In the cards: From Premiere Club to bonus points, ODEON, UCI & CinemaxX have moviegoers covered
As everybody knows, the European theatrical exhibition business is as varied as its cinemagoers and the countries that they live in. So it should come as no surprise that there are differences as well in the programs and offerings geared at building customer loyalty.
Venturing outside of North America for the third part of our exclusive series, one could argue that it is even more important to reward cinemagoing in markets where annual per-capita attendance is far lower than what U.S. exhibitors are used to. (AMC Stubs and Cineplex SCENE appeared in our May and June issues.) With numbers ranging from 0.76 in Liechtenstein to 4.98 times in Iceland, as per available figures from MEDIA Salles, the average attendance in Western Europe hovers around 2.14 per inhabitant.
While all five of our featured programs collect data from their customers and provide them with benefits in return, the loyalty schemes are very much distinct variations on that theme. Even circuits that operate in multiple markets confirm that they have programs that are similar, but not necessarily the same.
Cases in point: UCI Kinowelt in Germany and Austria let their Kinogäste collect “movie points”—the program uses the English-language term and awards one point per every €0.20 (US$0.29) spent on anything at the cinema, with an additional €0.15 for every ticket that was booked online. The equivalent scheme in Italy records 10 cinedobloni per euro spent on ticket purchases only, but is always rounding up to make €6.40 a full 70 points. The automatically recording “skin ucicard” comes in three variations. In addition to the regular card for up to two tickets purchased in the same transaction, the family version (with at least one child under the age of 14) accepts points for a maximum of four tickets per day. The student card brings points and offers discounted ticket pricing on certain days for those with valid identification and under 26 years of age.
While German movie points award 20 extra credits at sign-up, skin ucicard delivers a complimentary popcorn when joining and sends out a coupon for a free ticket on the member’s birthday, to name but two benefits. Both cards charge nominal service fees of €1 at issuance (US$1.43). Until February 2012, Italian cinemagoers can also purchase up to ten “SuperSkin” tickets at a discounted price of €5 each, for a maximum of two per day and excluding 3D presentations.
Adding Spain and Portugal, the Continental European UCI Cinemas have some 1.5 million members in five countries. In Spain, Cinesacard “es muy fácil," and collecting pontos works the same in Portugal. Simply bring your card and collect 20 points per ticket with an earnings maximum of 80 puntos per transaction/day. The first eligible reward is a small popcorn at 60 points, with redemptions going as far up as 420 for a movie ticket on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, with popcorn and a Coca-Cola thrown in.
Unique to Cinesa points are upgrades to numerous reward levels. In our example, the payment of €1 makes that tub and cup gigante and the redemption of an additional 100 puntos gets the card holder into a 3D movie.
The other three UCI countries offer popcorn, soft drinks and movie tickets on a sliding scale as well, but they also have additional rewards available. Kinowelt operates a dedicated Prämienshop online that goes far beyond the movie theatre, though “3D anytime including the glasses” is available for 1,500 movie points as well. Kinowelt reward categories are books and magazines, CDs and audiobooks, PC and videogames, coupons and certificates (€5 off Zalando shoes for 500 points), lifestyle and leisure (exclusive Warsteiner beer glass for 2,500 points), premieres and events (8,000 points for a Formula 1 ticket) and merchandising (Rango flip-flops and Gnomeo und Julia red and blue caps for a mere 1,200 points each; 2,000 for Kung Fu Panda‘s Po in plush).
On the U.K. side of the pan-European ODEON and UCI Cinemas group, cinemagoers have been cordially invited by the likes of Scarface and Terminator to join the ODEON Première Club. “Say hello to my little friend” and “I’ll be back” are two classic movie lines that take on a whole new meaning as part of the membership campaign. Unlike UCI Cinemas’ nominal processing fees before issuing their respective cards, ODEON offers three different one-time membership charges from £1.99 to £9.99 (US$3.28/US$16.44, €2.30/€11.52). Depending on the chosen level, patrons can sign up for the Classic or Deluxe Film Fan Package, including 100 or 500 points towards their first reward. In addition to receiving 1,000 starter points, the “Ultimate Film Fan” can even collect double points during the first month.
