Ask the Audience: Smartphone Technology

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.

Moviegoing is an experience. Arriving at the theatre early, grabbing your popcorn and soda, choosing the best seat—it’s all part of the moviegoing magic. But, what do you do when you’re at your seat but have some time to kill before the movie starts? You use your smartphone, don’t you? 93% of Millennials always bring their phones to a movie theatre and 75% use their phone while in the auditorium. We wanted to discover how people use smartphones in the movie theatre to enhance their movie experience. To find out, we asked the audience.

Though only 6% of our panelists have used concession apps that allow customers to order and prepay for food and drinks via their smartphone, 86% say they improve the moviegoing experience. When we asked the 94% who had not yet used a concessions app what was holding them back, 51% said they weren’t aware of it, but would be interested in trying it if it became available at their local theatre. Another 20% said they had not used it because they don’t mind waiting in the concession line. 8% even said they would pass on a concessions ordering app because they like to see their food being prepared.

Phones can help take care of the snacks, but can they help to entertain your customers as well? Absolutely. 63% of respondents are intrigued by having augmented reality technology in a movie preshow, with 85% of our respondents saying they would arrive early to use AR. 31% of our panelists have played Noovie ARcade, NCM’s augmented reality gaming experience. Customers download the Noovie ARcade app, then aim their phone at the screen during dedicated sections of the Noovie pre-show to play AR games.  Customers appreciate the interactive content, with 70% reporting that Noovie ARcade makes the moviegoing experience better. 9% of our panelists have used Moviebill, Regal’s multi-faceted augmented reality platform, and of those who have used Moviebill, 57% enjoy the app. The top reason to use Moviebill is to read about and watch videos on exclusive film content. 2% of our panelists have used TimePlay, an interactive gaming experience that can be incorporated in pre-show entertainment. 44% of the people who have not played TimePlay said that they were interested in playing. Finding ways to incorporate interactive technology in your customer’s experience, such as through the Noovie pre-show, can help improve customer satisfaction and encourage your customers to continue to arrive early.

Consumers rely more and more on their smartphones to improve everyday experiences and now that expectation has expanded to include the moviegoing experience. Pre-ordering your buttery popcorn, favorite soda and Sno-Caps…what’s better than that? Even more, bringing an augmented reality gaming experience to your smartphone is an innovative way to capture the audience before the movie begins.

Who said bringing your phone into the theatre is a bad thing?

To submit a question, email with your name, company, contact information,

and what you would like to ask the Behind the Screens panel.