The year began with much excited hype about how 2015 was going to be the Year of Cinema. We were assured that there was a lavish feast of luscious titles lined up for the movie-going audience. Britta Reid takes a look at how this impacts on media planning.
The treats in store for us ranged from further releases of some of the huge franchises through to the return of some of the Big Screen’s most notable directors. On cue, American Sniper broke US January box office returns.
With so much hype around the content offering, it is intriguing to see Cinemark introducing a new trading approach for the medium. Cinema was originally sold by movie house on a weekly basis. As a planner, one had audited ticket sales for each auditorium and a rate card, which enabled one to calculate the good buys. The concept of ‘following the movie’ was then introduced, which allowed one to target specific audiences more precisely according to movie genre or star. This approach, however, had an element of risk to it, as international box office results are by no means infallible predictors of local success. (For example, both Prometheus and Planet of the Apes were disappointing performers in South Africa.)
Cinemark has just launched the Guaranteed Audience Package, which insulates advertisers from the vagaries of local taste and quirks of seasonality. It undertakes to provide a set level of audience delivery over a period of four weeks on a national basis. (If it can not deliver in that time, the package will run on until had has delivered.) Cinemark assumes complete control of the scheduling in terms of complexes and titles. All Cinemark requires from the advertiser is a minimum entry-level investment of R500 000 (excluding the encoding fee) and, in return, it undertakes to deliver an audience of 500 000.
Guaranteed audience packages are not new – both digital publishers and TV broadcasters currently do offer them. They take both the guesswork and administration out of the media agencies’ hands and allow the media owners to maximise control of their inventory.
The cost of R1 per contact from Cinemark certainly has an appealing ring to it, and someone has certainly commented to me that this was a great deal. Implementation planners and buyers are accustomed to thinking of pricing efficiency either in terms of CPPs (cost per points on TV) or CPTs (cost per thousands in most other media, but a CPP on TV can also be converted to this measure), so a cost per contact is a new measure.
In order to put this into context, I decided to look at the average Cost Per Thousand for free to air TV stations for the last 4 weeks, and convert that to a cost per contact. Because the movie-going audience has a very distinct profile, I defined my audience for the comparison as LSM 7-10, 15-34. For the cost efficiency calculation, I used the undiscounted rate card cost. As most advertisers qualify for some form of discount on TV this will give us a cost that is on the high side. The resultant CPT for e.tv was R250.29. Converting that to a cost per contact gives us a price of 25 cents. The cost per contact on SABC1 was 18 cents, on SABC2 22 cents and 21 cents on SABC3. Discounts could drop that between 5% and 10% lower. So perhaps the Guaranteed Audience Package is not quite the deal it seems.
Most astutely, however, Cinemark did a solid job of marshalling a barrage of recent market research studies demonstrating the superior impact of the cinema medium. This evidence was presented at the launch of the package. Inter alia, Cinemark presented findings from their online Movie Minds study, carried out in 2014, showing that 46% of moviegoers claimed to have bought or investigated a product or service as a result of a cinema campaign. Cinema scored 72% in terms of attention whilst TV scored lower at 60%.
In November 2014, Hall and Partners in the UK released a study proving that the brain is more consciously engaged when processing cinema advertising. It suggests that cinema advertising is 8 times more effective that TV at making a brand standout from the crowd, and that movie audiences are 4 times more likely to be emotionally engaged that TV audiences. Furthermore, the study demonstrates that if people are shown an unbranded still from an ad, 3 times as many cinema-goers will recall which brand it is for when compared with TV viewers. It also shows that cinema viewers are 2 times as likely to recall a brand than those exposed to ads on TV.
If we accept that moviegoing does offer a superior communication experience, and it is hard not to do so, then the pricing of the Guaranteed Audience Package begins to look more palatable.
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