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Market Summary - Cinema Advertising Insight

Media Update:

Cinema Advertising Insight


QTR 4 2014


Digital Cinema Media
Interesting opportunities in the cinema world

At a Glance

Cinema has always been the most attentive media available to an advertiser.  For no other medium do you make a specific appointment to view and then sit in quiet, fully absorbed concentration for two hours.

Here we highlight different advertising and sponsorship opportunities available in UK cinema advertising. Cinemas offer the advertiser the chance to engage the audience before they have even taken their seats and stay with them as they transport themselves, without distraction, to a different dimension.

These days, the cinema experience is bigger than just the movie.  Advertisers can now work closely with the cinemas to bring their campaigns to life beyond the big screen, pushing the boundaries of cinema to make it a targeted platform for engaged, savvy and ambitious brands.


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In September, 2012 DCM entered their Digital switchover. Cinema advertising became quicker, more flexible and even more creative than ever before allowing advertisers to book campaigns by the day instead of by the week.
The swtichover will mark the biggest change in the medium’s history and unleash a raft of new opportunities meaning that brands can book and schedule media in more tailored plans that are bespoke to their campaign and marketing requirements. The Digital Age has revolutionised the industry, with a new dynamism last seen at the introduction of “talkies” and technicolour. As part of this new era, innovations at DCM mean that advertisers can take advantage of slashed lead times, faster scheduling and more agile speed of response.

DCM has invested in technology that will completely change the way that cinema advertising is booked and scheduled. Instead of block booking media on a weekly basis, it will be possible to book spots by the day, starting at any point during the week and even pinpointing a specific showing at a specific screen if necessary. Copy restrictions will also disappear as deadlines are reduced from three weeks to one and copy changes are made possible with multiple executions or copy rotation. The advances are made possible by the Cinema industry’s £200 million investment in 3000 digital projectors across the UK, 2000 hours of software and the installation of 250 satellite dishes.


What is Cinema Advertising?

The Power of Cinema Advertising

Cinema continues to be the most impactful of all media not only due to the size of the screen and surround sound but with consumers being actively engaged in the experience, captive, willing and have ‘opted in’ to an experience. Consumers see cinema advertising as part of the whole experience, along with the popcorn, trailers and main feature.

Consumers associate the cinema with a set of ritualistic behaviour as the start of their experience and ensured they are fully focussed on the film environment. Consumers get all their ‘business’ out of the way to ensure they are fully alert for the experience and sets the transition between everyday life and the fantasy realm.

"You can feel free, a guilt free sit down. There’s nothing you should be doing, you can’t be dashing off picking someone up or doing the washing” - Mother, London.

The audience makes an appointment to view in its truest sense (made film choice, purchased ticket and set aside time) they surrender themselves to the experience.  Consumers see advertising as part of the event, as an integral element to the build-up along with trailers of upcoming films. All of this contrives to provide a state of mind that exists in no other media.

“Cinema ads have been ‘specifically chosen for you in the cinema’…but on TV they’re for everyone” - Male 25-34, Manchester

“Cinema ads are special vs. TV as ‘everyday stuff’" - Female 25-34, Manchester

“The ads have more impact at the cinema on the big screen” - Mother, London

Cinema offers a rare chance for retreat from the everyday grind.  It has been described as a safe haven, total physical and mental relaxation, an antidote to real life and a place of aspiration, fantasy and glamour. Even in the days of home cinema nothing can recreate the thrill of the genuine big screen experience from the sheer size of the screen, impactful and involving sound, atmospheric auditorium and anticipation.

“It’s escapism, it’s completely a fantasy world” - Mother, London.

"It just totally encompasses you because it’s louder and bigger and you're in it, you're part of it" - Female, 25-34 London.

Cinema Audience

The 'event' nature of cinema offers a unique bonding and social interaction.  It’s a catalyst to ‘together time’ for couples, friends and families and offers a rare opportunity to bond.  The film is a focal point for social interaction and offers a shared experience which fuels talkability.  With the fragmentation of other media, this collective experience and personal opinion is fuelling new ‘watercooler’ moments as well as conversation on social media sites online such as Facebook and Twitter.  These digital platforms are in turn fuelling admissions as networks for word-of-mouth are significantly larger and faster than previously.

Why Cinema Works

Cinema Provides Unique Audiences

Cinemagoers are light TV viewers enabling brands to reach a unique audience.

Large captive audiences

In 2011, Cinema Admissions reached nearly 172 million people –  that's the equivalent of filling the O2 arena every single hour, 24 hours a day, every day of the year with a unique, captive audience.

Low ad avoidance and deep engagement

Cinema has the lowest ad avoidance of all media as cinemagoers perceive the ads as part of the overall experience.  Cinemagoers are in a relaxed and excited state but most importantly focused on the big screen forming a deep engagement with brand messages

Appeal and motivation to purchase increased

It's proven that cinema has a deep message out take because of high attention and improved ability to remember detail. Cinema advertising has eight times greater impact than TV

Dual viewing - increasing talkability

Cinema is a social event with an average party of three providing a rare opportunity to bond with family and peers. This group experience fuels word-of-mouth of what’s on screen.

How Cinema Advertising Works


On screen advertising is traditionally bought in weekly blocks running Friday - Thursday. From 28th September, DCM will be able to offer advertisers the option to schedule spots by the day instead of the by the day. The minimum time unit available is 5 seconds. Guaranteed impacts can be bought nationally, by TV region, following specific film titles or by nominating individual screens. 

