Once again this year MEDIA Salles has organized new events regarding added content in the series The Talks.
There follows a first summary account of the contents of the Talk held during the 77th Venice International Film in the context of the training course “Art Cinema = Action + Management” organized by the Cicae.
As well as being one of the new developments that the digitization of projection has brought to audiences, the offer of added content for the big screen represents a sector in continuous growth.
A developing sector
In 2010 on the three leading European markets that had been able to provide specific figures on added content, the box office for this market segment amounted to 13.5 million euros. In 2019 the figure had risen to 88 million, with a growth of 552%
In this area the United Kingdom is the continent’s largest market. In 2019 it achieved a record GBO of 60 million euros.
The average price of added content is higher
Whoever might think that this is a fringe business, cannot fail to consider one characteristic feature of the market for added content: the average ticket price is always and everywhere – though to different extents – higher than the overall average ticket price in cinemas (considering films and added content together).
Poof comes from the figures – which have gradually become available for ten countries – showing average prices for added content in 2019 that fall between the 24 euros in Switzerland, compared to 14 euros for an average cinema ticket, and 2.86 of Turkey, compared to 2.46, passing, for example, through 15 euros in France (compared to 6.8), and 11 in Portugal (compared to 5.35).
The variety of added content
Another characteristic of added content is the variety of genres included under this label, demonstrating its ability – appreciated equally by the exhibitor and by the spectator – to satisfy the expectations of very different audience segments.
So-called “visual music” – which embraces very different kinds of performances, from classic opera to pop concerts – is an asset more or less everywhere. Nonetheless, the slightest glance at the productions that headed the charts in 2018 and 2019 in the various countries proves just how versatile added content is, as well as its ability to cater for specific local characteristics. If opera is in first place in Switzerland, in the United Kingdom audiences prefer the theatre and in Hungary so-called “art films” and pop music concerts.
The important role played by Europe
In the countries that have provided figures on the top three titles for added content per gross box office in 2018 and 2019, we can see that as many as 20 out of 39 places are occupied by productions of European origin, domestic or not. On the film scenario the situation is more than upturned: in 29 out of 39 places productions are non-European.
It is thus clear that the field of added content provides interesting chances for the whole chain of value of European audiovisuals. Not to mention the opportunity of worldwide distribution for the various different expressions of European culture.
An opportunity for cinemas
The greater diversification of offer, its specific cultural and artistic significance, the practical possibility of taking performances organized in big cities to small places or rural and outlying areas allow cinemas to play a more decisive role in the territories and communities where they operate and to position themselves as authentic hubs for culture and social aggregation.
What do the exhibitors think of it?
Thanks to co-operation by the Cicae, MEDIA Salles has collected the opinions of 19 exhibitors who took part in the 2019 course on management and programming in quality cinemas, which takes place annually at the Venice Film Festival.
Seventeen of them regularly screened added content and sixteen of them consider this a chance for broadening their offer and giving added value to the cinema-going experience. This content allows them to reach a sector of the general public that would not visit the cinema if the programming only included films in the traditional sense of the term. As well as this advantage, the exhibitors report an increase in box office thanks to the sale of tickets at a higher price than average, to the pre-sales of subscriptions and a larger turnover for concessions. The programming of content of artistic and cultural interest – which often occurs according to a “season” formula – also makes it possible to promote customer loyalty.
As Joel Fioroni, exhibitor in Massagno, Switzerland, says, “added content can represent a safety net for the economic balance of a small theatre fighting to keep cinema alive on the big screen”.
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