Advertising business Digital Cinema Media (DCM) is banking on increased investments behind experiential events and targeted ads to ensure the momentum behind soaring ad revenues is not just beholden to this year’s strong blockbuster line-up.
2015 has already surpassed all of DCM’s expectations with ad revenue up a fifth (21 per cent) in the first half of the year. And while the arrival of the latest additions to the lucrative James Bond and Star Wars franchises will likely smash further records for the business, it’s refusing to rely solely on Hollywood to secure cinema’s place on increasingly fragmented media plans.
To that end, cinemagoers are likely to find more branded experiences in foyers and prompts to use their smartphones to engage with content as DCM looks to broaden the scope of media it can potentially monetise. For example, its mobile app Cinime lets brands reach film fans before, during and after their cinema trip with bespoke brand and film content.
It’s not just front-of-house where DCM hopes to give brands more oomph. Marketers are also being handed more opportunities to bake their campaigns in more insights, whether it’s particular demographic, specific locations or a particular film.
It all amounts to DCM's ongoing bid to get advertisers to adopt a more tactical mindset when it comes to planning cinema media with brands already able to run national campaigns with local targeting. Through its proprietary geo-location tool Cinemapper, DCM's brands can run up to 300 different copy end frames, each featuring bespoke messaging in a single creative execution. It means advertisers can talk directly to audiences in the environment they are most comfortable – where they live.
"We’re constantly looking at how we can give advertisers more hard evidence about the role cinema plays in the media mix,” said DCM’s chief executive Karen Stacey. Recent efforts have seen its brand count swell 60 per cent over the last 18 months, claimed Stacey, who added that "new brands are advertising on the big screen because they can be more tactical."
“With reliable audience profiling and the ability to align not only by film, but by cinema or particular showings, brands can be sure they’re reaching their target audiences with minimum wastage,” said Stacey.
A major point in DCM’s transformation into a more flexible and targeted media owner came earlier this year when it made a fundamental change to one of its longest-standing sales mechanics. For the first time in 13 years, the most prestigious ad slot in cinema, otherwise known as the “Gold Spot” 60 second ad directly before the main feature, is now available to advertisers to buy for shorter periods.
“Selling the Gold Spot in a more targeted way has also opened up more flexible opportunities and increased revenue to advertisers,” said Stacey. “This innovative sales opportunity has made it even easier to engage with that all important early-adopting, socially savvy cinemagoing audience in the most premium spot there is.”
DCM, through its ad sales tie-ups with the likes of Odeon and Cineworld, controls most (80 per cent) of the UK cinema ad market. Meanwhile, the barrage of blockbusters that hit cinemas in the first half of the year lifted box office takings by 25 per cent compared to last year, according to the British Film Institute.