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.

Want to find a cinema?

Visit our Advice & Info section for a map of film exhibitors in the UK.

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