The Première Club scheme launched in 2009. In February 2011, ODEON announced that over one million “film fanatics” had signed up, “making it the U.K.’s largest cinema-loyalty scheme.” According to Luke Vetere, marketing and sales director of ODEON Cinemas, “There are currently over 1.3 million members, all of whom are eligible to earn and redeem points and take advantage of exclusive offers” at 103 locations. “ODEON Première Club rewards film fans across the country for doing the things they already enjoy. Members earn points every time they spend money at ODEON, which can be redeemed against a number of our most popular items including film tickets, popcorn and soft drinks.” (For more details, see below.)
Accumulating is easy—and fully integrated into ODEON’s point-of-sale systems—adding up 10 points for every full £1 (US$1.65 , €1.15) of spending at the cinema tills or online. Extra points can be earned during special promotions, such as when watching Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides during the long weekend of May 27-30. Since the beginning of this year, buying British has the added benefit of 50 points for every homegrown film booked and “an additional 100 points on top” for the British Film of the Month. “ODEON has pledged to back the Government’s plan to ensure the vibrant growth of the British Film Industry,” online notes read. “We believe that we have an important role to play in connecting you, the film fan, with the best of British film.”
Connecting the Kinobesucher with the brand is what Kundenbindung, or customer retention, is all about, concurs Arne Schmidt, head of corporate communications and investor relations at Germany’s CinemaxX. “We are always looking for ways to make our guest feel special.” The CinemaxX Bonuscard—like UCI Kinowelt’s movie points, the name reflects the English word rather than the German “Karte”—launched six years ago and has been continuously adapted und updated, Schmidt says. Some 380,000 active members are using the card regularly now to enjoy “Punkte, Prämien, exklusive Vorteile.”
Said “points, premiums and exclusive extras” are accrued one-for-one, with every euro spent on tickets, concessions and café offerings, online, gift cards and merchandise being automatically recorded at the point-of-sale. Additional Bonuspunkte are awarded during promotions and special events, for supplying an email address and when referring a friend or two. At the 16-theatre, live HD broadcast of Kate and William’s Royal Wedding, CinemaxX bonused a split of Pommery champagne as part of the €9 ticket (US$12.87). Using the card has other advantages as well. Holders who reserve their movie tickets online have a shortened ten minutes before showtime for picking them up versus 20 to 30 minutes otherwise. And if they do retrieve them at the ticketing machines, the card account is credited with an extra five points to boot. Customer convenience and operational efficiencies all at the same time.
What reward is the most popular depends on the season. “During the summer, soft drinks are pretty much up in front,” Schmidt says. During fall and winter, “which traditionally is the stronger moviegoing period in Germany, that shifts to the free movie ticket.” To help put the 120 points that a pass requires into perspective, he tells us that the circuit-wide 2D/3D combined ticket price averages between €8.50 and €8.60 (€8.00 or US$11.41 for 2D alone). CinemaxX also has a dedicated Prämien Shop for rewards including movie posters, DVDs/games/music and more. The previously mentioned Rango flip-flops can be had for 80 Punkte, and the 2,200-point Paranormal Activity 2 night-vision webcam goes for 2,200 points. Both are courtesy of Paramount Pictures Germany.
Going forward, Schmidt hopes that CinemaxX will be able “to expand those offers to include truly unique items such as tickets to film premieres.” But don’t expect just any kind of goody to come soon. “We really want to stay with movie-related rewards, close to our line of business. Anything else wouldn’t make much sense for our movie-loving guests.”
To see if it makes sense for your theatre to offer a customer-rewards program, stay tuned for the next entries in our series.
What you can get with ODEON Points:
Item Points Needed
Tickets (regular) 800
Small popcorn 400
Small soft drink 300
Medium popcorn combo 700
Large popcorn combo 750
Nachos combo 700
Regular hot dog combo 700
Large hot dog combo 800
Couples combo 900
Combo extra 1000
Pic Nic 500
Film Feast/MiniMix 300
3D & IMAX: To redeem ODEON Points for tickets to IMAX or 3D screenings, simply add 300 points per ticket to the relevant ticket values above. (Source: www.odeon.co.uk)