CJ@CineAsia CineAsia University – Immersive Seating

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In an effort to provide updates on the CineAsia 2014 conference and trade show presently taking place in Hong Kong SAR, this post was written live, and in the present tense, during one of the conference’s presentations. Comments attributed to speaker(s) are paraphrased unless denoted specifically by quotation marks.

This ICTA organised session s part of their out-reach and education effort for the industry. Micheal Archer, [above, no longer Doremi but] Dolby does the welcome and introduction.

Dan Jamele, VP and CTO, MediaMation

“We started out in special attraction and now we are entering cinema. Cinema traditionally catered to two senses – sight and hearing. We offer two additional, touch and smell (as of yet we don’t do smell).” That’s how Dan starts his presentation. Each speaker is restricted to just five minutes, so each session is no more than 15 minutes. Short and snappy.

Dan runs through the company essentials. Pivately owned company. Worked with Disney, Legoland and other theme park partners. 9,488 seats, 122 sites, 30 countries installed based. Cinemex, Cine Colombia, City Cinema in Oman. Apprived and worked with all the Hollywood studios.

4D client base breakdown:
3D upcharge 69%
2D upcharge 17%
Incremental 13%
Repeat 1%
“So 14% is customers you wouldn’t get at all,” Dan says, reffering to the last two categories put together.

Grown from 14 films in 2013 to 38 this year. “2015 is going to be a good year for films that go well with 4D.”

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CJ@CineAsia Monetizing Your Digital Investment-In-Theatre Pre-Show Entertainment and Lobby Display

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In an effort to provide updates on the CineAsia 2014 conference and trade show presently taking place in Hong Kong SAR, this post was written live, and in the present tense, during one of the conference’s presentations. Comments attributed to speaker(s) are paraphrased unless denoted specifically by quotation marks.

Cinemas have been digitized, but for new cinemas that were not covered by VPF there is still a need to make money off digital and the pre-show. That was the topic of the second session of the second day of CineAsia, introdiced by Mark Shaw from Shaw Theatres. The talks were short and because the previous Christie session over-ran, everyone on stage talked extra fast.

Todd Hoddick, VP Global Entertainment Barco -  “You are going to see a lot of great ideas today,” he promised. “All about the ideas you see there are two things – we must improve the audience’s experience, give them an adventure and romance, something they can’t get at home. Secondly, drive revenue. These things will not be driven by VPF. With that, lets start the presentation,”  Todd announces.

1. Industry Overvew

Current state of digitization – mostly converted. Flashes up digitisation by continent (Latin America still lagging). “Most of our customers look for ONE partner they can trust. We are happy to partner with out friends GDC, Doremi and Audience Entertainment. Bring a full solution so you can have a choice of partners.”

“In mature markets we see very flat growth, maybe at most one per cent. Whereas in China we see tremendous growth. 14 screens per day in China,” Todd points out are opening.

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CJ@CineAsia Christie Laser Demo

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In an effort to provide updates on the CineAsia 2014 conference and trade show presently taking place in Hong Kong SAR, this post was written live, and in the present tense, during one of the conference’s presentations. Comments attributed to speaker(s) are paraphrased unless denoted specifically by quotation marks.

Early morning talk and demo of Christie’s 6P laser light illuminated projector. Most of this is a repetition of what was said at IBC’s Christie 6P laser demo in September. First topic is ‘Market need’. Given that lasers are not cheap, why do exhibitors need them, particularly when many of them have just gone through the expensive upgrade from 35mm?

“Why is Christie building a 6P laser projector?” asks Don Shaw, Sr Director Product Management Entertainment Solutions for Christie.

“Not because it is cool or because Bill Beck [Barco] is building 6P laser projectors. Butbecause there is a well established market need – for PLF [premium large format] and for 3D. Both of them are places where exhibitors can make more money. PLF gives you an opportunity to give a differentiatied exerience and you can charge more for it. 3D has been around for longer. Ever since the “Avatar” effect. The only way to get a true immersive 3D experience is to go to cinema. The most important thing about 3D is that premium, the upcharge.”

Flashing up the chart demonstrating the decline in 3D attendance (using Screen Digest/IHS data – see above). “This is what will happen in international market if we don’t fix the problem. What does this mean to exhibitors? All the money for 3D premium is drying up.”

