Ask the Audience: Event Cinema

Ask the Audience

Ask the Audience is a monthly feature from Film Journal International and National CineMedia (NCM) that allows you to ask an audience of 5,000 frequent moviegoers, known as NCM’s Behind the Screens panel, the pressing questions of our industry.

Remember the days when a phone was…just a phone? You could make calls, receive calls, send a text or two…and that was pretty much it. Now they’re our computers, our maps, our music libraries, our photo albums – gone are the days of just one function. It’s the same for our businesses. You have your core function down, but you know that to evolve your business and engage your customers in new ways, you have to find ways to expand. Thus, the rise of events in theatres. Classic film screenings, concerts, even award shows…hosting events outside of new movie showings is a whole other world of potential revenue. So, what are the customers looking for in these events, and what will make them more likely to attend in the future? Let’s ask the audience.

83% of our Behind the Screens panelists are aware of events at theatres, with frequent moviegoers boasting an 88% awareness. 37% have attended an event in the past. Of that 37%, 52% watched a classic film and 36% hit up a concert. A whopping 98% were satisfied with their experience, and 94% agreed that a theatre was a good venue for the event they attended. Here’s where the money comes in – 65% of people who had attended an event arrived at the theatre earlier or stayed later than they would if they had been there to see a movie. Obviously, that’s good news for you, because the longer your customers are there, the more they’re going to spend and interact with the environment. For example, 72% bought concessions while at the event (that number might actually be higher, but 15% couldn’t remember for sure), which is 28% more than the number of panelists who say they purchase snacks every time they see a movie.

So, how can we get the other 63% who haven’t attended an event on board? Only 2% said they had no interest whatsoever in the events, so there’s hope. When we asked the panelists why they had not previously attended an event, about 25% said they didn’t know about the events, and 15% said that, as far as they knew, it wasn’t offered by their local theatre. Additionally, 58% don’t think cinema events are advertised well, so it might be time to consider expanding your marketing. If you do, play to your strengths by using onscreen advertising; 82% of people who were aware of the events learned about them onscreen, such as through the Fathom Events advertisements included in NCM’s Noovie pre-show. Additionally, when we asked the panelists what kinds of events they would be most interested in attending in the future, movie marathons were the clear winner, with 71% expressing that they’d like to be able to watch past films in a franchise ahead of a new premiere.

Conventional movie showings are always going to be your home base, but with the opportunities events present, it might be worth looking into what steps you could take to expand that portion of your business. Besides, if we can all say goodbye to our beloved Blackberries and Nokia Razors, you can do this.

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To submit a question, email with your name, company, contact information, and what you would like to ask the Behind the Screens panel.