Cinemas have been around since the 1900’s, and are entertainment venues that people go to view movies, documentaries etc. Popular cinema chains in Australia including Hoyts, Event Cinemas and Reading Cinemas, to name a few, have been a popular place for individuals and groups to disconnect from the world to watch a movie for a couple of hours, while enjoying some snacks from the venues snack bar.
Over the years, specifically during the rise of the digital age, cinemas have been impacted by various factors that have reduced the popularity of the former favoured entertainment venue. Only a couple of years ago there use to be a long line to purchase a ticket for a sold out movie, however, now that is not the case.
The main factor that has impacted the popularity of cinemas is the introduction to online streaming services. Streaming services are online platforms that allow a user to pick from a variety of content to watch from anytime, anywhere and anyplace. For a small monthly fee, users have access to a range of movies, TV shows, documentaries and more, that they are able to access all year round. Streaming services including Netflix, Stan, Hulu and Disney+ have gained serious traction for their cost effective, comforting nature. Online streaming services have perfected their marketing tactics, and have convinced consumers to make the switch from physical cinemas, to their online platform.
Take for example the struggle of Sydney’s premiere independent cinema – Valhalla. Valhalla Cinema opened in 1979, and was a popular indie cinema. Shortly later in 2005, Valhalla Cinema closed their doors, as rivals including Hoyts took over the competition. Hoyts knew what their consumers wanted and were able to win consumers over.
The Valhalla Glebe started on December 26, 1979 in the lovely old 1937 art deco suburban cinema known as The Astor.
In 1994 they twinned and renovated the cinema, paying due regard to its architectural style. In its early days the Valhalla was famous for its six month movie programs/ calendars, featuring nightly changes of double features, limited run 1st releases and re-issues of classics.
This was the place to go for the early films of David Lynch, John Waters, Hal Hartley, Alex Proyas, Luc Besson and Rolf de Heer. IN later years Valhalla was exclusively first release, offering a wide selection of dramas from all around the world, feature documentaries, animation and short film festivals. The Valhalla was also home to Popcorn Taxi, Australia’s premier night for independent film-makers.
Additionally, COVID-19 certainly impacted the popularity of use of cinemas, as physical cinemas were forced to close due to the pandemic. This certainly decreased the popularity of physical cinemas, and shifted consumers over to these online streaming services.
In comparison to a physical movie theatre, it is generally much cheaper and beneficial to watch movies from a streaming service, from the comfort of your own home. But the million dollar question is, what is the future of cinemas? Will physical cinemas become extinct like physical video stores did?
Yes these online streaming services have gained popularity, and there are many pros to picking an online streaming service, over visiting a physical cinema venue, however, although there are many pros, there are also some cons to this.
One con worth noting is that online streaming services lack one aspect that physical cinemas have, the social aspect. Cinemas have always been a social event, where you and a group of friends gather to watch a movie at the cinema, eat some food, and enjoy the cinema atmosphere.
Alternatively, outdoor cinemas have become very popular recently. Outdoor cinemas offer a whole experience. Being with your friends, enjoying the food the venue has to offer, and enjoying a movie with an atmosphere.
Although it is uncertain at this point in time, what the future looks like for cinemas, they are certainly not going away any time soon. While online streaming services are taking over, that does not generally mean it is over for physical cinemas. Being aware of the cons of online streaming services is vital for businesses in the cinema to be aware of, which should be implemented into the marketing tactics of these cinemas.
Keeping a potentially at risk industry like the cinema entertainment industry a float in such a competitive environment is vital, and that is where strategic marketing becomes extremely beneficial for business like cinemas. Ensuring you know and have researched your target audience, and their wants and needs, and acting on this in this industry is critical, and will help in the long term.
Strategic marketing is vital, especially in an at risk industry like cinemas, and to insure what happened to Valhalla Cinemas does not repeat itself, it is important to invest in quality marketing despite emerging market threats.
Here at Noop, we are Strategic Marketing Consultants. We apply a unique combination of brand, process and marketing strategy to help companies reach and realize their full potential. Through a deep understanding of the customer, we develop road maps that deliver value, engagement and growth. Learn more about our marketing consultants.