Australia’s independent cinemas should band together to share the costs of collecting data on their customers which will enable the indies to compete more effectively with the major chains.

That’s the key message which Movio CEO William Palmer will deliver at the Independent Cinemas Association of Australia conference being staged in Sydney on April 29 and 30.

The New Zealand-based Movio runs the data for the loyalty programs and concession sales at Village Cinemas, Event Cinemas, Hoyts, Palace, Rialto and Ace Cinemas, tracking the moviegoing habits and demographic profiles of 5.2 million people.

Palmer tells IF, “I am suggesting the independents form a collective, an ICAA-type structure, to share the costs of collecting data, which also draws on social media and mobile apps, to compete with the major chains. They can commercialise the value of this data in market research and marketing campaigns.”

He proposes a three-step plan. 1. Participating exhibitors agree on a minimum standard of technology for point of sale and the internet. 2. Establish a collective loyalty/data capture program. 3. Appoint an authority to commercialise the data.

Themed Growing the Market and held at the Dendy Opera Quays, the conference will focus on the core business of content and marketing. ICAA has 93 members representing 830 screens, which equates to more than 80% of the independent sector.

Pablo Gonzalez, co-founder and chief operating officer of US company Tugg, will explain how his cinema-on-demand service can build new audiences and filmgoing communities and create new business for exhibitors.

Among the panels, NixCo’s Fiona Nix, Sony’s Libby Rhys Jones and Entertainment One’s Sandie Don will update attendees on how to use social media as part of marketing strategies to grow the box office.

Icon’s Nick Hayes will lead a discussion with Gonzales, Palmer, Mathew Preen of cloud-based cinema management system provider Veezi, Golden Link’s Cath Hogan and CMax Davenport’s Katrine Elliot on the My Cinema marketing initiative which aims to give independents a powerful new platform.

Limelight Cinemas’ Ross Entwistle, 20th Century Fox’s David Townsend, Dendy’s Claire Gandy and The Picture Show Man’s Denis Parkes will examine the effectiveness of the pre-show presentation and trailers.

ICAA president Kieren Dell will conduct a session with Christie Digital System’s Tom Schwartz, Christie Australia and India’s Michael Bosworth, Fox’s Ryan Hughes, Hoyts DCG’s Adam Wrightson and Holding Redlich’s Michael Selinger on cinema operations, equipment and safe work practices.

Lori Flekser, executive director of the Intellectual Property Awareness Foundation, will provide an update on the organisation’s consumer campaigns and education programs.

Val Morgan Cinema Network’s Daniel Hill and Cally Scivetti will explain how the company is working to attract new advertisers to cinema.

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