Posted by: Holovis
In today’s modern world we’re used to having the world at our fingertips. Through the internet we can order food, clothes, find entertainment, socialise and play. Everything appears to be instantly accessible without leaving the house. This is posing a challenge to conventional forms of entertainment, such as the high street, with reports constantly being circulated about the decline in visitor numbers and big brands moving away.
This is particularly prevalent when it comes to streaming media. The cinema used to be the place to see new films first, but now people can get access to them much earlier as the theatrical windows are shrinking and advances in home cinema technologies are making that viewing experience every bit as good as venturing out to the movies.
One way that the retail industry is tackling this challenge is by transforming their spaces into ‘destinations’. These don’t just have shops, but also feature luxury living, leisure activities, offices, food courts and cinemas. Pop Ups are particularly interesting as they offer brands a way to connect for a short time, while giving the consumer a ‘get it now before it’s gone’ incentive to come experience their program, which is usually interactive with multimedia for maximum engagement and Instagram worthy opportunities.
This approach seems to be working, especially for cinema with the UK reporting its highest number of attendees since the 1970s. But the internet isn’t the only thing threatening our high streets or cinemas. Visitor attractions and other experiences are now so prevalent that people are having to choose how they spend their time.
This was one of the challenges facing Intu Watford’s expansion plans as research showed that they were losing footfall to the Warner Bros Harry Potter Studios. Their solution was to increase the parking and make it free, temping people in before or after their experience.
Holovis Immersive 4D Gaming Theatre
This has led to a new metric of measurement within the retail space – EPS, experiences per square foot. Cinemas need to adopt this multi-destination and experiential approach if they are to survive as standalone entertainment venues. In recent years we have seen the rise of event cinema, with Secret Cinema being perhaps the most prevalent, where the experience on screen is brought to life through the venue, theming and actors all helping guests to completely escape reality and enter that world.
Cinema lobbies are an underutilised area just crying out for attention. They can be transformed into performance spaces, pop-up areas for shopping or brand activities and stages for musical entertainment.
Technology is another way of creating an experience, using emerging forms such as Virtual, Augmented and Mixed Realities, or projection mapped technology spectaculars.
Technology is another way of creating an experience
A great example is the August Moon Drive In, a cinema in North America that simulates the classic drive in movie experience, but with a difference. It’s set inside a 45,000 square foot dome and guests choose from one of the 40 real classic cars to enjoy the experience from. By being inside and able to control the experience, every showing can feature the perfect sunset, dazzling fireflies and panoramic starry skies just about the tree line.
At Extended Cinema, we’re using technology to help cinemas reinvigorate themselves as destinations, creating a new out-of-home, location based entertainment category.
These are all interconnected by a data driven eco system that tracks guests around the space to combines traditional customer insights with next generation sensing of customer behaviour, preferences and purchasing patterns. This creates a more personalised and relevant interaction with customers and allows subsequent targeted marketing efforts to reflect what they would actually like to hear about, rather than being generic and sent to everyone who has visited.
We’re also looking at ways to go beyond the big screen with solutions like 4D cinema, where the latest blockbusters are enhanced through motion, surround audio and SFX including wind, scent, mist, water and heat. We have developed our own proprietary seats to facilitate this experience and utilise the latest SFX technology and motion profiling to make them more sophisticated and truly enhance the experience, rather than a ‘gimmick’ where people fear when they are next going to be splashed it in the face by water.
We see technology innovation being just as important as events and colocation in creating accelerated cinematic and retail experiences. Ultimately, destinations need to stop competing on convenience and start focusing on experience.