Claudia Pacher • PR and communications consultant
"Niche programming is the future"
- The Austrian expert explains what she believes to be the winning marketing strategies in the evolving cinema industry
In partnership with the International Confederation of Arthouse Cinemas (CICAE), we conducted interviews with three of the trainers of the Arthouse Cinema Training 2022, in order to understand how the cinema industry is evolving. Austrian PR and communications consultant Claudia Pacher explains what she believes to be the winning marketing strategies.
Cineuropa: You recently participated in the training organised by CICAE in San Servolo and hosted a storytelling workshop. What did this workshop consist of? Did you see any interesting projects?
Claudia Pacher: The workshop saw us talking about storytelling when it comes to communication strategies for your cinema/institution. On social media, and also on any other channels you use to keep your audience informed, it is incredibly important to connect with your public emotionally. We discussed the most important aspects of telling a good story with your content, and trainees had the chance to test out various stories for their own projects. We got to look at a best practice example from MUBI UK by talking about their social media campaign for the film The Worst Person In The World [+see also:
interview: Joachim Trier
film profile]. Our participants shared wonderful stories, which showed their individual enthusiasm for cinema and the beautiful variety of arthouse films around the world. We then drilled down deeper to look at how we can bring out these emotions in the wider public: as with any good story, you can’t only have positive emotions. People want to see drama, struggles, sometimes funny and embarrassing moments in order to feel close to a specific place. Engagement increases when you share these things with your audience.
As an expert in online communications, can you tell us which strategies are the best when it comes to a cinema release?
To show genuine enthusiasm for your films. Don’t make any run-of-the-mill releases; make each of them special. There’s always something you can find to give them an extraordinary feel. And of course, follow the numbers. We get enough data and insights nowadays to know what our audience likes and responds to. We need to follow these signs, because every theatre has its own, very special audience.
When and where should we invest when promoting a theatrical release in cinemas?
We heard something really interesting at the CICAE panel discussion in Venice: we’re so globally connected in 2022 that our attention for films is usually at its highest point when they’re first released, and releasing films later in other parts of the world curbs films’ initial potential. Where film releases are still delayed between different regions, it might be interesting to pre-promote a film before it’s available in your country and to promote news-alerts for when it comes around later, for example. Besides that, promotion needs to be as varied and diverse as your resources allow. People all have their individual habits of how they get their daily updates. You need to show up everywhere in order to be noticed, as tough as that is.
How do you think cinema-going audiences are evolving after the pandemic, notably in Austria?
Obviously, we’re seeing less people returning to cinemas compared to pre-pandemic times, and this is also the case in Austria. Yet, cinemas with individual programming and character, and which go the extra mile by offering up never-before-seen events, tend to win back their audiences more easily. You do have to put in a lot of work to create programmes for niche audiences, but that will probably be the future for many cultural entities: offering niche programming for people who are interested in a very specific topic or genre. In terms of communication, this does make communicating your programme more complicated too, but once you’ve found your target audiences, it’s also more rewarding.
Click here for more information about Claudia Pacher.
The Arthouse Cinema Training has been organised by the CICAE. It was realised thanks to the support of Creative Europe MEDIA programme, the CNC – Centre national du cinéma et de l’image animée, the FFA - Filmförderungsanstalt and the Direzione Generale del Cinema of the Italian Ministry of Culture.
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