Corinne Thibaut – On Cinema, Leisure & Coca-Cola…

corinne(This interview was published in TheatreWorld September-October 2015 issue)

The Coca-Cola Company, known for its flagship beverage Coca-Cola, has been omnipresent at the cinema exhibition businesses world over. The main sponsor for this year’s CineEurope convention at Spain, Coca-Cola once again enthralled the audiences by showcasing a new theme for the lounge. TheatreWorld catches up with Corinne Thibaut, International Director, Cinema & Leisure, to bring you an indepth analysis of the Coca-Cola seminar and to understand what makes a complete film viewing experience.

Think of a complete film viewing experience and what comes to your mind instantly is relishing your favourite munchies and drink in the interval or even as you watch the movie. Food and beverages have always made our cinema time a lot more savouring and fun filled. And it’s the omnipresence of this one beverage at the concessions stands that’s hard to miss no matter where you are – Coca-Cola or simply Coke! The Coca-Cola Company, the multinational beverage corporation, known for its flagship product Coca-Cola, has been making an indelible mark at the cinema exhibition businesses world over. The main sponsor for this year’s CineEurope convention (22 – 25, June 2015) at El Centro De Convenciones Internacional De Barcelona, Spain, Coca-Cola once again enthralled the audiences by showcasing a new theme for the lounge. CineEurope, the official annual convention of UNIC and the premier get-together of the cinema exhibition community in Europe, organised by Prometheus Global Media (PGM), ended with a remarkable response from the exhibitors and attendees. Raghavendra T, Editor-Publisher, TheatreWorld was at the convention to get you a first-hand perspective of the insightful sessions.

The Coca-Cola Company’s seminars have been the highpoints of CineEurope. It is a unique opportunity for cinema owners and other stakeholders in the business to leverage the in-depth research undertaken by the Company in understanding the overall cinema experience. The Coca-Cola seminar at CineEurope 2015 titled ‘Growth in the Experience Economy’ was presented by Corinne Thibaut, International Director, Cinema & Leisure and Enrique Burgos, Digital Manager at The Coca-Cola Company.

Corinne has 21 years of experience in sales, marketing and business development. She started her career with Master Foods in 1994 and joined Coca-Cola in 1999. Coca-Cola appointed Corinne in the role of International Director, Cinema & Leisure three years ago. In that role, Corinne oversees Coca-Cola’s engagement with the cinema industry across Europe.

At the seminar, Corinne explored the different possibilities of businesses tackling the challenge of delivering memorable experiences in the ever competitive world; how the cinema experience in Europe stacks up; and how to connect with your visitors to personalise their visit and make it an event – every time. The focus on value digital signage for cinema owners adds not only to the overall guest experience, but also to the possibilities of maximising revenue growth.

TheatreWorld brings you an indepth analysis of the seminar presented by Corinne Thibaut.

Cinema Research for
Coca-Cola by IPSOS 2014

The findings of the Cinema Research conducted by IPSOS for Coca-Cola offer key insights into understanding the possibilities of unlocking the immense growth potential in the cinema exhibition business.
The cinema research was conducted last year in 10 countries in the EU region (18,700 interviewed in the age group 15 to 59 years) with a two fold objective:

  • To understand the drivers and barriers in going to the movies and buying food and beverages (F&B) in cinemas
  • To understand the overall cinema experience

Despite massive investments in the latest technology, admissions to cinema halls in Europe have remained unaffected. According to the Research, it is found that 55% of people have not been to the movies in the last
12 months and that 30% per cent of the movie-goers do not consume food and beverages at the cinema. In fact, more people visit toilets (66%) than concession stand (45%).

Barriers: When asked why people had NOT visited in the last 12 months: 54% said it was expensive; 27% sought time pressure as a reason; 23% said they had other responsibilities; 17% said it was the film choice and 11% said movies do not match their schedule.

Why people HAD visited in the last 12 months: 49% go to relax and unwind; 30 – 39% go to enjoy with family and friends; 34% go to indulge; and 26% go to socialise.

The research also highlights the drivers of going to movies:

  • The film offer (94%)
  • Technical quality (93%)
  • And very low down the list: the Ambience (9%). While the overall ambience is a driving factor for only 9% of the moviegoers, 80% believed it is an important aspect.

Conclusion: The film offer and technical quality are the major drivers, and there is a massive opportunity to drive cinema experience, which is currently perceived as very poor!

