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The Network - 22/11/2017


Survey - Strategic Investments in the Future of Film


On the occasion of its conference in Bucharest (24-26 November 2017), Europa Cinemas unveils a study on strategic investments in the cinemas of the network. Written by Michael Gubbins (SampoMedia) and realised with the support of Creative Europe / MEDIA, the study is based on a questionnaire sent to a panel of 208 network cinemas across 141 cities and 31 countries.

Independent movie theaters have a crucial impact on the film and audiovisual ecosystem of course, but also on territories and communities. As sociocultural spaces, movie theaters can act as engines of regeneration and strengthen social cohesion. This role is not always recognized at its fair value.

The main objective of this study is to identify the investment axes of European independent cinemas, and to measure their impact in economic and socio-cultural terms. This study was designed in complementarity with the study on innovation and digital development that was published during the Cannes Film Festival 2017.

The answers to the questionnaire reveal four major areas of investment. Each one composes a chapter of the study and is illustrated by several case studies.

1 / Investing in film

The cinemas have a special role in the career of films. However, this role is threatened, especially among the youngest, who are captured by other modes of viewing. Responding to this threat is a crucial issue for cinemas.

One of the recent trends is the creation of new screens: 1/3 of cinemas have increased their number of screens in the last five years or plan to do in  in the next five years. Building new screens positively impacts the entire ecosystem, increasing both the volume and the lifespan of films in theatres.

Half of the cinemas in this survey play a role in film policy or work closely with other parts of the value chain (development, production, distribution, etc.). In this survey, 10% of the cinemas offer their own production services, thus playing an important role in the development  of local talent.

2 / Investing in the cinema experience

Cinemas are part of the "economy of experience". Beyond the comfort and quality of screening rooms, this survey reveals that cinemas have also invested heavily in creating dynamic social spaces that meet local needs. For example, 80% of respondents renovated their foyer or plan to do so within five years. 12% offer creche facilities or play areas for younger children. 1/3 provide meeting spaces.

Bars and restaurants are also becoming increasingly important and offer significant revenue for the cinemas. Nearly 60% of cinemas have a bar, 42% have a café, and 23% have a restaurant. 37% of respondents invested in food & drink equipment in the last five years. On average, food & drink accounts for 12% of the cinemas’ total revenue.

3 / Investing in communities

Nearly 90% of cinemas interviewed are located in cities. Some cinemas act as engines of regeneration for neighborhoods. Cinemas play a vital role in community life in economic, social, and cultural terms.

The integration of cinema into the urban fabric begins with the design of the building itself (more than 50% of the cinemas interviewed are installed in non-historic buildings). They also play a role in the training of young people. Cinemas also play an important role in supporting local talent, as nearly 70% of the cinemas screened locally produced films.

4 / Investing in people

The interaction between the movie theater and its audience is often lived in a personal and passionate way.

Many cinemas have understood the importance of reaching audiences beyond their core audiences and otherwise disadvantaged communities. 45% of respondents propose special screenings for people with disabilities. And 31% of cinemas offer screenings for young parents accompanied by their babies.

The most direct form of investment in human capital is in the recruitment and management of teams within cinemas. On average, 56% of jobs are full time. More than half of movie employees are women (52%). And almost 1/4 of the employees are under 25 years old (this includes 2.3% trainees).

Computer and data management is a particular area where cinemas often rely on external expertise. Nearly 1/3 of the cinemas employed technicians. 30% of theaters have invested in online marketing tools, ticketing systems and data analysis software.

The study explores in detail these themes through case studies, in-depth interviews conducted with network exhibitors selected for having invested very recently in their activity. We also invite you to read the innovation study published in May 2017.

Both studies are available in English only.



Investment survey - "Strategic investments in the future of film"

Innovation Survey - "New approaches to audience building"