Movie Theaters, Business Trends and Audience Management

“Movie theaters, business trends and audience management” was the title of a session organized by the Cluster at the headquarters of the SGAE Catalonia, with the aim of reflecting on the present and the future of commercial film screening, its new business models, and its relationship with viewers, distribution and production.

Led by Pio Vernis, director of marketing at DeAPlaneta, the session brought together examples of already consolidated screening models such as commercial multiplex, represented in a local business model by Pere Sallent of Full HD Cinemas in Cornellà, and in a multinational company model by Lucas Albanell of Cinesa. Both are large-format models based on the mass public appeal that hold a large share of the market.

The session also included the presentation of other screening models. For example, Alberto Tognazzi of Screenly, a company dedicated to the organization of on-demand screenings, and Nacho Cerdà, of Phenomena Experience, a company committed to recovering classic films in a single-screen movie theater, presented their different models. They are examples of proximity film models with a selection aimed at segmented audiences.

Additionally, Carlos Fernandez from Filmax provided the point of view of a company engaged in the three areas of production, distribution and exhibition. He initiated the debate warning about the need to promote a greater integration of these areas in order to provide quality products tailored to the characteristics of the cinema rooms and the expectations of viewers.

Together, the speakers agreed on the urgency to attract audiences to theaters: “the common goal is to mobilize the viewer, to get them off the sofa.”. But they disagreed on how to achieve this. The multiplex commits to improving the technical sophistication of the rooms (large screens, enveloping screens, immersion experiences …) and to the marketing with an eye towards a greater understanding of the viewer. Screenly and Phenomena, meanwhile, operate with the philosophy that the value of cinema attendance resides in the collective experience and therefore they base their strategy on conceiving cinema screenings  as public events and their audience as a community.

Audiovisual Production, an Investment Opportunity

An audiovisual production can be seen as a financial product and, therefore, as an investment opportunity. This is an idea that is still seen as strange in the eyes of many investors, and even producers, but that is being gradually accepted both nationally and internationally, with increasingly abundant cases of success. This was the issue addressed in the session, “Audiovisual production, an investment opportunity”, organized by the Cluster with PROA, Talenta, and Ecija, in the Cercle d’Economia, and opened by Raimon Masllorens, president of PROA.

Adrian Guerra of Nostromo Pictures is a good example of a producer (in this case, from the film sector) that integrates private investment as part of the financing of his projects. During his speech he explained the way he relates to investors and at what stages of the production of the film he engages with them. “Be serious, plan the project well, provide security to the investor. Investors tend to be very loyal, and if you work well, they will surely continue to invest in your projects.”

At the same time, more and more consultants are advising their clients to invest in the audiovisual sector, such as Talenta, an investment service company. One of its partners, Roger Miralles, presented the process and the legal and financial structures normally used to secure investments in an audiovisual project. He also referred to the risks related to fiscal security, which in Spain can be a problem, given the arbitrary ways that tax inspectors can interpret the law. “In general, it is profitable to invest in the audiovisual sector, but must be done under certain conditions. First of all, the investor should be considered a producer. If it’s done well, and the projects become solid, the investor could receive returns of over 50% .”

Private investment is used to finance not only movies, but also series, documentaries and animation. Carmen Pascual, Juan Salmerón and Emilio Prieto, lawyers for Ecija, have extensive experience in advising on a wide variety of projects related to the audiovisual field. “Up until now, the field was dominated by films , but lately we also get series. In fact, with the arrival of Netflix and HBO in Spain and what is being offered by Telefónica, private investment in series is growing. Until now this was impossible because of the monopoly of TV´s with regard to rights and tax deductions.” Additionally, the lawyers highlighted that investors tend to prioritize audiovisual projects with an international character, since they guarantee safer returns.

In general, the speakers were optimistic. Tax deductions, they said, although still too low in Spain (except for better conditions offered in the Canary Islands and the Basque Country), provide favorable investment opportunities. It is expected that this will change as the situation in the country improves. In addition, the legal architecture is improving and, from the fiscal point of view, it is becoming increasingly safer to invest in the audiovisual field in Spain.

