A revolutionary way of experiencing cinema was born in October 2012 in the Netherlands. We Want Cinema is an on-demand platform that allows the crowd to choose what is shown in the movie theatre. With a catalogue of more than 1,500 new and old films available, members of the platform can create an event, book the first tickets and invite friends. Only when enough people buy a ticket the event will take place. Users can also join a group of people that share common interests or sign up for a planned film event.
We interviewed Marieke Jonker, CEO & co-founder, and Amy Gottenbos, Marketing Manager.
Question. In a time of economic recession and in the age of Pirate Bay and Torrent downloads, is perhaps on-demand cinema the only way for movie theatres to survive?
Answer. It will not be the only way for movie theatres to survive! However we do strongly believe it is important for cinemas to create new cinematic experiences for the audience. The new generation is not going to the cinemas unless there is something else like a Q&A, interviews, drinks added to the screening… Therefore, We Want Cinema is a good added value for the public. Cinema on demand is more than just a film, the public is able to take control and add a personal touch. Of course, always in cooperation with We Want Cinema and the venues.
Q. As consumers we’re used to the “conventional” way of going to the cinema, is it being difficult to explain this new concept to the general public? What kind of communication strategy are you following?
A. We work for example with group pages on We Want Cinema that show the events corresponding to a certain category. Users are also able to suggest new group pages, which will be created by the management team accordingly. Genres, countries, actors, directors, etcetera, are all possible group pages for specific audiences. We make sure that every associated cinema has its own group page, which registrants can join.
The local groups pages enable We Want Cinema to promote itself efficiently to local audiences, using links to localised landing pages. Therefore, on every local page the concept of We Want Cinema is briefly explained, because first-users could visit it. In the near future we will expand our location based marketing tools.
Q. Which one has been your most successful film/event so far?
A. We are is distributing “Nieuwe Helden, In het hart van de Tour” (New Heroes); the DCP (film) is also ‘on tour’ in the Netherlands, and will be shown in one city, then goes to another and so on. If the movie is not screening in the neighbourhood, the public is able to plan an event through We Want Cinema. This is going very well. There are already 16 confirmed events of which 6 sold out. Succeed of this story is the focus on one target audience who shares a common interest: cycling. The content is very unique and it’s a great documentary to watch. Besides the film’s director film is very eager and knows how to find his public.
Q. You have won several prestigious awards such as the Creative Business Cup, presented by his Royal Highness Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark, how important have these awards been for you and the project?
A. The awards where important for We Want Cinema, since it shows that we are an innovative concept with a rewarding business concept that is challenging the industry, since it is forcing cinemas and content owners to use their venues and content on an controversial way.
Q. Agreements with exhibitors and distributor/rights holder seem quite critical, was it difficult to get them on board? On average, how much do you make per ticket sold?
A. Marieke is also owner of Amstelfilm distribution, therefore she had warm contacts with cinemas and distributors. We started with cinemas throughout the Netherlands, almost every province had a cinema connected to the platform. And we are launching in 8 new cities in the Netherlands. Overall, cinema owners are enthusiastic about the concept and they are willing to cooperate. Of course this system creates benefits for them, since they will be able to optimise their capacity. Likewise, content partners will have the opportunity to refresh and reuse their existing content.
Q. In December 2013, you launched your platform in Germany, how is it going in this new market? Are you in conversations to license the platform to partners in other countries?
A. We are currently expanding to other cities within Europe. As you know we are already launched in Berlin and we are talking with Denmark, England, Switzerland and Greece.
Q. Where do you see yourself and We Want Cinema in 5 years time?
A. Within 5 years We Want Cinema will be the largest European cinema on-demand platform in Europe!
Find out more about We Want Cinema watching their video pitch: