How many times this morning have you reached for your phone, only to not really remember why you picked it up? You unlock it and your thumb naturally navigates its way to your most used app, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp, and you scroll mindlessly for a few minutes, maybe for longer. You’re probably doing this while staring at another screen whether that’s computer or TV or maybe even while you have a conversation with someone or are pretending to read your book. Netflix and chill? Rather, Netflix and scroll.
This is the reality of consumer attention in an ecosystem in which attention is only ever partial. An environment which makes any advertising medium that can sell that ever-elusive consumer attention, free of distractions, command a substantial premium. It's a trend that goes some way to explaining the growing wave of brands increasing their investment in cinema advertising, as well as the growing number of consumers choosing to switch off at the cinema.
Cinema audiences in 2018 reached their highest for 50 years and latest research released by Digital Cinema Media (DCM) partnering with Differentology, revealed that, of this audience 16-34s account for nearly half of all cinema tickets sold each year. The research, entitled Mission 16-34: Launch, Land, Impact, also demonstrated that young audiences rate cinema advertising as the audio visual format they feel most positive towards.
Meanwhile the success of Avengers: Endgame, which recently surpassed Avatar to become the highest-grossing film of all-time worldwide, underlines the stellar line up of new releases. While the length of the film, at 3 hours and 2 minutes, busts the myth that consumers are always looking for bite-sized content.
It’s a strength that advertisers are recognising the power of cinema too, with DCM reporting a 12% rise year-on-year in cinema ad spend. It is in front of a cinema screen that, as an advertiser, you can actually grab and hold your audience’s attention. No skipping, no going to the loo in the ad break or muting to discuss what just happened in the programme. Just entertainment for entertainment’s sake, whether that’s in the form of an ad or an epic blockbuster.