All eyes on cinema

Research from Lumen and DCM unveils high attention levels for cinema advertising

Georgie Moreton

Deputy Editor, BITE Creativebrief


Cinema was one of the industries that suffered the biggest hit throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, yet following blockbuster releases such as James Bond: No Time To Die, Spider-Man: No Way Home and recently Top Gun: Maverick, punters are steadily returning.

At the recent Digital Cinema Media (DCM) Upfronts, research from Lumen revealed high levels of attention for cinema advertising. No less because the big screen creates an intimate environment for audiences and with event cinema, blockbusters and arthouse offerings there’s truly something for everyone.

The research titled ‘Centre of Attention’ explores the levels of attention given to cinema ads and compares the medium to other forms of advertising. The report uses attention and brand recall as a currency showing that audiences not only watch but take note of ads at the cinema.

Findings reveal that cinemagoers watch an impressive 24 seconds of an ad; the highest attention medium. This impact is highlighted when compared to the norms from Lumen & TVision’s databank, which show that on average people view 14 seconds of a TV ad, 4 seconds of a non-skippable YouTube ad and 2 seconds of an infeed Facebook ad.

In particular, for brands aiming to increase awareness and recall, exposure to an ad in cinema was found to deliver uplifts on key metrics including ad awareness (+17%), brand image perceptions (+19%), consideration (+16%), and intention to act (+23%). 

At DCM’s annual Upfronts event UCL’s Professor Joseph Devlin explained some of the psychology around why cinema continues to draw in audiences and why content is so memorable for the audience. Academic research highlighted how the cinema environment’s design is deliberately perfect for increasing focus and amplifying emotional response to the on-screen narratives, with high-quality exposure truly delivering for brands. 

This idea of storytelling and using narrative within advertising is also important when considering the creative of an effective cinema advertising spot. While cinema has a ready-made engaged audience, maximising on this engagement may mean creating a spot designed specifically for the medium. 

“Cinema’s premium, high quality context for experiencing advertising ultimately increases the likelihood of making a strong, memorable impact that provides depth of information and processing – which when triggered by subsequent reminders on other channels can reinforce that initial impact.” explained Professor Joseph Devlin.

To winter and beyond

Whilst TV advertising prices are set to skyrocket come Christmas with the World Cup in Qatar, cinema prices remain fixed and there’s a jam-packed schedule guaranteed to bring in audiences. 

Over Christmas, an adaptation of the stage musical Matilda is set to be released drawing in a family audience. In the coming months Jordan Peele’s latest horror, Nope, will no doubt appeal to the 18-34 market and there’s an array of Superhero blockbusters like Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and the long-awaited sequel to Avatar that will make 2022/23 an exciting prospect for both punters and advertisers alike. 

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