Is Cinema Dead?

Shopping centres have been developing their offering over recent years, incorporating leisure and F&B tenants to make the visit to schemes an ‘experience’.  This trend of ‘experiential shopping centres’ has been rocketing throughout the industry in recent years and will be continuing throughout 2017, fighting the battle of online shopping known as ‘bricks over clicks’.

The digital developments have meant online shopping is not the only challenge affecting shopping centres. The number of affordable movie platforms now available is now putting pressure on centre’s cinema offering. Not only do consumers have the option to shop online, they can also watch a wide range of movies on Netflix, Amazon, Sky etc. This means, centres need to be more creative with their marketing, events and promotional strategies to drive consumers to their cinema, and subsequently, increase footfall into the shopping centre.

Across Magazine recently reported that cinemas adjoined to shopping centres are causing mass influxes of visitors, but at very irregular patterns. This is seemingly due the big blockbuster movies driving a high volume of interest, but the smaller movies struggling to find an audience.  The shopping centre tenants are suddenly becoming overwhelmed and struggling to cope with the footfall when the big films are released, but due to the inconsistency, they cannot commit to investing in additional staff to respond to this. This may mean that for 2017, a big focus will be put on driving loyal, regular cinema customers so that shopping centres can create long lasting strategies to manage the footfall generated from cinemas.  The ‘limitless’ loyalty scheme, giving guests the opportunity to watch as many films as they want for a set price a month is a great example of cinemas working hard to combat the unpredictable visitor volume!

Even though Across Magazine’s report suggests cinemas are struggling for footfall, it is not slowing centres developing them.  Meadowhall have submitted plans for a £300m extension including a state-of-the-art cinema to replace the existing. The Rochdale Riverside shopping centre development is planned to contain a six-screen cinema, St Modwen has also agreed a deal with Reel Cinemas for a new six-screen cinema at Kirkby Town Centre redevelopment and Queensgate shopping centre is due to have a £30million cinema-led redevelopment, all starting this year.

Cinemas have been in and next to shopping centres for years and they won’t be disappearing anytime soon, they are a major part of the ‘bricks over clicks’ battle. Shopping centres are relentlessly developing their offerings to combat the digital age, incorporating digital into centres to create a partnership with technology rather a battle. This can be seen through initiatives such as; click and collect; apps; beacons and mobile transactions. This is in addition to developing their leisure offerings through cinemas, F&B tenants, and more unique tenants such as rock climbing.

Cinemas are a core leisure offering which is becoming expected from today’s increasingly demanding and savvy consumer, so I think it is safe to say, they won’t be going far fast!

Kat Whitehead, Marketing Executive, Foundation Recruitment

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