A leading cinema operator predicts an increase of at least 15 percent in advertising earnings at theaters across Thailand this year, after a positive first-quarter performance.
According to a Nielsen survey, ad earnings by cinemas in the first three months rose 37.35 percent year on year to 2.1 billion baht (US$68.3 million). This expenditure was ranked the third largest in ad spending, after television commercials with 15.9 billion baht ($517.4 million) and newspaper ads with 3.7 billion baht ($120.4 million).
Niti Pattanapakdee, general manager at Major CineAd, a subsidiary of Major Cineplex Group – the country's largest cinema chain – told The Nation that his media agency was responsible both for selling ad space and TV commercials in theaters, as well as organizing events for film sponsors and product owners.
Major CineAd manages advertising and events at all branches of Major Cineplex Group, namely Major Cineplex, EGV Cinemas, Paragon Cineplex, Paradise Cineplex, Esplanade Cineplex and Mega Cineplex.
Niti said that with the parent's more than 400 screens across the country, the agency's ad earnings accounted for 70 percent of overall cinema ad spending.
The company expects that this year cinema ad billings will see at least a 15-percent increase over last year's level.
He said there were two key contributing factors driving this year's billings. First, there are numerous international and local blockbuster films in the pipeline, which makes it easy to attract movie-goers and make money.
"I would say a film that generates more than 100 million baht ($3.25 million) in revenue could attract more than a million viewers. This number of eyeballs is big enough to make advertisers and product owners confident about spending marketing budgets through cinemas," he added.
Second, advertisers and media buyers are looking to new media that can access the young generation and first-jobbers, and cinema ads are among such high-potential media.
Besides businesses, government agencies such as the Energy Ministry and Thailand Tobacco Monopoly are also increasingly advertising via cinemas.
Additionally, with the focus on business expansion upcountry, cinemas will become more of a mass-media channel, providing yet more room for growth, said Niti.
In an earlier interview, SF president Suwat Thongrompo said his company had earmarked about 800 million baht ($26 million) for 30 to 40 new cinemas in five provinces: Suphan Buri, Ubon Ratchathani, Maha Sarakham, Surat Thani and Udon Thani.
SF currently runs more than 260 cinemas across the country – 126 of them in Bangkok – under the SF World Cinema, SFX Cinema and SF Cinema City brands.
It also operates SF Strike Bowl and SF Music City.
Of the total, 30 per cent are digital cinemas.
SF recently partnered with Suzuki Motor (Thailand) in promoting the new Suzuki Swift eco-car through its cinemas across the country this year.