CJ @ CineEurope 2016: Creative Collaboration and Partnerships

By and Patrick von Sychowski | July 8, 2016 12:57 am PDT

This is a live transcript of one of the many seminars and presentations at CineEurope 2016. As such it is likely to contain errors and omissions that are more likely than not the fault of the transcriber (yours truly) than the speakers. Sometimes we condense or abbreviate points being made. The text may sometimes not make complete sense as it was made to be heard rather than read. But every effort has been made to present what was said as accurately as possible. 


After the event cinema session ended at least half the audience left, which is a shame because they missed a terrific panel discussion that was just as interesting and relevant, focusing on how the cinema industry can improve by working together with major online and social networks. It is not often that you get both Google and Facebook represented on a stage, more importantly agreeing and providing shared insights into how the world is changing and the role they play. So if you didn’t make it, read on to find out what you missed.

Creative Collaboration and Partnerships: New Models for Admissions Growth

Moderator: Madelene Josephson, Marketing and Sales Director, SF Bio AB

Panelists: David K. Blanar, Brand Partnerships, Google Zoo

Tanya Easterman, Senior Relationship Manager, Cinema First

Derren Sequeira, Head of Entertainment, Facebook UK

Madelene – Cinema Industry is thriving but we need to look into new models to attract new audiences.

Tanya – How do we keep cinema brand relevant? Cinema First is a cross industry body charged with promoting cinema. UKCA, FDA and partners in exhibition and distribution. We’ve heard a lot from Katzenberg and Paul Donovan about the need for partnerships and collaboration. They are key to sustained growth in our sectors. We can look to brands outside our sector to see how they can help drive admissions. Cinema First looked at driving admissions mid-week for Wednesday, so Orange came in with a 2-for-1 offer. In terms of retaining value the cinematic experience should stay front and centre of consumers’ minds. Distributors need to provide diverse content.

Darren – I’m a CineEurope virgin. My opening gambit is two insights. I’ve been at Facebook since the beginning. Next to music film is the highest interest for all of our users and demographics. As high as 70% [of Facebook users] feel overwhelmed with entertainment choice. There is challenge and opportunity. How do you cut through and represent value? Discoverability – how do we help audiences discover the content, through the lens of friends and family at Facebook (and Instagram).

David – Google Zoo is an innovation lab. I would echo everything these guys have said. We seek to create segments of one. We look at content to distribution to cinema itself. How do we create personalised experiences. That’s where we see value being created. Those moments that are unique and special.

Madelene – One of the areas is the traditional ways of having partnerships in terms of how social media has changed.

Darren – We have seen transfer of how spend has changed for big studios. We want to see it adapted for the [social media] space, especially mobile. We would like to see more collaboration. We are seeing silos approach. We want to see more of a freeway

David – The skills and capabilities of all of our partners are changing. The digital foresights are starting to create assets. It allows creative partners like us to hook into more activities.

Tanya – For Orange Wednesday we saw changes in consumer behaviour. Most cinema attendance was typically at the weekend and now some weeks Orange represents a 40% incremental and similar with Meerkat Movies. We need to bring new people into the cinema. Frequency is a key strategic pillar. It is not just the marketplace weighted to big blockbusters and you don’t always have years like 2016, so we need to drive audiences [and inform them[ that there are 800 films released each year. There is a big choice. How do we steer people to the mid-tier product? They are more likely to try new and different content. That is why schemes like this are so important to our industry.

Nadal – It is about creating new habits. It is not a one-off. It is to come there and stay there.

Tanya – My former life I was at Odeon for five years. We were driving commercial partnerships with the likes of Tesco. News UK with newspaper like the Sun. 02 was another one. Drive brand consideration versus your competitors.

David – In terms of creating those relationships, the boring answer is, there is no short cut. The investment required, not just in partnerships, you have to put in the time. You have to deliver every day. Do what you say you will do.  We are talking about access, abut what is coming in marketing, those are all about building trust with partners. We focus on being an honest broker and a transparent partner.

Darren – My team has been doing work with Ikea and specifically about location based targeting. We combined real people and the second is to use GPS and mobile location based to track (respecting privacy) where people are moving around the world. We can track exposure to Facebook and Instagram advertising. 11% uplift for people visiting the store and even 25% uplift for 22-25 year olds.

Lots of different connections we are seeing. Chatter data. We can, across large groups of people, look at chatter. There is a correlation between bad weather and movie conversations. But we need to drive business even on a sunny day.

Tanya – We had an industry partner 12 years ago, Orange, fantastic partnership. You can’t say that about all brand partnerships. Two years ago it wasn’t the same partnership as it had been. We then took it to other brands. We were looking for a brand that had the same shared ambition. We wanted more bums on seats more often. We wanted someone who could put that into a creative proposition. Compare the Market were the only ones who came in with their creative agency. They were prepared to invest in the industry, to work with all partners and deepens the partnership. Why CTM wanted to move it, it is a creative business, while new market to explore with their. They only spoke to their customers once per year. They wanted to have a weekly conversation. So Meerkat Movies was born. It is now a loyalty platform. Now it expanded to both Tuesday and Wednesday. It is 90% of cinemas and all films, but not live events.

