The ICO is widely acknowledged as the leading consultancy service for establishing and growing cinemas. The ICO offers a fee-based consultancy service to cinema operators, individuals, business people, arts organisations, local authorities, interest groups and others looking to develop a new independent cinema or assess and improve an existing one.

Our recent work helping cinemas establish, develop and grow includes:

  • The Empire Cinema in Holyhead was due for closure, but, after ICO consultancy with the town council, is now a major community asset with over 43,000 admissions a year, with plans to open a second screen. The ICO was able to provide business strategy, audience development and technical advice to the Empire.
  • Saffron Screen in Saffron Walden was set up following a feasibility study by the ICO. As the cinema has grown over the last ten years, the ICO has continued to consult on development plans as they plan to open a new site with two to three screens.  
  • ICO consultancy helped The Wotton Electric Picture House develop a business plan that has allowed the cinema to continue and grow as a community asset, with increased screenings, higher visitor numbers and streamlined marketing.

In recent years, the ICO has carried out consultancy in the following areas:

  • audience research and audience development: understanding who your audience and their behaviour; developing strategies for how to increase attendance and diversity of audiences
  • business planning: how to make your business more sustainable, understand business threats and develop new routes to profitability
  • film programming: how to change your approach to your film selection to grow audiences
  • technical advice: converting a space into a cinema, adding a second screen, understanding technical considerations. 
  • organisational review
  • cinema development and feasibility studies

The fees charged are based on a daily rate of £450 + VAT.

If you have a project that you would like to discuss with us, please contact David Sin | | 020 7079 0475.

One to One Consultancy

We also offer a shorter One to One Consultancy service, which is useful for assisting and resolving smaller issues. Click here to find out more.  

Free resource

If you are seeking advice to develop a new cinema, we recommend that you first read How to start a cinema, the step-by-step guide to planning and operating an independent cinema.

Film Societies

The ICO is funded by the BFI to provide free advice to Film Societies.

"Broadening horizons and seeing the world differently is - or ought to be - in the remit of film. Which makes ICO culturally significant and to be applauded."

The 2010 Guardian Film Power 100

Independent Cinema Office

3rd Floor, Kenilworth House, 79-80 Margaret Street, London W1W 8TA
T: 020 7636 7120 F: 020 7636 7121 E:

Registered in England and Wales. Company 5369193.
ICO is a registered charity No. 1109053