FAN Young Audiences National Ticketing scheme
As FAN Young Audiences lead, Film Hub London is working on initiatives to support exhibitors in attracting young audiences (16-30) to their venues. One of these initiatives is around pricing structures and exploring the possibility of introducing a FAN wide ticketing scheme and this survey aims to gather your thoughts and feedback on this.
Background and Rationale
Developing young audiences for independent British and international film plays a key role in the BFI’s 2022 strategy and the future of the British film industry. It is widely recognised that cinema going trends for 16-30 year olds have changed, and as a result our industry is looking at ways to entice young people back into the cinema, to support them in sharing the experience with their peers and is recognising the appetite for more diverse and specialised content amongst this age group.
Extensive research has and is being conducted into the cinema going habits of young people in the UK (we have also explored international research for landscape context). Film London has gathered together the published findings to determine the commonalities. The two clear reasons stated by young people as barriers to going to the cinema more often are price and lack of relevant content (or knowledge of its existence).
Existing research conclusions (Film Hub N.I; Into Film, DCM, MASSIVE, UKCA) found that:
· Young people are advocates for film, with cinema being their favourite place to watch the latest films
· Spending time with friends and family is a key motivation for a visit to the cinema
· This age group is time poor and spoilt for choice
· Value for money is particularly important – young people surveyed said they would be happy to pay for membership as long as they knew they could break even
· Majority of young people surveyed thought a loyalty scheme was a good motivational tool for more frequent visits but that this scheme would need to be simple to join and they would ideally like both a physical card and app.
· Food and drink are a crucial element of the cinema going experience to this age group. They increasingly take their own food and drink to the cinema to reduce costs.
· The traditions of the cinema ritual are important to this age group- keeping this ritual consistent, feels more welcoming and inclusive.
· Programming is at the heart of audience development but high prices mean that young people are more risk averse – they need to be sure that everyone will enjoy the film they choose to watch so invariably opt for more mainstream content
· They like free birthday tickets!
American research conducted by Facebook and Vertigo Marketing also indicates that young people in this age group are increasingly buying tickets online, in advance and from third party sites.
Objectives for introducing a scheme
· To maximise unsold capacity
· To increase attendance (and membership) of new young audiences
· To increase frequency of attendance of existing young audiences
· To encourage young audiences to access a wide range of film
Existing FAN member venue schemes already aim to address some if not all of the research findings. Of the fantastic schemes out there the following selection all fit the £5 or under model we are proposing and would therefore not be compromised by this new scheme. All of these venues report that their respective schemes have or are beginning to show signs of increasing young audience attendance at their venues and that these young people are making more diverse film watching choices.
· Broadway, Nottingham – under 25’s £4.50
· Watershed, Bristol – Under 24’s £5
· Tyneside, Newcastle – Under 24’s £4.50
· Showroom, Sheffield- Under 26’s £4.50
· BFI Southbank, London – Under 25’s £3
· Barbican, London – Under 25’s £5
· Phoenix, Exeter – Under 25’s £5
· Depot, Lewes – Under 25’s £4
At these venues there is a mixture of membership and non-membership sign-ups required and some offer further discounts on food & drink and a points reward system as well as a free ticket on your birthday! All of the venues listed above make the price available on all films at all times but excluding special events i.e. NT Live
What is clear is that there is a huge variety of schemes at venues and an equal amount of venues without any specific offer for young audiences. There are schemes for students but we are suggesting this scheme would apply to all young people aged 16-25.
As indicated in the research simplicity is key to any successful scheme, particularly those that require membership. Bearing this in mind and considering all findings we would like FAN members to consider the following scheme proposal and to advise us on what would or wouldn’t work for your venue in the attached survey.
Please note that this is a broad outline and that the details will need to be worked through with interested Exhibitors to ensure the scheme is as compatible with everyone’s systems as possible and the introduction of any scheme is still very much subject to securing funding.
· A public facing, free to join FAN membership scheme for 16-25 year olds
· Each member would be issued with a physical membership card
· The card entitles members to tickets for £5 or less (based on the successful pricing structures of existing schemes illustrated above)
· Discount available on all films, all shows (excluding special events determined by individual venues) bookable 24 hours in advance.
· Programming guidance on relevant titles for less confident exhibitors (in addition to the New Release Strategy titles FAN already highlights)
· A centralised National promotional campaign for the scheme, participating independent FAN venues and Independent film culture in general
· Subject to funding and interest from venues in the scheme we will investigate the possibility of a creating a centralised membership sign-up platform, National promotional campaign and a third-party booking site.
Why a membership scheme?
A membership scheme would allow us and you to communicate directly with your young audience.
Why a National scheme?
We know that young people appreciate simplicity and if the scheme is national the story is straightforward to tell and therefore more likely to have impact.
Why bookable 24 hours in advance?
Research indicates that this age group increasingly likes to book tickets in advance but no more than 1 or 2 days in advance. Evidence suggests that older patrons are likely to book further in advance therefore the suggested 24 hour window is based on the objective of ‘maximising unsold capacity’.
Who would ‘own’ the data?
The ideal scenario is that the data is held both centrally and by each individual venue so that we can communicate the national story and you, the local. We would work with participating venues to agree an appropriate communications schedule. We will investigate the feasibility of a dual login process – one off national scheme membership signup, and a click through link to sign up to their local participating cinema with their new membership number.
If you’ve reached this point in the document then I’m sure you’ll appreciate that this scheme needs your input to help flesh out the details and to ensure it works for you and your fellow FAN member exhibitors. If you’d like to be part of a working group to finesse the proposal I would be extremely grateful if you would indicate so when prompted to in the following survey.
The survey should take 7 minutes to answer and can be completed anonymously, however if by the end you feel comfortable letting us know your venue, it will help us understand the range of venues that we have heard from and those of you interested in hearing more about the scheme.