Jaki McDougall from the Glasgow Film Theatre spoke about the problem of rural areas in Scotland not having any cinema provision at all. Where access is an issue, a “For All” policy needs to be established. Finding solutions for people who can’t get to the cinema and focusing on how to best serve audiences who don’t have the range of programming where they live is something cinemas need to address.
Online platforms shouldn’t only be viewed as in opposition to cinemas. Instead, if we think about online platforms as opportunities rather than challenges exhibitors can 1) offer audiences expert curation and guidance by curating cinema on demand packages in the same way as they would in the cinema, furthering the cinema brand, 2) create new revenue streams to continue and further the cinema’s core aims and 3) work with and build a network between exhibitors through sharing added content like programme notes and recorded Q&As.
But Sigrid Limprecht of the Bonner Kinemathek, Germany, doesn’t feel as though cinemas moving into online platforms, based so often in algorithms, are extending the demand. She says they are catering to the demand but not expanding the depth and breadth of the engagement with film. On this point, the panel was somewhat divided.
For those in workshop 1 wondering how they can manage the rise of event cinema with limited staff and marketing resources, workshop 2 was suggesting we redirect our focus back to content.
The sofa battle is not just about something for audiences to go to – the choices that are available aren’t going away so we might as well work with them. The fight for a share of the audiences’ time means that brand is not the only important thing: we have to continue to focus on the films.
VoD, added content and online engagement is traditionally viewed by distributors and exhibitors as a barrier or an opportunity, but, as Ivo Andrie from the Kino Aero, Czech Republic, says, “It’s an extension of what we do.”
Photos courtesy of Eva Kořínková.