Conclusions and Next Steps

This year’s conference didn’t create a headline as its conclusion, Michael Gubbins said. “It’s a series of actions that might become headlines.”

 

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Summing up those many aspects of the conference into just ten minutes, Michael Gubbins gave an overview of the three days’ case studies and cultural concerns.

  •  What we face are not just problems of cinema, they are cultural problems too. We have a cultural mission with Europe and we cannot fail on that mission.
  • Cinema is not just a commercial space, it’s where things happen; education, cultural diversity, people interacting.
  • The challenge for our time has changed. The sofa has always been there, it’s available time that is disappearing.
  • We are living in an experience economy.
  • No one goes to the cinema because of who’s distributing the film. The exhibitor is the creator of the brand and the place that builds and extends the trust and relationship with it.
  • We can develop our own audiences through participative relationships with people in our cinemas.
  • There’s no demand for it to be on demand if we don’t create it- if those types of films and that expert curation isn’t made accessible.

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Finally, Gubbins talked about the one thing cinemas do not have: big data. While Netflix and Amazon have meta data that means they can tell consumers what they want based on what they’ve already consumed, cinemas have ‘little data’ and that is not useful.

For cinemas, then, the best research is direct participation with audiences. Aggregating and sharing that with other cinemas can be helpful, but it’s the personal experience that matters most.

Building demand for the future is where the next step of this conference should be.

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Closing the conference, General Director of Europa Cinemas, Claude-Eric Poiroux invited attendees’ expressions of interest in the 2016 Innovation Labs, where there is an exchange of ideas between cinemas. Europa Cinemas is also starting up a new initiative where young exhibitors can take part in that ‘in residence’ idea of spending a week in another cinema to see what happens elsewhere. There will also be Innovation Days and the regular annual meeting at Cannes.

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President of Europa Cinemas, Nico Simon, then congratulated the room for three days of productive and provocative conversation. While the discussions that have taken place don’t necessarily produce simple answers, we are getting somewhere because we are asking the right questions. Where digital cinema and VPF have taken up most of the floor space over the past ten years, we are finally looking at a broad and fantastic selection of ideas and innovations from diverse cinemas across Europe.

Photos courtesy of Eva Kořínková.

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