Have cinema’s global superheroes saved it from digital decline?

by Anna Dobbie, M&M Global 

2015 proved a blockbuster for cinema, with three films surpassing $1bn in takings and global box office revenues hitting $38bn.

However, questions remain as to whether the strong performance of franchise movies like Jurassic World and Star Wars has translated into increased investment from advertisers in what is considered by some as a legacy OOH medium.

The advantages of cinema are obvious. Aside from reaching an engaged audience devoid of distractions, the big screen, powerful sound system and dark room offer a unique opportunity to target customers when they are ready to be connected with and told stories.

In recent years, cinema advertising has become easier to plan and buy with greater flexibility and more affordable rates, not to mention improved sound and picture quality.

Video First

Kantar Media chief research officer Jon Swallen feels that cinema ad sellers in the US have benefited from bringing a wider range of national advertisers, who have larger budgets than local and regional advertisers, as well as charging higher CPMs and selling more inventory.

He says on-screen ads in movie theaters act as an extension of a video-first media strategy, with the added benefits of enhanced geographic targeting capabilities and comparatively low CPMs. Also, in the media and entertainment categories, linear TV networks, streaming video services, casinos and live music events are using cinema to deliver ‘switchpitch’ messages for their offerings.

“The US movie-going audience is skewed towards the millennial generation [nearly 50% of ticket buyers are 18 to 34 years old] and this degree of concentration is scarce within the linear TV market. As a result, the ranks of top-spending cinema advertisers include a number of brands with modest, not large, TV budgets and for whom young adults are a core target market,” says Swallen.

He argues that, in an earlier era, the sales pitches that advertisers received from cinema companies frequently positioned the medium as “not TV” and advised marketers to create ads specifically for the big screen, with a wider variety of lengths, instead of repurposing existing assets.

“It’s no longer efficient for media planners and buyers to spend as much money on television […] cinema has very much been a beneficiary of that”

“That was then, this is now,” says Swallen. “The recent gains cinema has made with national marketers are in part because the medium has made itself more like TV in order to better compete for a share of the fragmenting video ad budget.”

It’s not uncommon for a brand to share ad creatives across TV and cinema. In some cases the same execution will run concurrently on both platforms, while in other situations a brand takes a TV commercial that has been out of rotation from TV airplay and puts it in the theater, so long as the message strategy still fits in with the current campaign.

Read the full article from M&M Global

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