Measuring Effectiveness

Research proves that the high impact of cinema means that one exposure to an advert on cinema is as effective as multiple exposures in other media.

Cinema campaigns, just like other media, can be measured by coverage and frequency. The coverage is the proportion (%) of a target audience who have been to the cinema and therefore exposed to a campaign. The frequency is the number of times those people will be exposed to the activity (number of times they go to the cinema).


Cinema commercials are shown on 35mm & 70mm film or digital and 3D. If your advert has already been produced for TV transferring it cinema is simple, we can take care of everything for you.


All cinema adverts need to be cleared before production by the Cinema Advertising Association and the BBFC to ensure your campaign meets industry standards.

To make buying on screen easier we offer packages that include films that target specific cinema audiences.

Audience Guarantee Package (AGP)

The Audience Guarantee Package (AGP) is the most cost-effective way of reaching the whole adult cinema audience.

AGP campaigns run with all films except children's films. They guarantee the required number of impacts for your campaign.

Costs are calculated using a fixed cost per thousand and a seasonally adjusted admissions base.

Impacts are guaranteed and monitored using actual weekly admissions data provided by Nielsen EDI. The AGP package is available nationally or by TV region and is segmented to reach a variety of targeted or niche audience groups.

Female AGP - Read more

Male AGP - Read more

Youth AGP - Read more 

Premium AGP - Read more 

Alcohol Packages - Read more

The Alcohol Package is designed to ensure that alcohol brands can target the highly relevant adult cinema audience whilst ensuring that their advertisements are only shown with appropriate films. Similar to the Audience Guaranteed Package but only films deemed to have an audience of 75% or more over the age of 18 are included.

Family Focus Package - Read more

Family Focus can be purchased by coinciding with school holiday dates, by film, annually or by matinee to target a core housewives and kids audience.

Film Specific package -  Read more

Film packages offer advertisers maximum targeting and flexibility by buying into any film on the schedule.

The Film Package is available by week nationally, by TV region or by location.All films are available to buy as a film specific package, but some are only available via this route. In 2012 these films include: The Dark Knight Rises, Skyfall and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

Key Features & Benefits

Cinema Advertising

nema Effectiveness

Below is a snapshot of how cinema can be effective. For further details search our research case studies or contact our reseach department.

Cinema can add incremental reach onto a multimedia campaign:

For Aviva, cinema helped their TV campaign work harder by increasing consideration to take up insurance from 69% to 78%  Read more

For a recent FMCG brand - (McCain Rustics) by shifting just over 10% of their TV spend to cinema, they increased their cover by 4%. Read more

The single task environment equals deep message out-take:

Cinema generated considerable depth of recall for Butlins’ sponsorship of Odeon Kids – 97% of those aware of the cinema ad accurately recalled something about it.        Read more 

Lloyds cinema exposure lead to better understanding of their advertising message by 15% and promoted positive feelings of the Lloyds brand by 10% over and above other media. Read more 

Creates a dual-viewing experience which fosters talkability:

Half of those who saw the Butlins ad discussed it with their child, furthermore the majority of conversations had a degree of pester power, with 63% agreeing their kids tried to persuade them to go to Butlins.

Cinema drives ad recognition, appeal and motivation:

Cinema exposure improved stand out and appeal of a Lloyds TSB’s ad

  1. Stand out improved from 61% to 77%
  2. Appeal increased from 41% to 45% on cinema vs's their ad tracker reading
  3. Cinema increased consideration to use Lloyds TSB as a first choice by 10%

Cinema delivers low ad avoidance and high engagement:

Cinema has the lowest volume of ad avoiders across all media, with only 8% avoiding advertising at the cinema. Looking at this figure in the context of TV (44%), newspapers (68%), magazines (61%), DM (52%) and even radio (16%), cinema is the clear front runner.

Cinema has the lowest ad avoidance of all media as cinemagoers perceive the ads as part of the overall experience. The audience are relaxed and excited but most importantly focussed on the big screen forming a deep engagement with brand messages

Appeal and motivation to purchase increased

It’s proven that cinema has a deep message out take because of high attention and improved ability to remember detail Cinema advertising has eight times greater impact than TV

Dual viewing – increasing talkability

Cinema is a social event with an average party of three providing a rare opportunity to bond with family and peers. This group experience fuels word-of-mouth of what’s on screen and social networking fuels buzz and advocacy around films and brands.

Key Audience Strength


Cinema allows you to target a broad range of audiences including:

7 - 14 year olds

  • 38% of 7-14 year olds go to the cinema with their mum or dad, which is 2.6 times more likely than the average cinemagoer
  • 7-14 year olds have an average party size of 3.79

15-24 year olds

  • 37% of 15-24s go to the cinema with friends, being 38% more likely to do so than the average cinemagoer
  • 96% of 15-24 year olds watch the ads before the film
  • 15-24 year olds have an average party size of 4
  • 72% of 15-24 year olds will watch a film at the cinema during the first 2 weeks (excluding any previews)
  • 23% of 15-24 year olds are heavy cinemagoers, going once a month or more


  • 42% of males go to the cinema with a boyfriend or girlfriend
  • Males are 27% more likely than the average cinema goer to watch a film at the preview
  • 89% of males watch the ads before the film
  • 48% of heavy cinemagoers are male*


  • 33% of females go to the cinema with a boyfriend or girlfriend
  • 90% of females watch the ads before the film
  • 52% of heavy cinemagoers are female*

Housewives and Kids

  • 49% of housewives go to the cinema with a child aged 7-14 years
  • 21% of housewives go to the cinema with a child aged 0-6 years

*Source: Fame2010

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