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CJ@CineAsia Concession Showmanship Seminar

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The afternoon is presentations from three exhibitors showing what they do in their cinemas. [You will be happy to know that we got a 10 minute break for lunch and I scraped together the last of the rice and whatever suacy went with it that was still left on the buffet table.]

Mariam El Bacha, Director of Operations,MBO Cinemas, is first up.

“I am going to talk very quickly about three things that are unrelated but I want to bring up,” sha starts in a delightfully upbeat and optimistic tone.

1. Programming mistakes – “You have to keep trying new things, even if they do’t work, it is a good way of learning what not to do.” During Chinese New Year they were busy, 1.1 million admissions, lot of long lines and lot of complaints. Low strike rate of 19%. “We had good combo strategy, not the issue, so what was it?” Too many films all starting within 20 minutes of each other. We gave cinema managers the ability to decide the session times.

“We had to train cinema managers to follow certain patterns. One is for the main film to programme that one first. At least 10 minutes apart. Multiplexes are not designed for hundreds of people at once. Separate the biggest hall by 30 minutes from your second biggest hall.” Mariam says that she doesn’t care if three shows start within ten minutes of each other first thing in the morning, but peak time is different.

They started testing this concept in March and with almost the same amount of admissions and the same menu, they increased strike rate to 27% and SPP (spend per person) by the equivalent of almost one US dollar.

Loyalty programmes points – Allstar points? What to do with them? So they marketing department came up with this idea of doing an eBay-like store. The rule was that they had to be unique items and had to be movie-related with fanatical following and not too much repeat by only having every second or third film, like Transformers and the Hobbit. People came to cinema and then went home to bid for the items.

Result was: extra sign-up of 20,000 members during that one month of activities. Increased admissions by 11%. Increased views to micro sites by >200,000. Thinking of MBO brings the excitement nearer to you.

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CJ@CineAsia Coca Cola Presentation

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Brian Chau, Customer Leadership and  Operations Director for Coca-Cola Pacific is on immediately after Larry. [No break for lunch - I'm sipping my Coke Zero and thinking that these seminars will do wonders for my figure.]

“We as a beverage company are proud to refresh the world with good drinks. But also happy to refresh movie goers. Today I will share with you how to keep the movie going experience as unique as possible.” Brian points out how well popcorn and Coke go together. “It’s almost become a culture,” not just in the US but also in Hong Kong and around the world, Brian starts of with.

‘Bringing it to life at the point of sale’ is the tile of Brian’s first slide. Kicks off with data: Worldwide average is 80% people driking in a cinema auditorium, but only 30% of those are being bought in a concession stand. People either share or bring in drinks from the outside. “There is a lot of upside there,” Brian observes.

Activation focus areas: 1. outside of cinema, 2. lobby, 3. concession stand and 4. in the auditorium. “That is where we focus to bring the brand experience to life. But the main focus is to get the concession area right.” First point is t make it easy for people to buy – hence combos.

Make it special – by tying in with the movie (Penguins of Madagascar again). “We also do a lot of promotion during festival time – Halloween, Valentine’s Day, Christmas. That is when a lot of people go to the movies and we need to capture that.”  Then come the polar bears – very cuddly and distinct. Next brand heritige. “2015 is the 100 year celebration of the contour bottle,” Brian reveals. Brian plays a video celebrating the Coke bottle shape [Capital Cities' 'Safe and Sound' Hi-NRG mix is the song used].

The Contour 100 Program will see a lot of activation and excitement next year. “We will do a lot of special designs on cups, caps and art collection, digital content and on-site demonstrations. These are the holistic things that we will do together.”

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CJ@CineAsia – CineAsia University NAC: Building the Experience

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In an effort to provide updates on the CineAsia 2014 conference and trade show presently taking place in Hong Kong SAR, this post was written live, and in the present tense, during one of the conference’s presentations. Comments attributed to speaker(s) are paraphrased unless denoted specifically by quotation marks. [Also no spell check on my tablet version of WordPress. Sorry.]

The National Association of Concessionaries (NAC), the trade body of the popcorn, soda and other snack vendors, set up a mini-conference room on the trade show floor – similarly to Cine Europe one this summer, though larger. Each seat has a tote bag stuffed full with promotional soda cups, popcorn buckets, merchandising straws and drinks bottles. If there is any doubt where the real money is made in cinemas, this is it.

