Cinema generic

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Cinema generic

Cinema posters and in-cinema trailers are the way that most audiences hear about films they watch according to research presented by box office data gatherer Comscore in a private session at the CineEurope trade convention in Barcelona this week.

The opportunities for cinemas presented by the twin phenomena of solo cinema attendance and passive accompaniment were also highlighted by Comscore.

Lucy Jones, Comscore executive director for UK and Ireland, presented the data – based on PostTrak research at UK cinemas from January to May 2024 – to a closed session attended by members of UNIC, the International Union of Cinemas.

In cinema marketing - in the form of cinema posters/display and in-cinema trailers - emerged as the top way audiences heard about the film they had just watched, according to the PostTrak survey – with 20% and 18% of audience members respectively citing those sources. Third came own friends and family (17%), fourth YouTube (15%) and fifth TikTok (12%).

The numbers show a significant change from the same survey undertaken in January to May 2023, when YouTube was cited by 20% of respondents, ahead of own friends and family (15%), in-cinema trailers (14%), cinema posters/display (12%). TikTok (11%) came level with TV advertising and Instagram.

The declining impact on audiences of marketing outside the cinema environment might be a concern for cinema operators, and may reflect reduced spend by studios and distributors during a period when blockbusters were thin on the ground. Conversely, cinema operators may take comfort that the increased prevalence of digital marketing displays in cinemas – in place of printed posters and cardboard standees – is making an impact on audiences.

Going solo

The PostTrak research also showed that 9% of cinema attendees surveyed had come on their own – 11% of men, and 7% of women. “Solo attendees present an opportunity – how can we help them find a community?” posed Jones in her presentation to the UNIC members.

The age demographic most likely to attend alone is the 45-54 age cohort (21% of those surveyed), ahead of the 55-plus cohort (16%).

Films surveyed with the highest proportion of sole attendees were The Book Of Clarence (23% attending alone), American Fiction (18%), Boy Kills World (16%, Love Lies Bleeding (16%) and Drive-Away Dolls (15%) – relatively niche titles attracting cinemagoers who may have struggled to find a willing companion.

Among so-called “passengers” (those who attended the film because they “came with someone who wanted to see it”), 22% of women cited this as the reason and 19% of men. The younger age cohorts were more likely to come as passengers, led by 13-17-year-olds.

An obvious conclusion: stimulating more passengers to come with otherwise-solo attendees would create a box office uplift for cinemas and distributors, as well as increased food-and-beverage spending at concessions stands.

CineEurope was staged this week (June 17-20) at the International Barcelona Convention Centre (CCIB).