OPINION I The Insights Family on the future of cinema

When kids and teenagers can access VOD via phones and tablets whenever they want and wherever they are, what can cinemas do to compete? Exploiting popular IPs, offering better value, harnessing the latest technology and enhancing – even personalising – the cinematic experience are all viable options, attest market intelligence experts The Insights Family.

In the US, visits to the cinema amongst 6-9 year olds halved in the summer of 2020, compared to the previous year in light of the pandemic. Over the last 12 months, the popularity of Netflix among 6-9s has increased by a minimum of +30% in Australia, Canada, Germany and Russia. So, as we look forward, what factors are going to drive customers back to cinemas in 2022?

Eighty per cent of the all-time top 10 highest-grossing movies worldwide are reboots or sequels to established franchises, suggesting familiar IP is what drives people to the cinema. With VOD platforms offering the convenience of engaging with new content at no additional cost, cinemas are faced with a difficult task: having customers part with their money with the risk they may not enjoy the experience. This risk is mitigated somewhat through sequels, remakes and reboots.

Of the aforementioned top 10 highest-grossing films, 70% are owned by Disney. In Kids Insights’ data, Disney also own three of the top five favourite characters amongst 6-9 year olds. This sequel culture isn’t going anywhere – Spiderman is the number one most anticipated film amongst this age bracket, as hype builds surrounding the release of the latest instalment in the ever-expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe. As owners of IP continue to be rewarded for focusing on their recognisable imagery, it could be suggested that we are likely to see an increase in the number of reboots and sequels in the coming year, particularly as brands continue to prioritise guaranteed revenue in the economic fallout of the pandemic.

The cinema is still very much seen as the pinnacle of achievement for on-screen IPs and can introduce a new audience to the source material. PAW Patrol, the second most popular TV show amongst 3-5s globally, released a cinematic experience in August this year. In the UK, popularity for the TV show increased by +75% amongst this audience in the months following the movie’s release, relative to the three months prior. By producing content in relation to existing popular IP, there is a significant opportunity to resonate with the target audience through licensing and merchandising. 3-5 year old Paw Patrol fans in the UK are +24% more likely to purchase licensed toys than the average kid.

However, the VOD market is here to stay. The Insights Family anticipates that the cinema will lean more towards highlighting the experiential aspect of a potential visit to effectively drive footfall. Since the beginning of the year, the value of experiences among young teenagers has grown by +15% in Russia, Japan, Germany and India. Now that the content itself is available at no additional cost to the consumer, with shorter windows from screen to home, the cinema should look towards providing an experience worth paying for, making that the USP. More comfortable lounge-seating and food/drinks seat-service are a few strategies to create a more enjoyable experience for the average movie-goer.

Additionally, we will see more budget cinema options, to compete with the cost-effective, on-demand option. In the US, the average young teen spends $9.54 a month on the cinema – according to the MPAA, the average ticket price in 2020 was $9.34, leaving no space for a repeat visit in a single month. Just one-in-ten US 13-15s visit the cinema two or more times a month, and this figure halves when considering three-plus visits.

What we will therefore see is a fragmentation of the cinematic market, mirroring the rest of the kids’ entertainment ecosystem. With more content and viewing options available than ever before, kids are able to tune in with the flexibility and personalised approach that they come to expect as the on-demand generation. Whether they value experiences, cost efficiency or convenience, there is a cinematic experience for them.

Further in the future, we will eventually see widespread adoption of more immersive technologies in the cinema environment. VR and AR for example, making use of full 360-degree filming capabilities isn’t a stretch of the imagination. Will we see the start of data being used to optimise the movie experience as per the viewer? In this sense, there is great potential to see advancements towards the gamification of movies. Perhaps an utterly personalised experience tailored to individual kids where they are the heroes?

To find out what other trends will be popular this year, The Insights Family launched their Future Forecast 2022 report. For the first time, the company is exploring not only kids and parents, but family ecosystems trends, based on Kids Insights™ and Parents Insights™ data. The report contains 10 predictions and trends which will impact advertising, content, licensing, marketing, product and retail strategies for brand owners.

To download the full complimentary Future Forecast 2022 report, visit: https://theinsightsfamily.com/futureforecast 

About Tessa Clayton

A former Chief Sub of Red magazine, Tessa Clayton is the Digital Editor of Licensing.biz and ToyNews. As a freelance journalist she specialised in writing about parenting and family life, and has contributed to a wide variety of publications and websites including Tesco online, Mother & Baby, Livingetc, Junior, Boots Health & Beauty, Practical Parenting and babycentre.co.uk. Get in touch at tessa.clayton@biz-media.co.uk

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