A virtual CineEurope provided distributors and exhibitors with clarity and a strong sense of direction to return to normality.
CineEurope took place online last week, instead of in sunny Barcelona.
Even though Cinema was one of the biggest casualties of COVID-19, the industry is fighting to come out of this crisis with determination, unity and togetherness.
This is an unexpected outcome for an industry that has been historically associated with extreme competitiveness, fuelled by recent spats in the press between Universal’s distribution of “Trolls World Tour” and cinema chains.
The message was consistent across all sessions and across all stakeholders. Studios, exhibitors, and service suppliers were united in stating: “we are back, stronger than before”.
The sessions attempted to answer some of the most asked questions in the industry, but also provided much needed clarity. Indeed, there was a significant amount of disinformation disseminated across a variety of press outlets whilst cinemas were closed during the pandemic.
It was disheartening to have seen quite a few “experts” announcing with extreme certainty the death of cinema or the cinema window…but not providing any data-led evidence of how the movie industry would work without it. In fact, it could not.
The first point to highlight is that cinemas, across the globe have already reopened or are in the process of reopening this summer. The industry has proactively determined rules to create a safe environment for the audience, with social distancing and sanitation as top priorities. This shows determination and unity across all exhibitors to get audiences to return.
The second issue: Is the audience ready to return? A vast range of data seems to clearly point at a speedy return to cinemas because of its relative low cost, the fact that is close to home and its ability to fulfil the need of social interaction in a controlled and safe environment.
The third point is content delivery. Despite the incorrect perception that a vast amount of releases have skipped the cinema window and have been showcased on VOD/SVOD platforms during the lockdown, we are looking at a very strong Q3 and Q4 roll out.
But the reality is that most titles have merely been postponed, not cancelled. Distributors are working with the exhibitors to retain the cinema window and identify new release dates.
Disney and Warner Bros. are a great example of the cinema industry coming together. Both studios will support the reopening, from day one, with two massive titles: Tenet and Mulan.
Finally, the reality is that we need cinema. From a commercial perspective, nothing can replace the cinema window. That is paramount on several levels. It allows producers and studios to recoup their investment. This is by far the most profitable window, even compared to the content aggregators one. It creates further revenue streams via retail promotions. Finally, it has a proven benefit reverberating on the microeconomies on which cinemas are based.
From an emotive perspective, nothing can replace the immersive and social experience of the big screen…we just literally cannot imagine a world with no cinemas.
We at Generation Media are already working in the U.K. and Europe to bring agile and scalable content cinema solutions in real time.
If you want your brand and content to be part of the biggest social renaissance of the century, please email Greta.Bisetto-Donelan@generationmedia.co.uk