The lure of a captive audience: Val Morgan’s Suzie Lamborn on the state of cinema advertising

At a time when consumers have more movie-viewing options than ever before, some may find the growth of various box offices from around the world slightly surprising. But heading to the cinema remains very appealling and where there’s an audience, there will be advertisers, especially if it’s of the captive variety. So with Val Morgan recently holding its new season launch and showing off some of the big movies heading our way next year, we asked cinema network sales director Suzie Lamborn a few questions about how the medium is faring from an advertising point of view. PLUS: Val Morgan’s move into digital out of home with Tower TV. 

How has Val Morgan’s ad revenue been tracking over the past few years? 

We’ve seen good revenue growth in a challenging market. The really exciting aspect of our business right now is the interest we are seeing in the future release slate, with high demand and advertiser interest in many of the blockbuster titles ahead, such as Fifty Shades of Grey, Avenger Age of Ultron, Furious Seven, The Second Best Marigold Hotel and many others.

How many people have attended the movies this year in New Zealand and how has that changed over the past few years?  

2014 has been a good year at the box office. For the calendar year to date admissions are running about five percent ahead year on year, at just over $14 million. New Zealand has a strong cinemagoing culture with admissions per capita running at generally comparable levels with the US and Australia and ahead of many European markets.

How has new audience measurement tool CineTam influenced the decision makers? Has more accountability led to more advertising revenue? 

CineTAM was launched in New Zealand about three months ago and with more accountability it’s helping us open doors and have some conversations at a different level with brands than we have been able to do in the past. It provides a new level of accountability to not only post-analyse campaign performance but also to assist planning.

Do you have any goals to reach a certain amount of total ad spend share? What kind of percentage does cinema advertising have in other markets? Is it similar to New Zealand? 

Cinema in New Zealand attracts roughly one percent of advertising spend and it runs at a comparable level to many other international markets. Our focus is to increase the number of brands using cinema and we have already had significant success in this area, with our brand count increasing by 40 percent over the last couple of years.

Why is cinema growing as an ad medium?

Alongside the best content, cinema provides advertisers an unrivalled ad environment and minimal ad avoidance. This is particularly relevant in today’s market with audience fragmentation rife and achieving cut through an increasingly difficult challenge for advertisers. Cinema delivers a captivated, distraction free audience, in a relaxed and receptive mindset. It is without doubt the most impactful audio-visual media delivery available and is proven to have six times the engagement and power of television and improve brand consideration by 40 percent

Elsewhere in Val Morgan land, it has recently announced an expansion into the rapidly growing digital out of home market in New Zealand in a joint venture with Gordon Frykberg’s Oggi Digital called Tower TV. 

According to a release, Tower TV provides a digital network in excess of 200 screens located in the foyer/café environment and lift surround area of between 50-70 high profile office buildings and complexes around New Zealand. The screens will run real time content including time, weather, news updates, sports updates, financial and stock market updates, exchange rates and business leaders’ Twitter feeds wrapped around advertising. 

“The Tower TV model borrows the very best from similar office networks already successfully operating internationally and our association with Val Morgan Outdoor who operate probably the largest and most successful DOOH business in Australia means we will be using the very best equipment, software and technology with a revolutionary measurement system known as DART, which has just launched in Australia and will enable a level of accountability in NZ DOOH never before possible,” says Frykberg in a release. 

It is currently working on property installations and expects to be officially operating early in the New Year with “our own small but perfectly formed sales team”. 

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