Cinemas Worldwide Prepare for a New Era with Strategic Investments

Driven by evolving audience preferences and a fresh perspective on cinema as an immersive experience, cinemas worldwide are undergoing a rapid transformation


The cinema industry is experiencing a significant transformation. With cinema now viewed as a holistic customer experience, various factors influence moviegoers, including screen formats such as IMAX and Dolby, food and beverage offerings, parking, and family friendliness.


Recognizing these needs, exhibitors worldwide are making strategic investments in new builds, refurbishments, and technology. According to the Global Cinema Federation (GCF), exhibitors are projected to spend around US$2 billion globally in 2023-2024, showcasing their confidence in the future of the big screen experience.




Out of the total US$2 billion investment, US$1 billion is expected to go towards new builds, US$600 million towards refurbishments, and US$400 million towards technology. Now that we know which areas exhibitors are investing in, let’s also break down the major factors driving them to embark on this substantial level-up:


Enhancing the Immersive Cinema Experience

To stand out from home viewing, cinemas are investing in modern amenities such as in-seat dining, luxury recliners, and interactive games. This creates a more immersive and social atmosphere where watching a movie becomes a complete experience. From arriving at the theater to enjoying photo opportunities, giveaways, product samples, and lobby activities, the cinema visit must be memorable.


Rise of Luxury Cinema

Affluent moviegoers see cinema as an essential part of their social lives, and prefer theaters with luxurious amenities. A recent YouGov survey, reported by the Video Advertising Bureau, found that 73% of affluent moviegoers with household incomes of US$100,000 or more favor theaters offering unique amenities and fine dining, enhancing their overall experience.


Popularity of Premium Formats

IMAX, Dolby Cinema, and other premium formats are gaining popularity with more and more titles being made for these experiences. Cinemas are investing in these formats to provide superior viewing options, meeting the growing demand for high-quality cinematic experiences.


Increasing Social Presence

Google Trends analytics show a surge in searches when a movie is announced or stars are attached. When trailers are released, fans flock to social media, turning awareness into excitement. This anticipation lingers until the movie hits theaters. Hence, exhibitors recognize the need to be part of this conversation through their online presence and maintaining engagement. Cinemas announcing social media competitions with big prizes are prime examples of leveraging this trend.


Strong Lineup of 2025 Releases

With several highly anticipated blockbusters, including the most “filmed for IMAX” releases in a year, set for 2025, cinemas are leveling up to handle the influx of eager moviegoers and offer the best possible experience for audiences.


These strategic investments demonstrate the industry’s commitment to evolving and enhancing the cinema experience, ensuring it remains a beloved pastime for audiences worldwide.



Source: Global Cinema Federation, VAB News




Why Media Quality and Attention Will Take Spotlight in 2024 and Beyond

According to a report by WARC Media, global advertising spend is poised for significant growth in 2024, potentially doubling compared to previous years and exceeding $1 trillion for the first time. This surge is largely attributed to the widespread adoption of AI in advertising strategies, with major players like Amazon and Google heavily investing in AI-based advertising solutions to drive substantial revenue growth in the future.

Paul Stringer, an expert at WARC, highlights that while AI has proven beneficial for advertising, its rapid expansion raises important questions about the relationship between humans and machines, the influence of tech platforms, and the future landscape of news and entertainment on the internet. Without proper oversight, there is a risk of widespread AI-generated misinformation, which could make brands increasingly wary of advertising due to concerns about brand safety and ad fraud.

Meanwhile, a study conducted by YouGov and reported by the Video Advertising Bureau (VAB) revealed that 86% of respondents feel overwhelmed by excessive ads on webpages, leading them to ignore advertisements. Additionally, 72% stated that annoying or intrusive ad experiences have negatively impacted their perception of a brand, while 66% indicated that such experiences make them less likely to purchase from the brand in the future, emphasizing the importance of delivering non-intrusive advertising content.