Building the Experience in Concessions Operations

Craig O’Connel takes the stage, promising raffles and prizes to the three-quarter full rooms. The seminar session is sponsored by Golden Link and Larry runs through the ‘Thank you’s’ to all the other sponsors. He then introduces Dan Barski , Exec VP of NAC (pictured above). He gives an overview of what NAC is and does. He correct the misconception that it is a ‘national’ body “because it is truly international and that is why we are here today at CineAsia.” He then gives a name check to Larry Etter, Senior VP Malco Theatres and Director of Education NAC, who will shortly take the stage.

But first, a raffle prize – a Kung-Fu Panda 2 Power Charger. With that over comes the presentation. Yesterday was Session 1&2 [which I missed]. The first part was ‘landscaping’, which “maybe is not as positive as we would like it to be,” Larry aknowledges. Then they moved onto service, which discussed what customers will expctin the future and how the bar has changed. “In the 1960s and 50s Coca Cola and popcorn was enough, but that’s not sufficient today.” Today is Session 3&4.

“We started yesterday’s second session with the emotional quotient, about how people make decisions. The next part is about financial profitability in how we sell. And there is a certain amount of intelligence required to do that,” Larry. He then refers to the book “Switch” about why people buy when they buy and for what reason. He talks about an elephant walkin thrugh a jungle (the emotions) and man sitting on top steering (the intelligence) and how they often conflict. Then comes the story of Larry’s wife going to shop for white sweaters. The moral is – they don’t buy one, even though plenty are on offer. The next day the temperature drops and they are cold. Then they are compelled to pick a sweater.

“What I want to talk about is the data and analytics that you need if you’re going to run your business efficiently and smart,” Larry proceeds. The quesiton he asks of his members is “What is your transaction time?” He asks a member of the audience who says “one minute” but doesn’t seem completely sure. “Very few people know what their transaction times are,” Larry observes and then talks about how many people get out of the line because they don’t want to wait. He opens the floor to suggestions about how to solve this issue.

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CJ@CineAsia ICTA – A Panel Discussion

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In an effort to provide updates on the CineAsia 2014 conference and trade show presently taking place in Hong Kong SAR, this post was written live, and in the present tense, during one of the event’s presentations. Comments attributed to speaker(s) are paraphrased unless denoted specifically by quotation marks. [Also no spell check on my tablet version of WordPress. Sorry.]

Dolby’s Senior VP Ioan Allen introduces the ICTA discussion with a distinguidshed panel of exhibitors, distributors, consultants and Hollywood studio reps, then sits down and joins them. They are:

Irving Chee, General Manager, Golden Screen Cinemas
Brian Hall, Exhibitor Consultant  
Brett D. Hogg, Senior Vice President, International Distribution, Sony Pictures Releasing International
Sunder Kimatrai, Executive Vice President, Asia Pacific, Twentieth Century Fox International

“Three of you come year after year, so you must be good,” Ioan observes and then asks them what has surprised them in the last 12 months. Irving says “not too much surprised me but the slow and steady decline of 3D movies is a concern. That’s a little bit on the downside.” He questions how effective 3D is whether shot or converted in terms of audiences perceiving value.

Brian echoes that. “Customers have become much more important. Five years ago people were wowed by Avatar,” but now they are more discerning. Brian then points out that Hollywood studios have become better at filling the gap between the [Christmas] holiday and the summer box office, but this year there was a gap after the summer, “though this might have been an anomaly.” Ioan asks whether in 2015, the offical ‘Year of the Blockbuster’, there is adanger of ‘clumping’ that will see too many big films released too close together.

Brett observed “We are glad that Sony has survived the last 12 months, particularly recently.” Ioan jokingly retorts, “I wasn’t going to bring that up,” but Brett says “It’s the elephant in the room.” Brett then aknowledges that that ‘clumping’ does continue to happen, “but hopefully where is small and medium size films that do find an audience.” Ioan asks if we were getting to a natural equilibrium when it comes to the number of 3D films. Brett says that this could be the case not just for 3D but also for 4DX and other new technolgies.

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CJ@CineAsia: Promoting and Protecting Content in Today’s Multi-screen World

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In an effort to provide updates on the CineAsia 2014 conference and trade show presently taking place in Hong Kong SAR, this post was written live, and in the present tense, during one of the event’s presentations. Comments attributed to speaker(s) are paraphrased unless denoted specifically by quotation marks. [Also no spell check on my tablet version of WordPress. Sorry.]

