From theory to practice

In our “Women in Digital Cinemas” column, a researcher into business communications tells us that it is not sufficient for a cinema wishing to gain a competitive edge thanks to digital technology to simply install the equipment. Instead, it is a question of making potential audiences aware of the advantages that can derive from this innovation in terms of an overall cinema experience. Some people who believe that the digital transition means far more than a change in the way images get onto the screen are the companies that announced the new “Digitalfie” initiative at IDIFF 2008.
A leading supplier of servers, Doremi, an Austrian software company, SiTec, as well as Kino Cinemas, the exhibiting company that boasts two unique cinemas in Great Britain – digital projectors only, with no 35 mm. – and the consultants Peacefulfish have set themselves the aim of identifying and proposing services linked to digital cinema that are able on the one hand to improve the spectator’s global experience and, on the other, to create added sources of income for the exhibitor. Behind this project is a research study carried out in Finland and Norway to identify audience expectations and demands and compare these with the industry’s point of view.
Why these two countries in particular? Frauke Feuer, the Peacefulfish analyst, gives us an explanation: “The two countries chosen are amongst those that are most open to digital technology. In addition, Norway, where most film theatres belong to the municipalities and have been experimenting with digital technology for some time, is a country distinguished by one of the highest rates of cinema-going on the continent”. In carrying out its research on the perceptions behind spectators’ experiences, Peacefulfish based its work on focus groups established on the basis of age and area of interest: young and future audiences (13-16 years old), young ‘trendsetters’ (17-30 years old), families with young children (25-40 years old), and senior citizens (over 55). According to the results of this survey, which set out to highlight the significance that the cinema may have from the point of view of social life, as well as impressions or inclinations regarding interactive aspects or advertising, Digitalfie now aims to put in place services capable of improving the spectators’ cinema experience and generating income that helps amortize the investments needed for the digital changeover. The schedule that the consortium has established for itself allows five months for reaching this objective. Will the Cannes Festival provide the opportunity for presenting this new range of services.