Deep Dive: Movio's Weekend Insights provides details audience intel

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With its recent debut of Weekend Insights (WI), Movio—the global, cinema-centric and marketing data analytics-based organization—is now focused on providing a weekly window each Monday into cinemagoing audience composition for the previous weekend.

Through its proprietary deep-learning AI algorithms, the company continually crunches the wealth of information it collects via theatrical exhibitor loyalty programs and online ticket-sales platforms based on purchases made by hundreds of thousands of moviegoers across the U.S.

The audience is broken down by gender into three broad demographic segments: Millennials, Gen X and 50+. Weekend Insights also highlights which specific audience segments’ attendance was up, down or underserved. The most recent version of WI is always accessible via movio.co/resources/weekend-insights.

According to CEO Will Palmer, “Movio’s mission is to connect all moviegoers to their ideal movie.” The company has created two products designed to help achieve that purpose. Movio Cinema is connected to POS (Point of Sale) and loyalty programs of leading worldwide cinema chains and profiles every moviegoer, allowing Movio’s partners in exhibition to send personalized, relevant communications to them.

The second product, Movio Media, provides studios with access to an aggregated and anonymized set of U.S. moviegoers. This allows analytical teams the ability to analyze the ideal audience and connect with them via digital advertising.

The WI publication is designed to provide the media and other industry bodies with insight into who (by demographic categories) made up the past weekend’s cinemagoing audience, offering up valuable intelligence beyond simply calculating industry box-office grosses for individual titles.

“Our primary objective is to help the industry understand which audiences were well served by the films in theatre, every weekend,” says Palmer. “The goal here is help film programmers and those dating the films to look at the audience dynamics rather than purely box-office performance, to ensure all audiences are served as best as possible every weekend.”

According to Palmer, Weekend Insights starts the conversation about audiences and how they were catered to on a regular basis. It is Movio’s hope that as the industry becomes more aware of each film’s audience composition, this valuable intelligence will help drive a change in approach in an effort to have something in the theatre that appeals to everyone, every day.

Palmer observes, “By providing this high-level, easy-to-digest window into who attended what film, the narrative starts to evolve and the approach to marketing and programming may well change.”

Weekend Insights also offers the film industry valuable feedback as to the success of their overall and specific marketing efforts in reaching their desired audience, or perhaps bringing into the theatre an unexpected audience.

Let’s look at a recent example from summer 2018, a period in which the box office was widely seen as achieving significantly more success than in the prior year. According to Movio, the data identifies a couple of high-level factors for the year-over-year outperformance. First was record-breaking performances by Avengers: Infinity War and Incredibles 2, combined with a very strong performance by Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.

While Avengers wasn't technically a summer movie, its strong holdover meant that it made in excess of $400 million after the first of May, so it no doubt contributed to the sense that more people were going to the movies during the summertime.

A couple of other releases—The Meg and Crazy Rich Asians—outperformed expectations and also generated some excitement in August, which was lacking in the prior summer. We may see this reverse in September, according to Palmer (note: we spoke to him when the month was more than half over), as there isn't anything comparable to It. Although The Nun brought in a lot of horror fans, the movie didn't have the almost blockbuster-like audience that Stephen King’s It drew in 2017.

Drilling down and looking deeper at changes in attendance between this summer and last (Movio calculates an attendance rise of roughly 15% in 2018), the overall increase was largely driven by a rise in women's attendance (>20%). Interestingly, this doesn't appear to be the result of a large number of films targeted specifically at women—perhaps this summer's films were simply less focused on the male audience.

Child attendance rose approximately 7%, although there actually wasn't that much quality content aimed at children in the summer of 2018. Incredibles 2 accounted for in excess of 25% of all child attendance over the summer, with Hotel Transylvania 3 at 12%, followed by the Jurassic and Marvel films.

While Weekend Insights is essentially a backward-looking service, we asked Palmer to look into his (and Movio’s) crystal ball and make some prognostications about the upcoming holiday period—between Thanksgiving and Christmas—which is typically a big contributor to a full year’s success at the box office. Below is his response.

Thanksgiving looks like an interesting weekend this year, with something for everyone:

- Ralph Breaks the Internet for families.

- Second weekend of Fantastic Beasts for blockbuster fans—it will be interesting if we see a lot of repeat viewings, as frequent moviegoers that went on opening weekend come back with their families/friends.

- Creed 2 and the second weekend of Widows for Mature Action fans.

- Second Act for those Comedy/Romance fans.

- Instant Family (second week) for fans of all-ages comedy.

Christmas is somewhat less interesting:

- Mary Poppins Returns will dominate with families and older moviegoers.

- The competition between Aquaman and Bumblebee for the sci-fi/blockbuster audience will be fierce. It's notable that the majority of the top-grossing films for the past few years have been part of existing franchises. This competition will presumably also affect the second weekend for Mortal Engines, which will probably drop significantly from week one, and may also pull males under 50 away from Will Ferrell's Holmes and Watson.