Name: Tanya Easterman
Company: Cinema First
Title: Senior Relationship Manager
Country: United Kingdom
Like many children Tanya Easterman’s first visited a movie theatre to watch classic animated Disney films such as “Beauty and the Beast”, yet one of her strongest memories of going to the cinema was to see “Titanic” with a group of girlfriends. “I think this was the first time that I fully understood how storytelling on the big screen could have such a huge emotional impact,” says Easterman, the Senior Relationship Manager of Cinema First. “The whole auditorium was crying in unison by the end of the film. I have been in love with film and the cinematic experience ever since.”
Easterman began her career in advertising spending more than a decade working at agencies such as Saatchi & Saatchi and Iris Nation. In April of 2015 she joined Cinema First to manage inbound financing and oversee the roll out of the comparethemarket.com initiative known as ‘Meerkat Movies‘ for the UK exhibition and distribution industry. “One of the incredible things I have gleaned since I started working in the industry is how everyone I meet – from team members serving customers in cinema to Board Directors – is so passionate about not only their job and the role they play in our ecosystem, but also about film itself,” she says.
Since taking over her role at Cinema First she has worked closely with Phil Clapp, the Chief Executive of the UK Cinema Association and President of UNIC. “He has helped to teach me the art of diplomacy, which is greatly needed in my role,” Easterman states. “His trust in my abilities and judgement has given me the confidence to shape the direction of my role and empowered me to face the daily challenges knowing that there is always a solution to be found and a sounding board in the office next door.”
One of those key challenges Easterman believes the industry faces is ensuring that the cinematic experience stays at the front and center of consumers minds, that operators tailor that experience for individual audiences and distributors continue to make diverse content that appeals to differing consumer tastes. She says that it’s important for key stakeholders within the market, “sing from the same hymn sheet when addressing the fact that film can be consumed anywhere, but can only really be truly experienced in the cinema environment.”
To keep drawing audiences to theatres Easterman hopes to “use technology and data more effectively to target consumers. There are many lessons to be learnt from outside of our sector in terms of best practise. I have noticed a real shift in this area over the last two years and that was most evident during my employment at ODEON Cinemas where I looked after commercial and distribution partnerships and retail marketing across both UK and Irish markets.”
Partnership marketing is one trend Easterman says the industry should keep an eye on as it increasingly has a bigger part to play in the full marketing mix. She sits on the UK’s first Partnership Marketing Panel, which represents this discipline within the marketing and advertising community. “It gives me great pleasure to see the cinema/film industry playing a leading role with more exhibitors and distributors understanding the benefits of partnering with brands outside of the sector to both increase awareness, brand affinity and ultimately drive incremental business,” she says.
The rise of the more boutique cinema offerings, as seen by the fantastic growth of Everyman and other independents, is another trend Easterman has been tracking as it shows that there is an audience willing to pay when the experience offers them enhanced value for their money.
Easterman, who will be in Barcelona for CineEurope 2016, spends a great deal of her time gaining an understanding of strategic drivers from both exhibition and distribution to make certain they are met with relevant opportunities that maximize the partnership within their businesses. This means she also must educate the industry on comparethemarket.com, ensuring that members have access to exhibition channels and intellectual property which will help drive their business and the new loyalty platform.
As Easterman explains it, “Ultimately, I develop and foster relationships that result in mutually beneficial business growth.”