Cinemas & customer experience.

The UK cinema industry faces a significant challenge in that box office admissions tend to remain consistent year-on-year, rarely breaking the monthly 15 million mark making new customer acquisition a major challenge.

This coupled with at home cinema and disruption from Netflix and streaming services requires cinema chains to offer more than just the best films in an environment directors intended them to be seen - on the big screen. The big chains are constantly looking for an edge which will keep customers coming back.

We conducted analysis of consumer conversations around the sector for three months.  It was the negative discussion segment which was the most telling – proving in granular detail a perfect example of uncovering the blind spot.

Customer Experience is key


Traditional market research and customer polling was not providing insights into where cinemas might find an edge.

And this is where traditional research falls down; when you design research questions based on what you “think” a customer cares about it’s inevitable that in many cases the solicited response will cover blind spots.


Ask a customer if they think their cinema ticket was expensive and inevitably they will say “yes”. It is impossible to design research questions for issues you don’t know your customers have. However, when you simply listen to customers, rather than asking them questions, the raw and authentic issues begin to emerge into patterns which uncover the blind spots.    


We tracked the discussion using search terms which captured all public mentions of the major brand names, films and phrases capturing cinemagoers intent to go and see the latest films. Cutting out “noise and buzz” (discussions not relevant to the client), for example around big name actors, special effects and plot lines, the objective was to get under the hood of how UK cinema-goers were expressing raw opinions of their experiences of a night at the cinema.


By far the biggest driver of negative discussions was “customer experience” within which cinemagoers had many ways of explaining why they had not enjoyed their experience. Mostly this cohered around the sentiment that the operator had “taken my money and shut me in a box”, with very little assistance or customer service. There was a plethora of other issues within this segment, from people complaining that they could hear the film next door, to people eating food noisily, mobile phones going off, people chatting, fighting, kissing, the list was virtually endless.


To address this a number of the major chains have made significant investments in improving the customer experience, from refitting auditoriums, improving sound deadening, and perhaps most tellingly introducing ushers who are trained to add a personal touch to a night out at the cinema.  



At Impact Social we have a strong track record in analysing single issues and delivering in-depth analysis projects across a diverse range of industries, including:  


In the US:

Internet regulation, healthcare, climate change, clean energy, gambling, vaping,

drugs pricing, drug importation, gun reform, trade (NAFTA), senior care, nursing homes, tax reform


In the UK:

Housing, crime, cost of living, insurance, socio-economic groups, the nuclear industry, computer games, entertainment industries, education  & retail.

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