketing efforts.
In the end, the 5 key benefits explored in our article are just the start in our data-focused mission.
Through aggregated data, you can gain insights into your customers' preferences and behaviours and enhance the overall movie experience—from selecting a showtime to purchasing to watching the movie itself. You can also grow efficiency throughout your cinema workflows, reducing waste, and optimising resources.
Collating all this data can be time-consuming and overwhelming. But with the right software, it doesn’t have to be.
At DX, we aim to enable you to improve your overall operations by accessing data wherever you are and whenever you need it, ultimately helping you increase your revenue with an optimised process.
To help you understand how we’re building our data platform, we’ll continue to write more about our current tests and how we manage to deliver clean, accurate, trustworthy data.
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