Getting into the Generation Z mindset
Bologna, Saturday 22th – Wednesday 26th June 2019
Led by Madeleine Probst (Vice-President of Europa Cinemas and Managing Producer, Watershed, United Kingdom) together with Hrvoje Laurenta (Manager, Kino Europa in Zagreb, Croatia) and Daniel Sibbers (Director of Marketing, Yorck Kinogruppe, Germany)
The Europa Cinemas network was responsible for 41.9 million admissions for European films in 2018 (almost twice the admissions for European film compared to the global market). With 1,194 cinemas in 724 cities and towns in 43 countries the network continues to underpin the life of European films and plays a key role in engaging people in the diversity of film culture in an increasingly homogenous market driven by global players.
These are both vital and demanding times for cinemas that are at the forefront of meaningful interaction with audiences. As highlighted in a recent EC members survey The Knowledge Economy, How Data is Transforming Audience Relationships (Michael Gubbins, SampoMedia), there is a widespread recognition that audience attitudes are changing rapidly and that there is value in understanding and responding to those shifts; whether through personal observations and experimentation, social media analytics or more sophisticated customer relationship management systems.
Over the past 15 years, Europa Cinemas has facilitated the sharing of know-how among cinema practitioners though the Audience Development and Innovation Lab here in Bologna as well as offshoots in Sofia, Sevilla, Cluj, Sarajevo, Leipzig, Thessaloniki. Over the years, the labs have brought together over 1,500 participants to grapple with the vital question of how to develop audiences for a broader range of films.
The focus this year is on Generation Z; the post-millennials born between 1997 and 2010 into a digital culture they did not create. This generation is already reshaping society and our understanding of how people interact on and offline. Most iconic is Greta Thunberg whose call for action on climate change has inspired people all over the planet. Meanwhile in film, we have seen Kayla in Bo Burnham’s Eight Grade struggling through anxiety in real life, yet compelled to become a more confident person by posting self-help videos on ‘Being Yourself’ and ‘Getting Yourself out There’.
In an era of increasing digital distractions and unprecedented availability of films – old and new, legally and illegally accessed – on a multitude of platforms, where does the cinema fit with audiences’ expectations and viewing habits? What can cinemas learn from the post-millennials and how can we make sure that the cinema experience and our offer remains relevant to this hyper-connected, self-conscious and socially aware generation?
How might we re-invent cinema going culture and venue brands with the insights and help of Gen-Zers? Whether that’s developing opportunities that connect with their search for personal growth and informal learning; building authentic ‘personal’ brands on and offline; being inclusive and ‘safe’ spaces; or just joining forces with them to make the world a more sustainable and fairer place.
We first of all need to understand the expectations of the cinema from this new generation. Only then, can we start making meaningful connections that will retain this new generation’s interest, ongoing engagement and support.
With a little help from Gen-Zers, leading practitioners from the Europa Cinemas network and other experts, this lab will offer a space for reflection on the issues outlined for some forty exhibition practitioners from Europe and beyond.
You can expect insights about and from young people, case studies from organisations that have found effective ways of reaching out to the next generation and removing barriers to engagement; from targeted marketing campaigns and ticketing offers to more sustainable and inclusive approaches.
We’ll also look at strategies that might unlock the potential of younger generations and how more inclusive work cultures can help build more sustainable organisations with a deeper engagement with audiences.
As we are in Bologna, living and breathing proof that our rich cinema heritage is very much alive, we will also reflect on how cinemas can play a role in engaging younger generations in the past of cinema, something that Il Cinema Ritrovato does so brilliantly and without compromise.