The cinema landscape - why it's in a better place than you thought

12 Nov 2019

5 mins
Talking at Vue Piccadilly as part of the 2019 Into Film Festival
Talking at Vue Piccadilly as part of the 2019 Into Film Festival

This morning (12 November), we were lucky enough to be joined at London's Vue Piccadilly by Digital Cinema Media's Content Business Director, Tom Linay, who talked to a packed room of Secondary students as part of the 2019 Into Film Festival

Tom's presentation is always one of the fastest booked events of the Festival and a true programme highlight, and his fourth outing did not disappoint. He covered everything from the role of DCM and the changing landscape of cinema to the key 16-34 year old demographic and 2020's packed film slate. Check out the best parts of his talk below.

Most broadly, Digital Cinema work closely with the UK's cinema chains to organise and tailor the adverts that audiences see before watching a film, and they represent 82% of the UK Marketplace. Tom described his role within that as a ‘professional film nerd' as he has to have detailed knowledge of every film coming out as well as an understanding of the audiences attracted to each film.

I love speaking at the Into Film Festival and I think it's really important because young people need to know that opportunities are out there. My job is really well suited to me and I feel incredibly lucky but I didn't know it existed until I was in my early 30s so it's great for young people to see the variety that exists.

Tom Linay, Business Content Business Director for Digital Cinema Media

Perhaps the most interesting and surprising part of the day came with Tom's assessment of the state of cinema. Countering common narratives around the decline in interest in the cinema experience and the rise of other mediums, Tom argued that ‘cinema is in a really remarkable place at the moment' and revealed that 2018 was the biggest year for UK cinema admissions since 1971. He furthered this point with an even more remarkable comparison to 1984 - while that year saw 54 million cinema admissions, 2018 saw 177 million cinema admissions. This can be partly attributed to the sheer quality of content today but is also precisely because of the emergence of alternate entertainment formats like Netflix and Amazon Prime, which have forced cinemas to step up and invest in the cinema experience like never before. While Odeon has embraced comfort and glamour, Cineworld has been investing in the best of new technologies like 4DX and Screen X - an immersive experience that places screens all around the audience. Meanwhile, the 16-week theatrical window isn't going anywhere according to him and the 800 films released in the UK last year shows that variety still certainly exists in cinemas.

His presentation concluded with an exciting preview of the major theatrical releases 2020 has in store for each quarter. While 2019 has been a great year for film, Tom is confident that next year holds more commercially risky but ultimately exciting films, from awards contenders such as Sam Mendes' 1917 and Korean-language Palme d'Or winner Parasite to original blockbusters such as Denis Villeneuve's Dune, Pixar's Soul, Marvel's The Eternals and Christopher Nolan's Tenet. The audience was even treated to an exclusive trailer of the latter, which played earlier in the year before screenings of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

The day finished with a short Q&A where Tom further detailed how he came to work for Digital Cinema Media. While he studied film at university and completed a number of freelance production roles after, DCM landed in his lap partly because ‘I was open to new and exciting opportunities' - certainly a mantra that young people should embrace when looking at where they fit in the cinema landscape!

For more information on careers in the industry, head to our newly created Careers in Film page or check out our resources below on the cinema landscape and cinema design.

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