Let’s go to the movies!
There is massive transition occurring in many industries.The Movie or cinema industry being one. Reinvention becomes essential to survive. Check out this interesting article about Soletrpreneurs Vs Plumbers for example.
So let’s see what’s on at the movies:
The movies, the pictures, the flicks… whatever you call it, a trip to the cinema might conjure up feelings of nostalgia as you remember awkward first dates, or feelings of terror as you recall the price of tickets plus concessions for a family of five.
There’s no denying that the cinema industry is currently undergoing a transition, pushed to broaden its offering as it faces indirect competition from film streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime.
Just to go off topic a little, i am sure you are aware that MANY industries are in transition phase right now.
Back to the topic of the cinema transition and pressure on them. Theatres are responding to this pressure by enhancing the viewing experience; more and more screens now offer luxury reclining chairs, and cinemas are becoming licenced so they can serve alcohol to customers.
The advent of 3D cinema has also introduced a new aspect to viewing that can’t be replicated at home.
This all comes at a price of course, and when you consider the extortionate mark-ups applied to concessions (which generate an estimated 85% profit), for many people a trip to the cinema is no longer the cheap date or family outing that it used to be. And with Generation Y fixated on the tiny screens in their hands, is there still a place for the big screens in their entertainment schedules?
But let’s not linger on the bleak future of the industry any longer. Instead let’s take a look at the fascinating history of cinema in the UK, discovering how it brought us to this point.
The first true motion picture, Sortie de l’usine Lumière de Lyon by the French Lumière brothers, was released in 1894. At this stage, all films shown in cinemas were silent films (not accompanied by any recorded dialogue or soundtrack). It was only in the early 1920’s that technology made it possible to broadcast sound synchronised with the moving picture.
It was around this time, not coincidentally, that popcorn began to be consumed in cinemas. Before this, owners had been trying to keep the noisy snack off the premises – partly because of the distraction it created and partly because they wanted their cinemas to have an upmarket feel similar to a live theatre.
But once the sound of the film was able to muffle the sound of crunching, and once cinema owners realised how much profit they could make on this in-demand concession, popcorn crept its way in. By the mid-forties, a trip to the cinema was synonymous with a bag of popcorn in your hand.
The first dual-screen cinema didn’t appear until 1957, in Canada. Multiple-screen theatres followed shortly after and became the norm in the 1960s, with many single-screen venues being retrofitted to incorporate additional auditoriums. Cinema managers were able to increase profits by having the same number of core staff managing multiple film screenings simultaneously.
About this time, drive-in movie theatres became popular in the United States, enabling people to enjoy a screening from the comfort of their own cars. It’s hardly surprising that this style of viewing never took off in the United Kingdom, seeing as it’s dependent on good weather.
Now, if you had to guess at the year which saw the highest number of cinema admissions in the UK, what would you go for? Maybe some time in the last couple of decades?
Well, it was 1946, immediately post-war, when 1.64 billion tickets were sold. That’s over 10 times the number sold in 2014. Admissions actually stayed at over 1 billion for 17 years, between 1940 and 1956. But by 1960 that number had halved, and it continued to drop to an all-time low of just 54 million ticket sales in 1984.
For most of the 21st century, admissions have stayed firmly between 155 and 175 million – nothing like the numbers seen in the golden age of cinema, but at the same time not signalling the kind of decline that might be expected as a result of other technological advances.