“The structure of the Coca-Cola presentation is based on PITA model (Population, Incidence, Transaction Size and Amount),” informed Corinne Thibaut and added “The model proposes: Drive more people to the movies; Entice more people to buy cinema and F&B; Incentivise people to buy more; and finally Persuade people to spend more.”

Strong Correlation between F&B Consumption and Visiting Cinema

Analysing the consumer profile of those who consume F&B at cinema has revealed some facets that can be of practical significance to cinema owners. Those who consume more F&B:

  • Have a younger age profile
  • Go more often to the movies
  • Have a higher intent to visit
  • Have a more positive evaluation of the overall experience

This clearly indicates that people consuming F&B are highly important customers to the cinema exhibition industry.

Barriers to F&B Consumption: Why people had NOT purchased in the last 12 months: expensive (58%); lack of variety (20%) and unnecessary (20%).

The missing link where one can make a difference is tapping the 55% who haven’t visited cinema.

Overcoming Barriers

Pricing – Improving the Value for Money Perception

The research indicates that 54% of people had NOT been to the movies due to prices! People feel nervous about spending too much when they go to movies.

Moviegoers who had visited in the last 12 months said:

  • Price is an important aspect (88%)
  • Cinema is rather expensive (50%)
  • Movie-going offers value for money (10%)

The enormous success of ‘Cheap days’ (almost as big as the Saturdays!) demonstrates the price elasticity. But discounting doesn’t have to be the solution:

  • All inclusive packages can help improve the value-for-money perception.
  • “Also, the principle of “Expandable Consumption” can apply, where pre-paid cards can drive admissions without discounting aggressively,” said Corinne Thibaut. For instances, if consumers have more beverages stocked at home, they would consume it more frequently – hence the multi-pack packaging works! The same principle applies to movie going.
  • Finally, “Satisfied or money back”: this innovative offer in cinema has been successfully tested in France. If a moviegoer dosen’t like the movie and leaves the auditorium within the first thirty minutes, s/he gets money back, making the investment low risk and thus driving admissions,” informed Corinne Thibaut.

Time – Positioning Movie-going as a Full Evening Night-out

According to the research, 27% of the people sight time pressures as a reason for not visiting cinema. But people DO have time (and money) for plenty of other activities. It’s only that going to the movies has moved down the list, as there is increased competition in terms of leisure time activities such as surfing internet and relaxing at home. “Positioning movie-going as a full evening night out to capture more time and money is poised to make a difference,” suggested Corinne Thibaut and added “The core idea is that new customers will visit provided there is a good implementation of F&B and entertainment. Cineplex in Canada is the best example! The entertainment company is diversifying its business beyond movies and deploying a ‘social destination’ concept, which will combine dining, gaming and live entertainment. Similar initiatives have been witnessed in Europe with Cinema Paradiso and ephemeral concept by MK2 in France, for instance.”

Promoting Cinema for its Mental Benefits 

A research conducted by Dr Holland, demonstrates that going to the movies is the only activity which gives your brain a vacation. One gets so lost in a movie that the brain doesn’t try to take actions. People feel more relaxed and less stressed after the movie. These mental benefits of watching a movie in a cinema need to be communicated to the consumer.

Other Responsibilities

Another finding of the research is that in the lifecycle of moviegoers, admissions of young adults drop once they have kids. 23% of the people said they had other responsibilities. Some cinemas have been quick to address this. “Kinepolis Madrid, for example, converted an auditorium into an indoor playground with child care facility. Odeon Milton Keynes has a kids zone in the movie theatre. The idea is to ensure parents and kids can enjoy the movie together,” said Corinne Thibaut.

Film Offer – Let Consumer Choose

If 17% of the film goers were not satisfied with what the film had to offer, this is indeed a wakeup call! Screening old blockbusters on popular demand is a way to go. Let customers choose which movie they want to see again on the big screen. Enabling consumer taking control of cinema by voting for their favorite movie and sharing the event with their friends is a smart way to drive admissions when the film offer is poor!

Fitting into Schedule

Movie timings not matching the consumer schedule is a barrier for 11% of movie-goers, while it is an important aspect for 83% of them. This is another barrier that needs to be addressed. Some cinemas have done so by showing a movie every 10 minutes – A highly convenient option for viewers.

Motivations & Drivers for Going to Cinema

Relaxation & Indulgence: For 34% of the population, indulgence was the motivation while relaxation motived 49%. And 39% go to movies just to have fun. Taking cue from this, some cinemas are taking indulgence and relaxation to the next level. Pillow cinema (cosy bean bags and waiter service to your pillow) and hot tub cinema make for a truly memorable and pampering night out. The core idea is not just to show movies but to celebrate them. If Diet Coke Hunk at the Ladies nights can be a blast, cinemas should give it a try!

