After a recent spate of in-person events, Peter Knight muses on where we are now and shares his gratitude at once again being able to enjoy the many pleasures the industry has to offer.
Isn’t it great to be back again?! For those that have managed to get to CinemaCon, CineEurope or the UKCA conference this year it has been such a treat to be able to reconnect with so many industry colleagues after so long. Sitting in the main auditorium at CineEurope watching some of the slate presentations, and even when investigating some of the new equipment being presented on the tradeshow floor, I was overcome with emotion, more than once, at how wonderful it is to be part of this industry. And I am sure that I am not the only one.
Real Connections Win Every Time
Staying in touch with colleagues via various video conferencing tools is all well and good, but those interactions are just not the same as real-life connections. And let’s be honest, the same is true of trying to watch a movie at home compared to seeing it on the big screen. I would bet that most of us would be able to recall the location of the cinema and the people we were with for most movies that we’ve seen on the silver screen. But I’d guess that most of us can’t say the same about films we’ve seen at home. Looking at the box office figures out so far, it seems that our audiences would wholeheartedly agree.
On a Radio 4 programme the other day, there was an encouraging interview with a ‘young person’ who wanted to go with their friends to the cinema, rather than stay at home to watch another online movie. But, of course, there are still those who don’t feel able to return to our screens even if they would like to, no matter what’s showing. The real question is how we can encourage them back, instilling the confidence in them to return and enjoy the experience. Here, as we all know, is where sharing best practices and insights really is crucial.
The pandemic has allowed – indeed, forced – people and companies to innovate in ways they never would have envisaged pre-2020. Hopefully, these innovations will go on to enhance both our professional and private lives. Some cinemas have developed additional opportunities alongside their traditional business models: private rentals, streaming services, concessions sales. The list is impressive. We’ve also seen an increase in drive-in cinemas using LED screens for outdoor movie screenings. These are all things that I am sure will continue to exist in one form or another in the future alongside the traditional experience.
Another thing we’ve seen is that the pandemic has given many an opportunity to re-evaluate and head in an exciting new direction, ultimately benefiting customers, businesses and, in turn, ourselves.
But I can’t stress how great it is to be back, meeting people for real, having a drink in a pub, or a coffee in a cafe. While we know that things haven’t completely settled yet, it’s so refreshing and motivating to be reminded why I love our industry in the way that I, and so many others, do. And I’m so proud to be a part of it.