Interview with Claudiu Tanasescu, CEO and Founder, Share Dimension
Vista recently acquired a stake in Share Dimension. How does this deal affect the scope and impact of your services?
We developed this product with a global market in mind, and obviously you can’t talk about a global market in the cinema industry without the United States. We were just waiting for the right partner at the right moment to expand to the U.S., and both those conditions were realized with Vista when they acquired a 50 percent stake in the company. It became an important opportunity to expand and a huge opportunity to look at all of the synergies between our products. This applies not only to linking Vista with our offerings, but also feeding back our own analytics and forecasts into Vista modules. We see a lot of synergies between our products, and we’re of course benefitting from Vista’s global footprint.
Cinema Intelligence is your forecasting, planning, and scheduling solution. What sector of the exhibition business do you believe can it influence the most?
One of the things that we’re working very hard on is to leverage the power of big data and our forecasting module. We are looking at films anywhere between three weeks, six months, and up to a year prior to their release. We want to leverage that into what we call “long-term booking,” a functionality where cinemas will be able to plan programming weeks in advance through our forecasting module. We are finally at that point where people can plan up to four weeks in advance where to schedule their new releases and holdovers, all with an exact screen count, giving exhibitors a much more powerful tool to start engaging with studios and exhibitors. We empower exhibitors in that discussion and negotiation through our analytics and data.
Why is film booking primed for a shift in strategy in North America?
A lot of booking decisions tend to be made by either a studio agreement or a gut decision by the booking team. We’ve done a comparative study of the U.S. and European markets, looking at a similar-sized multiplex, and found that in the U.S. they were running an average of 14 different films, whereas in Europe they averaged 28—double that amount. That means a lot more choice for moviegoers. It also means that you see the lifetime of each movie last longer—a film can last around three to five weeks in a U.S. theater, while in Europe that goes into 10 to 12 weeks. You can earn revenue for another eight weeks on a given film just by optimizing your schedule and keeping that product in the market. By identifying those movies and extending them, you are also extending their earning potential.
Another aspect we see a lot in Europe is a shift from admission-based scheduling into what we call profit-based scheduling. Instead of optimizing admissions, you optimize the net profit of each show. To build that, you look at the total box office for that particular show time, you subtract the rental fees you pay to the studio, and you add concessions sales on top of it. At the end you end up with a dollar amount that you can compare between show times. That’s something that data analytics and forecasting can help with, and we want to be part of that process; our module is able to forecast admissions at the moment, and we’re working to integrates POS (point-of-sales) and concessions systems so we are able to add a significant difference in a theater’s net profit.