DCM sees TV's fragmentation as cinema's opportunity

DCM's study into the state of cinema advertising

A report from Digital Cinema Media (DCM) claims the big screen is the only channel to which 16-34s actively plan to pay attention – seeing TV's fragmentation as cinema's opportunity.

DCM commissioned Differentology to engage focus groups, deliver a survey of 1,000 Brits aged between 16-34 and study the effectiveness of its ads to determine the performance of, and sentiment around, its advertising operations.

The research found that cinema may displace live TV as the vessel for 'watercooler moments' due to the fragmentation of viewing habits thanks to video on demand (VOD) and streaming services, especially among 16-34-year-olds.

Leaning into the 'fear of missing out' (or Fomo) phenomena, DCM said that with big blockbusters, it can reliably expect three-quarters of ad impacts to be made in the first two weeks of a movie release. Furthermore, just over half of respondents agreed with the statement that they 'don’t like missing out on things that other people are talking about.'

The report claimed that cinema was the only fully ‘active’ channel. Respondents noted that they viewed the cinema is a place to escape tech and distractions they may find in the home. Qualitative feedback from one focus group member highlighted this: “The only times I don’t look at my phone are when I’m in the cinema or when I’m asleep.”

A further insight was that audiences appear to be more accepting of AV ads in cinemas, likely due to the novelty of the hardware delivering an immersive experience for quality creative. It found that 44% of 16-19-year-olds and 34% of 20-34-year-olds said that of all ads, they felt most positive towards AV advertising.

The 16 to 34 demographic is a vital audience for the industry and DCM found that it accounted for 44% cinema ticket sales, boasting an attendance 19% higher than the national average at eight times a year.

2018 hit Avengers: Infinity War delivered more than 3 million people within this segment for brands to reach – and DCM anticipates similar performances from upcoming movies Avengers 4, Toy Story 4, The Lion King, Star Wars and Captain Marvel. All of these Disney flicks are expected to deliver an 8% admissions bump

Within this age range, 71% of respondents said they are “hounded by advertising” throughout their lives and as a result, 39% admitted to installing ad blockers.

Karen Stacey, chief executive of DCM, added: “This study dispels the myth that 16-34s have disengaged with advertising. They like brands, they expect quality content and are receptive to advertising in the right context. If we continue to follow current practices where young people feel ‘hounded’ they will choose to block advertising but, if we put the wow at the start of campaigns in premium, trusted environments we can deliver a big impact for brands.

“Looking forward to 2019 and beyond, cinema has a remarkable, exclusive film slate for brands to align with cinema should always be considered as a pivotal part of any campaign to reach young adults.”

The study outlined the position video mediums fulfilled in viewers’ lives.

Cinema was touted for shared experience (37%), high attention (34%), quality content (31%); Live TV to fill time (30%), for background viewing (26%), comfort (18%); VOD serves for binge viewing (27%), filling time (25%) and delivering quality content (19%); YouTube: primarily filled time (43%), served as escapism (28%), and encouraged binge viewing (27%) and finally social video filled time (38%), was low attention (27%) and spontaneous (20%).

Despite DCM's buoyancy, a recent Thinkbox study crowned TV as accounting for 95% of video advertising seen. For 16 to 34s the same stat was 90%. In 2017, Thinkbox said YouTube accounted for 0.9% of video advertising time for all individuals and 2.9% for 16–34s.

DCM said it found that cinema was seen as 'the most premium and trustworthy' AV medium, competing against the aforementioned platforms. 48% said it was most premium, well ahead of second-placed live TV which clocked 17%. 35% said it was most trustworthy, edging live TV’s 31%.

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