When was the last time you visited the cinema? Even if it was recent, did you think much about the process from beginning to end and how the cinema treated you as a customer?
Let’s start from the beginning. You might listen to a positive TV or radio review of a movie, or find friends talking about it on a social network, so you make a mental note to go and see the film.
You then need to book. In days gone by that meant lining up outside the cinema an hour before the screening. Now you can go online, select a cinema, select a seat and confirm your ticket before even leaving home. Tools such as Google make it easy to geographically display all the times a particular movie is on in your town, or all the cinemas near to you showing that movie.
The experience at the cinema has also improved in recent years. Digital projection means an end to fuzzy, dirty, out of focus prints, but more importantly it allows cinemas to very quickly make more screens available for popular movies and to scale back quickly when a film flops. Special events like major sporting finals or opera, ballet, and live rock concerts can also be enjoyed within the cinema because of this relatively new technology.
After the film you may well review it on your blog, or on a cinema blog, or just make a few comments on Twitter… sparking further online debate about the movie whether it is good or bad.
This entire process, from learning about a film, booking to see it, the experience itself, and then the ability to publish your own review has shaken the industry to its core – but has also created enormous opportunities for those cinemas that embrace their audience.
Do you know of a cinema that is embracing all of this pre and post movie experience and what do you think of how the entire industry has changed? Was it better back in the day when smoke-filled theatres offered you whatever print they had available that week?
Photo by Bartosch Salmanski licensed under Creative Commons