Catching Their Attention: Display technologies build better customer engagement


Over the past few years, the cinema industry has done a fantastic job of adopting innovations that have improved the customer experience, such as offering online ticket sales and advance seat reservations, installing recliners, and expanding food and beverage offerings. Cinemas that have upgraded their customer experience are now shifting their focus to customer engagement in order to achieve business goals.

Today’s moviegoers have high expectations, and three crucial moments in the customer journey offer exhibitors opportunities to exceed those expectations by deepening customer engagement: (1) when customers enter the venue, (2) when they’re in the auditorium and (3) when they’re leaving the venue. Let’s take a look at each of these touchpoints and examine display technologies that cinemas can deploy to strengthen customer engagement.

Making a Grand Entrance

A cinema’s exterior and lobby provide multiple opportunities to engage customers. Inside or outside, bright digital displays allow exhibitors to show movie trailers, advertisements and other content.

Exterior LED display solutions, including high-brightness displays and fine-pitch video walls, can entice passersby with a colorful preview of the immersive visual experience that awaits inside the cinema. These vivid displays are perfect for fast-moving content, such as movie trailers.

In the lobby, large-format displays can replace posters in cinemas and are the ideal medium to present movie trailers and advertisements—providing a “Wow” experience before customers enter the auditorium. Large-format displays are cost-effective solutions for lobbies because they’re simple to update in real time and can even help reduce perceived waiting times.

Projection is also finding a place in cinemas beyond the auditorium. In lobbies and bar areas, lamp or laser projectors can display videos and other content onto screens or uneven surfaces (projection mapping), allowing exhibitors to be more creative in delivering previews, promotions or other types of entertainment.

By providing a premium visual experience in their lobbies, exhibitors can boost customer engagement. Bright, colorful displays grab the attention of their customers, which leads to increased dwell time and more effective delivery of trailers, ads and other messages.

Lights. Projector. Action!

Once customers have popcorn in hand and have settled into their auditorium seats, they expect to be transported to another world. Creating an out-of-this-world experience with captivating and immersive images is job number one in the cinema industry. It requires cinema projectors with high brightness, superior image quality and advanced color replication.

The latest generation of digital cinema projectors takes viewer engagement to new heights. For example, some new models use the latest laser technology, “RB laser,” which is perfect for midsize to large screens. For RB laser projection, red and blue laser diodes produce the light, and a separate blue laser illuminates a green phosphor wheel. By not incorporating expensive green laser diodes, RB laser systems cost much less than RGB projectors but offer the same level of all-encompassing engagement in terms of color gamut, image quality and suitability for 3D projection. For smaller screens, laser phosphor-based projectors are typically the ideal choice to ensure maximum engagement.

Exit Strategy

The mission to strengthen customer engagement shouldn’t end once the film’s credits start rolling. Grabbing the attention of moviegoers as they leave the cinema has become more important than ever. That’s because this part of the customer journey provides a final opportunity for exhibitors to either deliver impressions for the first time or to reinforce messages.

Digital displays in lobbies are the perfect solution to catch the attention of moviegoers as they leave the cinema. The advent of ticket presales and seat reservations means that many customers are now arriving just before showtime. Not only do they bypass ticket lines and auditorium waits, they usually rush past lobby displays and also miss trailers and other content presented on the big screen before the feature. For audience members who arrive late, delivering trailers and ads to them as they leave the venue may be the first time they encounter the content.

For audience members who viewed the content shown before the feature, digital displays in the lobby can reinforce previews and ads shown in the auditorium. After the excitement of watching the feature, these viewers may have forgotten about the trailers and advertisements.

Making the Magic Happen

The cinema experience is no longer all about the movie. The need to offer premium visuals has moved beyond the auditorium, motivating exhibitors to stimulate and entertain moviegoers in all areas of a venue.

It’s not just about creating a quality customer experience but also about boosting customer engagement. By addressing all three touchpoints—entering the venue, the auditorium and exiting the venue—an exhibitor can better achieve the type of customer engagement that boosts revenue and builds customer loyalty. Digital displays have the power to make the magic happen by fostering a closer emotional bond between moviegoers and your cinema.

Peter Kim is senior account manager at NEC Display Solutions of America.