Music and Audiovisual, New Narratives for New Windows

Even if it is difficult to generate commercial success, the intersection between audiovisual and music has been an area of interest for large production and distribution companies for some time now. Notable examples to this are the National Film Board of Canada -NFBC- and Academy Films (England), companies focused on consolidated audiovisual content video clip production, among other projects.

Small, independent companies have also shown an interest in this intersection, entering the music scene in the area of audiovisual production, such as Snoop Barcelona,a young advertising agency. In the same vein, some innovative projects have recently emerged such as Genero.TV (Australia, United States, England), an online platform that connects brands with musical artists and filmmakers to create music videos and other video content, and Rotor Videos,  online app based on personalized and quick creation of music videos.

These five companies, role models of the successful intersection of music and the audiovisual, participated in the session “Music and audiovisual, new narratives for new windows”, co-organized by the Cluster and framed in the PrimaveraPro On-Screen program, a new section of  Primavera Sound, which took place at the Center of Contemporary Culture of Barcelona (CCCB).

The Present and Future of Connected TV

The impact of connected television, which fuses television and the Internet, is the focus of an intense debate which has been discussed in the meeting “The present and future of connected television”, organized by the Cluster in the Audiovisual Market of Catalonia (MAC), in the city of Granollers.

The session, which is part of the Digital & Media Forum program, was moderated by Quino Fernández, new media consultant, with the participation of Geni de Vilar, product manager in the area of digital media of CCMA; Samuel Fabra, project manager of Sony; Xavier Redón, product manager of Cellnex Telecom; and Oriol Solé, CEO of

It is not easy to assess the impact of connected television. It is still not a single, consolidated device, although some experts predict that in a few years it will play a central role in content distribution and viewing practices. In fact, according to data presented by Quino Fernandez and Samuel Fabra, the acquisition rate of connected TV´s is rising (34% of the Spainish population have one). Even though it still does not represent a significant level of popularity (in France up to 60% of the population have one) and despite the fact that few device users connect it to the Internet (only 44% use connectivity, which results in only 17% of the population using fully connected TV), it is predicted that its use will reach broader European levels.

Data from TV3 is also revealing: According to Geni Vilar, 48% of the consumption of TV3 digital products is through mobile and tablet use (this proportion is constantly growing), while 44% is on computers, and 8% is on connected TV.

Given this situation, Quino Fernandez said that the situation of connected television is still unclear. “There is an overflow of devices that baffle the user. Just as we saw six years ago with mobiles or twenty years ago in the case of television, people do not know what to buy.” Furthermore, Geni de Vilar (CCMA) stated that, from the perspective of television stations such as TV3, a lack of standards hinders the development of applications and services. “Suppliers are not making it easy,” he said. Samuel Fabra then alluded that Sony has for some time been promising to manufacture a type of device that fully integrates HbbTV (Hybrid broadcast broadband TV), a European technological standard that allows for the sychronization of all devices and that, according to the speakers, should be the primary method of accessing online content through the TV.

In this vein, Xavier Redón (Cellnex Telecom) focussed on the evolution of HbbTV in recent years, in which it included increasingly more features and entered into more European countries. He also presented, some examples of the varied uses of HbbTV in Europe, where applications for children, TV shows, sports scores, weather data, games, etc. are featured Finally, Redón warned that one of the reasons that HbbTV is still not widely known in Spain is among other things, the absence of advertising.

From the perspective of a firm based strictly on Internet activity, Oriol Solé, CEO of a firm specialized in the cataloguing and personalized managing of audio-visual content (, warned that it is still too early to be sure about the user behaviour related to connected television and its interaction with other devices, especially given that the more traditional use of TV is not likely to disappear.

Accordingly, Geni de Vilar indicated that TV3´s best bet for the future is based on the full adaptation of content to the user’s needs through a multi-deviced and personalized experience. That is, it is committed to a range of content that always considers each type of device in relation to the specific situation of the user (such as being in the subway on the way of work, or at home at night, etc.) The product manager in the area of digital media CCMA also concluded that, in any case, one of the biggest challenges of this model of user experience is, and will be, to monetize the content itself.