Key challenge for any new brand partner is to educate them about the market. So be open and honest in your communication. Have a vision that everyone can buy into and have a road map for that. Have some KPIs along the way. There will always be stumbling blocks, but you can work your way through them. This is a unique proposition and I don’t think that it exists anywhere else in the world, so if it takes off in rest of the world it will be good for the industry.

Darren – Second that. Given overwhelming choices, the cinema business needs to team up. Some of the presentations I have seen are really innovative use of Imax cameras and directorial use of 3D. Doesn’t matter how good your home, set up, it cannot be replicated.

Tanya – One of my mantras is, you can consume film anywhere but you can only experience it in the cinema environment. Orange Wednesday was  sponsorship and the fee was distributed out to the industry.

Question form Tanya 2 – We have shifted demand with 2-for-1 but not created new audience?

Tanya1 – I don’t think we have seen that, we saw it increased weekly attendance. But it did not cannibalise. It also depends on the audience and film. For Star Wars, if people wanted to see it, they saw it on the opening weekend. Where we really saw with Orange is the mid-tier product.

Question from me – How do we create frictionless ticket buying as convenient as Amazon’s One-Click?

David – We are not yet at a one-click to buy, but the Google product offering is a consumer facing proposition but designed to fit across the purchase funnel. Sits from Youtube to Google Play and more. Google is less about fitting into one-click, but where we fit in is that we want to create great tools. It is not just exhibitors but also but it is the product offering.

Darren – We don’t necessarily have a one-click solution. Have you tried Uber via Facebook Messenger? I was in San Francisco and Los Angeles and the option to order Uber came up and even going from there to two steps was a huge evolution, creating greater frictionlessnes. Messenger is interesting to us. WhatsApp too, Young audiences are moving to these platforms. There is a lifecycle gap that we don’t yet fully understand. What happens in the gap. It is a one-to-one or one-to-friends conversation what you will see and how will you see it.

Ticketing is an area we are looking at. Banking – who is interested in direct conversation with bank? But having messaging, even robot messaging, makes a corporate boring process like filling in forms much quicker. If we can it in banking, we can do it in film.

Madelene – Platform thinking – what sort of message are you having and discussions when launching a major film?

Darren – My friend form WB is in the audience. First is optimised for mobile. We are seeing high impact content, but we have done research with Nielsen. 80% of impact comes in the first three to ten seconds. 1.28 seconds is all it takes for an image to have an impact that motivates you to do things. Secondly is sequencing. “Star Wars” and Batman have hundreds of pieces of content. But we have to sequence it to move people through it.  Final one is reach. But if you don’t reach enough people then it will be no good. My mantra for today is collaboration. We are still seeing silos. There needs to be more strategic collaboration.

Tanya – Compare the Market get the full customer view. Thye know exactly where people are going to see what. From a Cinema First perspective we are conducting surveys, so we match back that customer view. Would you have come to the cinema if it was not for 2-for-1? No. Great, that is incremental audience. How can you take that full customer view and use it in collaboration with studios? Which drives frequency, and value? It reduces the level of churn for Compare the Market, so it is a real win-win.

Madelene – Who should be most in charge for making this happen?

David – In my experience starting projects at all levels, the best projects and partnerships were those where we had upstream access and discussion. Not just approval and sign off. But above all trust – building it with senior leaders. Who best to speak to? Whoever is highest. Should be CEO or CMO bare minimum.

Tanya – I totally agree. The vision and strategy has to come from the top. You can put it on the agenda but you need that buy-in.

Darren – Agree on the seniority. We say at Facebook, “Move fast”. We will iterate and change as we go along. It has to be around a specific project, a specific title with a studio. Test case like Ikea, I would love to bring back a couple of cases next year.

Madelene – We want to future proof the audience. How do we make cinema audiences keep cinema top of the mind, not because they have to but because they want to? What is next big thing in collaboration?

David – I come form a creative innovation lens. We are looking at this products people love. YouTube, Cardboard, 360. We are getting into augmented and mixed reality. No spoilers there. What that means in terms of partnerships is even more collaboration required. Not an insignificant amount of investment required. That is my next 12-18 months.

Darren – We love talking about future. Video is really exploding on Facebook. 8 billion views per day. Facebook live is really taking off. Future is what I am seeing at this conference. Deeper immersion. We have 360 and immersive camera units but the future for exhibitors is to bring it alive for audiences on the devices they use the most. Opportunity is there for the likes of WB to immerse in their properties. But the one place for full experience is in the cinemas.

Tanya – Price and value from the experience is really, really key. Second biggest barrier is time. What we know of new generation is that they are more time-poor than us. Ensuring lots of relevant content for them. Bringing more people onboard. We do it with the likes of warners. More suppliers to the industry Ensure it is the best experience and rewarding them for coming more often.

Patrick von Sychowski
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Patrick von Sychowski

Patrick was a Senior Analyst at Screen Digest, went on to launch the digital cinema operations of Unique and Deluxe Europe, then digitised Bollywood at Adlabs/RMW, and now writes, consults and appears on panels about cinema all over the world.
Patrick von Sychowski
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