One Big Step For Village Cinemas
Village Cinemas has ended the universal ban on mobile phones in movie cinemas. From last week, audiences in VPremium cinemas have been allowed to use their phones to order in-seat food and beverages. Hallelujah!
Some online commentators and news outlets would have you believe that the end of the world is nigh. Smartphones in cinemas mean glowing lights. Menus mean conversations. Ordering food means that Village Cinemas staff will be moving around the cinema during the film. So many distractions. And even though phones are now only allowed pre-show (but seriously were any of us turning them off before the endless stream of advertising ended), words such as slippery slope are being bandied around.
And I’m not actually going to disagree on that last point. This is definitely a slippery slope.
People will get used to having glowing smartphones in a movie cinema – even though they are only pre-show at this stage. Technology will adapt so that the cinema experience isn’t as hindered by these smart phone qualities. And the clever entrepreneurs amongst us will no doubt use this as an opportunity to enhance the movie watching experience to include the internet. And here are a couple of areas where they can start:
- Who’s that actor/actress?
It’s the perennial question we ask when sitting on a couch at home watching a movie. ‘Who’s that? I’m sure I have seen them in something.’ This is often followed by a conversation, whipping out a smart phone, hopping onto google, finding the cast list, identifying the performer and looking through their performance history to find the other shows in your regular consumption.
What about an app that identifies which performers are on screen at the moment providing easy click-throughs to their biography and film credits?
- Obscure references
Ever missed a joke? Everyone in the cinema is laughing at a pop culture reference that is outside your knowledge or before your time. That isn’t a great feeling . . . but the smart phone is in the perfect position to solve that. Whip out your smart phone and get a quick rundown on the context of that reference – it could only enhance your understanding (although it may lead to some delayed laughter which could be a bit awkward!).
- The Hook
Every service is looking to hook in their customers to return visits and that is the role that the pre-show previews play. They identify the target market that are expected to see the film and advertise targeted movies which they think you will like. Except there is one big issue. You have to sit through two and a half hours of movie before you can actually act upon these recommendations. What about if this Village Cinemas app tracked your movie consumption and was able to give you incredibly tailored movie recommendations based on what you had seen in the past at a Village Cinema. It could give you release updates, local showing times, even offer recommended packages based on what you usually order for in-house food and beverages.
So yes, there may be more glowing smart phones, more conversations, movement within the cinema. But think about the benefits that could come off the back of it.
Congrats Village Cinemas!