In response to these challenges, WARC addressed the issue in their latest study on the media signaling strength of various advertising mediums, which assesses the perceived cost and scale of an advertising channel in enhancing brand attributes. The study shows that Linear TV currently leads in media signaling strength at 46%, closely followed by cinema at 41% in all age group where as cinema leads in signaling strength for the age group 16-34 with 43%. These mediums remain uniquely positioned to deliver high-impact advertising to a mass audience, crucially in a brand-safe environment, and are likely to positively influence consumers’ perceptions of a brand.




While TV currently leads in signaling strength by 5%, it’s noteworthy that with the increasing adoption of attention measurement by brands and agencies to evaluate creative and media quality, cinema is projected to surpass TV in media signaling strength soon. Consumers are increasingly engaging with high-quality, long-form content on premium video platforms, where cinema advertising proves particularly effective in capturing viewer attention for extended periods.

This effectiveness is supported by findings from NCM and Lumen research, indicating that cinema advertising generates longer ‘eyes-on’ viewing compared to other digital and social channels. A recent study by Val Morgan Australia and Amplified Intelligence further reinforces this, stating that cinema delivers a minimum of 49 days of memory encoding from just 10 seconds of an ad, reaching an audience where half are under 40.

In conclusion, brands and agencies are realizing, backed by proper research, that running their ads on brand-safe premium platforms maintains their brand perception as intended, capturing the right audience with minimal wastage.


Sources: WARC, Video Advertising Bureau (VAB), Mi3, YouGov




Audi and Hyundai Welcome the Women of KSA to the Driver’s Seat

It is probably no exaggeration to say the past year has been the most momentous year in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s history with the announcement of a wide range of social reforms – boosting entertainment and allowing women to drive, to take effect in 2018.

In December 2017, Saudi Arabia lifted a 35-year ban on commercial theaters as part of the country’s 2030 vision (stamped by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman) to modernize and move the country forward. Four months after, in April 2018 we witnessed the launch of Saudi Arabia’s first cinema in over three decades (operated by AMC Entertainment), which was followed by the launch of a 4 screen VOX Cinemas at Riyadh Park Mall – featuring an IMAX screen, 2 VOX Kids screens and 1 VIP screen.

As the official cinema advertising partner of VOX Cinemas, Motivate Val Morgan received an overwhelming response from advertisers within hours of the cinema chain launching in the Kingdom. The first advertisers to book on-screen ads through Motivate Val Morgan were Hotels Combined, Chevrolet, GMC, Emirates Airlines, Homecentre and Cartier, to name a few.

On 24th June 2018 followed the end of a decades-long ban on women driving – enabling women (18 years of age and older) to apply for a driver’s license.

For the vast majority of women in the kingdom, the move allowing them to drive represents a new dawn, offering greater freedom of mobility, access to wider job opportunities, and the reclamation of rights.


Timing their cinema campaigns with the lifting of the ban on women driving in Saudi Arabia were Audi and Hyundai.



To mark the monumental day in history, in which woman in Saudi Arabia got into the driver’s seat for the first time ever, Audi created this gripping and inspirational video.

Audi booked a 1-week on-screen campaign to play on all screens of VOX Cinemas – Riyadh Park Mall from 28th June to 4th July 2018.



Hyundai’s #whatsnext campaign is a message from people all over the world, welcoming the women of Saudi Arabia behind the wheel.

Hyundai booked a 6-week on-screen campaign to play on all screens of VOX Cinemas – Riyadh Park Mall from 5th July  to 15th August 2018.


An amalgamation where a once banned and re-established medium, screens an advertisement welcoming a deeply symbolic move to put women back in the driver’s seat!

Have a tactical campaign you would like to execute on cinema screens in Saudi Arabia?

Contact a member of our sales team for more information.



Sources: Al Arabia (English), Gulf News, Gulf Business and YouTube (YallaMotor)