The Film offer is the driving factor for 94% of the people, and technical quality for 92%. “Mainstream movie-goers are unwilling to pay a premium price for it technical excellence as they tend to get lost with all the new developments. Kinepolis is leading the way in improving technological understanding by communicating the consumer benefits of the technical advancements. Trailers are played in cinemas, educating
movie-goers about HFR and Laser Ultra,” Corinne Thibaut pointed out.

Desingning Memorable Experiences

The overall atmosphere or ambience ranks very low down on the list: driver for 9%, while 80% of people think that it is important. There is massive opportunity to improve the ambience, and the theory of the experience economy can help cinemas to achieve this. The core competence of the cinema owners lies in upgrading their offering from selling products or services to selling experiences. Themed restaurants such as Hard Rock CafĂ© and Planet Hollywood are best examples as they have been wrapping experiences around their food offer, to sell it better. So people come for the experience, not for the food! Walt Disney has been the very first one to understand and exploit the concept of experience.  Similarly, the cinema exhibition industry needs to focus on the overall experience, bring back excitement and magic and deliver memorable experiences to ensure a sustainable growth.

Theme the Experience: Have a well-defined theme that will captivate the customer to make the experience memorable.

Provide Clues to Strengthen the Experience: All the “little things” make the difference between an “average” experience, and a “fantastic” one. It’s as simple as a
red carpet to welcome the customers (ideally leading them to the concession stand).

Eliminate Negative Queues: According to research, it would take three positive experiences to balance out one negative one! And the most negative element the consumers typically experience in a cinema is the queues. Cinema owners must take cues from olden days when live street entertainers used to sing or perform in cinema queues. New technology can be used entertain people waiting in queues.

Mix in Memorabilia: Including memorabilia in the movie-going experience by selling movie merchandise in a beautiful shop is a great idea. Guests can go through the shop when leaving the cinema.

Engage All 5 Senses: The more senses an experience engages, the more effective and memorable it will be. F&B can leverage all senses!

Driving F&B Sales

The Coca-Cola seminar encapsulates some solutions to address the barriers to buying cinema F&B and to incentivise people to buy more.

Coca-Cola suggests introducing entry packs/affordable offers as a way to address negative price perceptions. Better to sell a little something, rather than nothing!

AMC has been addressing the “lack of variety” barrier to buying F&B by offering and communicating about a broad range of their retail concepts.

Even though F&B is NOT a necessity (one can survive without eating or drinking during show time) people want to indulge themselves when going to movies. There is an opportunity to make F&B convenient with innovative packaging solutions. Linking combo offers with the movies is a good idea. Vue International, for instance, has been using the right look and feel and tone of communication so that the offer becomes especially appealing to movie fans. Pathé Switzerland showcases F&B on the big screen during the changeover. As far as maximising revenue and profit from beverages is concerned, the key lies in the right set of cup sizes & prices.

Persuade People to Spend More: Several cinema chains in the US have proven the case by offering luxury seating and quality service. AMC is a case in point. The company announced plans to convert 25% of all its screens to luxury seating. More and more theaters are offering a first-class experience with dine-in movies, cocktail bars, special events and luxury seating. A lot of people are willing to pay a premium to attend movies in these kind of luxurious surroundings.

Coca-Cola’s Vision –
The New Digital Consumer

Coca-Cola’s vision for future is simple and clear: Build further brand love and brand value by generating compelling stories and positive conversations about their brands. This requires moving the
marketing to a whole new space.
To communicate with people in more personal and intimate spaces, the focus needs to change from: reach to relevance; awareness to experiences; engaging audience to building trust; collecting data to managing data and scale marketing to customisation.

To communicate with people in
more personal and intimate spaces,
a 7-point strategy will help unlocked the growth opportunity.

Mobile First: One needs to shift out mind-set to engage with an always on mobile population

Content is Crucial: Content needs to be credible positive, real and culturally relevant

Social Fluency: Being available to consumers when they need you

Product as a Media: Any product has its own digital life

Data Activation: Leverage data to deliver a personalised experience to the consumer

Right Partners: Using the right partners in the right way

Context Triggers: Understand the context and deliver right triggers to drive purchase

Corinne Thibaut Concludes: “the growth potential is out there, and delivering memorable experiences to movie-goers is key to ensure sustainable return – making the experience bigger than the movie.

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