Frank S. Rittman, Senior VP, Deputy Managing Director & Regional Policy Officer, Asia Pacific, MPA

CineAsia has a long tradition of starting off with an overview of IP Protection and Piracy by MPA’s Regional head. With Asia being the home to several territories with major instances of piracy, this is always a timely and important talk. Rittman manages to combine being diplomatic with hard hitting when it comes to spelling out what the situation is.

Andrew Sunshine first does the general welcome to CineAsia 2014, thanking sponsors, partners, studios, trade show exhibitors and other. He promises a great three days ahead and then hands over to Frank, whose talk will cover MPA, Camcording in Asia-Pac and outreach programmes and trailers.

The first slide is ‘Who is the MPA?’. Founded in 1922… I won’t recap the organisation’s history here. From Singapore the MPA covers 14 territories in Asia-Pacific, where it is also involved in legislative efforts to protect IP and also work with local screen communities.

‘The “what” and “why” of camcording’ is the meat of the entire talk. The situation has improved since 2013, Frank notes, with India seeing significant decrease (but still high). “China is still a problem,” Frank aknowledges. “What is MPA doing to deal with this,” Frank asks rhetorically before answering, “Actually, a lot. Though there is no magic bullet.”

“Getting the right legislation in place is important.” He then reels off all the get-outs that a clever defence attourney might use to get their client off the hook where anti-camcording legislation is weak. Anti-camcording Bills are pending in India in Thailand, where in the latter case it has passed parliament and is waiting royal assent. The Trans-Pacific PArtnership also has provisions for anti-camcording that wil help.

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Daily Cinea Digest – Monday 8 December 2014

A truncated Daily on account of preparations for CineAsia, but we felt we had to put it out, if only for the ‘Finally’ item.

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The previously announced promotional joint venture between Cinemaxx and CineStar has been approved by the German competition authorities.

On 28 November, the Federal Cartel Office has completed the merger proposal (B6-56714) for planned joint venture Cinestar and Cinemax with a release and thus given the green light for the establishment of a jointly organized company of the two chains.

As previously reported, Cinemax and Cinestar want to combine their ranges in the cinema market. The company’s headquarters should therefore be on Cinemax headquarters in Hamburg, also has offices in Berlin, Dusseldorf and Frankfurt are planned. LINK

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India – The company whose Vice-President of Technology was caught pirating a major Bollywood film is planning on rolling out mini-plexes across India. Not the first time that they have announced this.

Digital entertainment player KSS plans to invest Rs 90 crore [USD $14.5 million] for rolling out 180 screens in 80 locations in smaller cities over the next five years, a top company executive said. 

KSS Miniplex is a division of KSS which is into setting up miniplexes through joint venture with the local partners and the proposition includes planning set-up,  screening, operations and marketing. The partnership would entail profit share of 50:50.  LINK

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Daily Cinema Digest – Friday 4 December 2014

Hoyts logo

With Hoyt having called off an IPO of its exhibition business earlier this year, there is now speculation that it could be sold to a private equity investor instead.

Sydney-based Pacific Equity Partners is negotiating to sell the Hoyts chain – with 483 screens in Australia and New Zealand – to ID Leisure International Capital.

It is not clear yet if the sale, which is understood to be possible by the end of the year, will mean a change to the name or look of the cinemas.

The company could not be reached for comment, but negotiations are understood to be advanced.  LINK

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Netherlands – More details on the plans for JT to be one of the first Dolby Cinema digital PLF test venues.

JT Bioscopen and Dolby Laboratories, Inc. (NYSE:DLB) today announced plans to open the doors of a Dolby Cinema™ in the newly constructed cinema complex of JT Eindhoven in the Netherlands. Dolby Cinema, a branded premium cinema experience, combines spectacular image and sound technologies with inspired design to make every visit a completely captivating cinematic event.

The new JT Eindhoven cineplex, opening on December 15, is one of the biggest cinemas of the JT branch and will host eight screens and 1,546 seats. The premiere screen in the new JT Eindhoven complex will be among the first Dolby Cinema installations, equipped with state-of-the-art image, sound, and acoustic capabilities. In addition, the design of the Dolby Cinema in Eindhoven was created to set a mood and draw audiences deeper into the story—while delivering the full impact of the filmmaker’s work.  LINK

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