France, Spain, the United Kingdom and Italy between festivals and promotion
by Camillo De Marco
- Phil Clapp, the president of UNIC and Jaime Tarrazon, representing Spanish exhibitors association FECE, spoke at a conference organised at Ciné in Riccione by Box Office
The film festival and forms of promotion in the biggest European markets, such as the recent British initiative by Meerkat Movies, were the focus of the conference “Is this where the party is? Italy, France, Spain and the United Kingdom compared”, organised by Box Office magazine as part of the Ciné event being held for industry professionals in Riccione.
Phil Clapp, chief executive of the UK Cinema Association, sent a long video message outlining the advertising campaign of Meerkat Movies, created to mimic the steady success seen in recent years with the Orange Wednesday initiative: "For ten months we worked on getting the 2x1 initiative up and running, which we launched in April and allows the public to purchase two tickets for the price of one. The promotion was triggered by making a purchase on the website www.comparethemarket.com. The project was backed by a huge marketing campaign made possible by a budget of many millions of pounds”, he explained.
"In France the Fête du Cinéma has been held for 30 years, during which time it has been attended by 85 million people, with an average of 3 million per edition," explained Stefano Radice from Box Office magazine. “But even the French market has changed over the years, adapting to the needs of the sector, before settling into the rhythm of the four current festival days, from Sunday to Wednesday, with tickets costing €4. The marketing campaign boasts the catchy slogan “Look up”. France can also count on the financial support of major partner BNL Group BNP Paribas, which distributes vouchers to clients at the end of the event to encourage them to carry on going to the cinema at a reduced price”.
Jaime Tarrazon, who is in charge of international relations at FECE (the Spanish association of exhibitors), talked about the success of the Fiesta del Cine in Spain. "After the recession in the film market in Spain in 2005, we were looking for something innovative. So in 2009 the Fiesta del Cine was born, modelled on the French Fête du Cinéma. Since last year we have been holding two editions of the event, in May/April and in autumn, with tickets costing €2.90 after registering on the official website. In April 2014 we had 1.9 million viewers, with 2.2 million in October 2014 and 1.6 million in May 2015. Compared to previous editions, the most recent edition did not go that well as it coincided with the semi-finals of the Champions League.” In the first half of 2014, Spanish exhibitors signed an agreement with the industry as a whole to bring back reduced-price Wednesdays (with tickets costing just €3.90).
In Italy the Festa del Cinema brought 2.2 million viewers into cinemas in 2013 and 2 million in 2014. "I’m standing here feeling quite envious of our British and Spanish colleagues," said the president of the association of Italian exhibitors, ANEC, Luigi Cuciniello. "Of course we’re behind in Italy: I think there’s a lack of general awareness of film and forms of promotion; individual films are promoted but there’s no effort to support the film industry as a whole. We’re now trying to work with ANICA and ANEM along with a working group on the October edition, with another edition coming up in April 2016."
(Translated from Italian)