Earlier this year, Boxoffice partnered with Celluloid Junkie to present the fourth annual list of Top Women in Global Exhibition, published in our CinemaCon issue. Throughout 2019, Boxoffice will continue to honor the women who have an immeasurable impact on the exhibition industry with a series of in-depth profiles.
Christine DelGuidice-Kraemer, SVP Marketing, Spotlight Cinema Networks
Spotlight Cinema Networks specializes in a national network of art house and luxury theaters in the highly competitive U.S. cinema-advertising market. The company counts Cinépolis Luxury Cinemas, Silverspot Cinemas, Landmark Theatres, and Laemmle Theatres among its influential exhibition partners in the U.S. Christine DelGuidice-Kraemer’s marketing role at the Spotlight Cinema Networks has expanded as the company entered the event-cinema space in 2018 with its CineLife Entertainment division. CineLife Entertainment made a splash in its first year with the international release of John Carpenter’s Halloween, which reached nearly 1,800 screens in 28 countries. DelGuidice-Kraemer oversees the marketing duties for cinema advertising and event cinema.
How has the world of in-theater marketing evolved since you joined Spotlight? How do you see it evolving in the coming years?
In-theater marketing has changed much over the past seven years. While the immersive experience remains a pivotal attribute for in-theater marketing, here are a few developments that have contributed to the evolution of Spotlight:
- Advanced digital technology, such as content distribution and in-theater signage, provides the opportunity to reach moviegoers at all touchpoints within our network’s theaters. Additionally, these advancements afford our clients flexibility and short lead times.
- Long-form content, either created by Spotlight or provided by clients. Brands continue to face an increasingly crowded media marketplace to get their messages seen and heard. Compounding the problem are the dramatically shifting media consumption habits of consumers, who are increasingly being drawn to smaller screens on mobile devices. Spotlight provides the platform for advertising partners to stretch their creative muscle and craft cinematic movie-quality content that’s big on storytelling with dramatic pacing and development, music, and visuals to ensure their brand messaging makes a lasting impression. Luxury auto, apparel, and travel are the top categories utilizing Spotlight’s capabilities and platform.
- Engagement marketing is another area of growth. Advertisers and consumers alike look for opportunities to provide direct engagement with a brand via brand experience. Engagement experiences facilitated in-theater include branded theater and pre-show takeovers, first-to-market initiatives such as a hyper-real audio “test drive” for a luxury auto utilizing Dolby Atmos technology, and dimming theater lights via smart speaker activation in movie theaters. Brand engagement extensions beyond the theaters include premier film festival and film awards programming sponsorships where advertisers receive significant brand exposure, product placement, and/or sampling opportunities.
- In collaboration with Art House Convergence, we’ve created CineLife, our consumer-facing app, to unite art house and independent theaters under one app. CineLife helps these theaters serve their interests and provide discerning movie audiences with a mobile resource that deepens their relationship with the films they love.
In-theater marketing will continue to change as new technologies and offerings hit the marketplace. We will continue to seek new initiatives that solve an issue and/or enhance the overall cinema experience. We have grown significantly during the past seven years, and I expect nothing less for the coming years.
What’s your favorite part of your job at Spotlight?
I like the autonomy I have, because it allows me to innovate. I also love the people I work with! There is a genuine spirit of cooperation and shared goals—all revolving around helping our clients—that I have not found at other corporations.
It is always changing, always evolving, and I get a front-row seat watching the process of a simple idea grow the company. Every day is different, and it is a constant adventure!
Can you describe an early moviegoing experience? What made it so memorable for you?
My mother took my sister and me to see Charlotte’s Web at Radio City Music Hall. Once the movie started, everyone in the audience just focused on the enormous screen. It was mesmerizing the way the big screen captured the audience’s attention. I’ve been hooked ever since! Nowadays, you can find me at either an art house theater or a dine-in for a date night—I am a movie junkie!
Can you talk a bit about some of the mentors you’ve had in this business?
With over 20 years in marketing, I’ve had the opportunity and privilege to work with many mentors throughout my career. The knowledge, guidance, motivation, emotional support, and role modeling shared has been instrumental. I strive to pay it forward whenever I can.
What is your proudest achievement of your time so far at Spotlight?
There are actually a few that stand out. Spotlight was still in its infancy when I joined in 2012. Since then, I’ve been able to significantly increase the visibility of Spotlight in both the ad marketplace and exhibition community through corporate rebranding, online presence, promotions, events, and partnerships. Another key initiative was the development and continued evolution of our pre-show. It was critical to deliver a pre-show that resonated with our luxury and art house theaters and their moviegoers. Our elegant pre-show focuses on less clutter and features independent short films from exclusive partners, including IMG/WME’s M2M and Vimeo. It has been heartwarming to receive positive feedback from exhibitor partners, advertisers, and moviegoers regarding our format and growth.
Our event cinema division, CineLife Entertainment, launched in 2018. Along with an aggressive event cinema release calendar (and individual event marketing campaigns), it was key to create/sustain visibility as an event cinema distributor within the exhibition and distribution communities. I’ve been able to successfully establish our presence in this realm through division branding, online presence, press, and event promotions.
What are the key accomplishments you would still like to make during your time at Spotlight?
A few key endeavors include developing an online community of our moviegoers to converse with on a daily basis regarding everything and anything about the movies and our art house and luxury cinema network. This level of engagement will be critical to our continued growth within the advertising, exhibition, and event cinema distribution communities. Additionally, I look forward to taking our affiliations to the next level and expanding our offerings and presence even further.
What advice would you give to women just entering the movie exhibition business?
My advice is to work hard and find ways to create your own opportunities. Seek experiences or relationships with people outside of your organization to diversify your circle of who you do business with and broaden your learning experiences (e.g., volunteer on a communications committee). It’s also important to build and nurture your network while always remembering to pay it forward by taking the time to meet with other women. Lastly, be authentic and stay true to yourself.
You’ve been integral to Spotlight’s expanding into the event cinema space. Can you give us a glimpse of what sort of growth is planned for CineLife Entertainment moving forward?
Bernadette McCabe has recently joined Spotlight to spearhead our event cinema division, CineLife Entertainment. We anticipate several major announcements in the coming months. It’s a bit premature for me to discuss, but we’re excited about the upcoming release of two original Peanuts classics: A Boy Named Charlie Brown and Snoopy, Come Home. This is the first time each feature film is available for theatrical viewing since 1969 and 1972, respectively.
Describe your ideal moviegoing experience.
Being fully immersed in the experience from the time you walk through the theater door, an inviting film-viewing environment inclusive of luxury amenities, forward-thinking film, and first- class customer service.