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Segmentation analysis

The cinema industry categorises audiences in many different ways but often relies on an age-related scheme which closely follows the film certification categories (U, PG, 12, 12A, 15, 18):

  • Children (5-11 years old)
  • Family groups
  • Teenagers / young couples / students
  • Adults

Research by the All Industry Marketing (AIM) Committee for the UK cinema industry has proposed two new audience segmentation schemes. The ‘lifestage’ categorization draws attention to the elements of the cinema-going experience that each group seeks – popcorn, comedy and thrills for the teenage audience contrasting with a bar drink and a quality film for 40+ year old adults.

The categorisation by ‘attitudes’ seeks to identify the small but highly important group of enthusiastic cinemagoers. Apart from being regular attenders these individuals are often the opinion leaders who influence other less committed people to attend.

Life-stage categories

  • Teens (<16 yrs)
  • Teens / singles / couples (<25 yrs)
  • Those with young families
  • Those with older families

Or attitude categories

  • Cinema enthusiasts / regulars
  • “If nothing else to do...” (socialites)
  • Reluctant
  • Non-attenders

The motivation to attend a cinema, and the opportunities for doing so, varies considerably from group to group. Teenagers living in a rural community may want to see a film each week but might have to travel 10 miles or more to get to the nearest multiplex cinema. Without a car this may be impossible. Families may want to attend regularly but the total cost (travel, tickets, confectionery) is sometimes felt to be too great. Older audiences may enjoy cinema-going but feel that the area around their local cinema is unsafe during the evening.

Within the broad leisure sector, operators are increasingly focusing on the social aspects of leisure and on four influences affecting the choice of activity:

  • Group composition – who do we attend cinema with: family, friends, or alone?
  • Mental and physical energy – a small proportion of attenders are highly motivated to attend cinema and encourage friends to join them. Others are tired after work or have family commitments.
  • Location – will it be possible to have a complete evening out in one location?
  • Deals and events – Given the relatively high cost of regular cinema attendance deals such as family tickets and subscription schemes can be attractive.

For local cinemas a ‘Friends’ scheme may offer useful benefits for both the cinema (loyalty) and the customer (discounts and special events).

“Why cultural film is no longer a secret, independent cinema is thriving against the odds, says the ICO's Catharine Des Forges, and closer to home than Hollywood”

Read the full article on the Culture Professionals Blog, The Guardian

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