The increasing impact of AI on cinemas
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become a giant in the tech industry and is transforming the workforce as we know it in all kinds of ways. Everything from transportation manufacturers to home appliance companies is using machine learning to streamline everyday activities.
Less publicized is the movie theater industry, which is gaining ground that they previously lost to streaming services by using AI and similar technology like machine learning to their advantage. They have learned to adapt to this technology, and are revolutionizing their marketing to bring viewers into theater seats. As a matter of fact, there are a number of film studios that are experimenting with AI. Notably, movie theaters have taken this opportunity to physically bring people to their theaters rather than count them lost. The movie theater isn’t dead. It’s just transforming, and it’s doing so with the help of AI.
A large appeal for the use of AI in movie marketing is personalization, which isn’t too surprising. AI really shines in analytics and compiling data about customer decisions and trends, so it’s natural that a giant industry like the film industry would utilize it to understand and communicate with their customers. The change from previous forms of movie marketing, however, is how exactly they reach those individuals.
This concept begins with personalized advertisements. The movie advertisements you get on streaming services are being sent to you personally because AI has determined you will enjoy the movie in question. Furthermore, AI will be directing ads with price incentives for movies or concessions at customers based on how likely they are to see a certain film.
“Giving movie-goers the opportunity to buy a ticket in advance for them and three friends might be the best way to go,"Movio Chief Executive Will Palmer told Indiewire. "On the other end of the spectrum, you might have this ‘least likely’ group, and you’ve got to make a decision: do I leave that group alone or do I activate that group? That might be a case of putting some form of price-based incentive or concession-based incentive to try to attract that group."
The idea is that people can buy tickets in advance, as well as concessions. They will be offered discounts when they’re promoted movies that AI thinks they will enjoy based on past experience and purchases. These things are all offered on an individual basis, and tailored specifically to individuals due to data gathered by AI analytics.
AI help desks and virtual assistants are being used in several industries that depend on customer care for their income and revenue. But these same bots are also beginning to allow people to order concessions before they even get to the cinema. Imagine how this might change the movie-going experience.
For instance, think about all the times you have waited in line for popcorn or drinks, and how the person ahead of you may not have known what they wanted. If you’ve ever been late to a movie due to prior responsibilities, this is particularly frustrating. But imagine if you could order that food with your ticket. You could just walk up, grab your order, and head into the movie without waiting for people to make up their minds. This makes the movie-going experience much more efficient, with less waiting and better delivery.
Additionally, some apps are teaming up with movie theaters to replace the app MoviePass, an app service in which moviegoers paid $10 for a month and were able to see one movie a day for the entire month with no extra charge. Unfortunately, this ended up being unaffordable. And while Moviepass still exists, it’s much more selective with which theaters and movies it works with.
Some developers have been working to create similar apps with more practical operations and replacing the ticket-buying process altogether. Regarding an app called Sinemia, The Verge summarized that: “What the app offers is access to any movie at any time with no blackouts and no theater restrictions whatsoever.” “Sinemia basically loads the funds onto your own personal debit card with the cash necessary to purchase your ticket, and then you’re good to go”, they added.
Obviously, this is a fun way to get people who don’t normally go to movies to see a few each month, raising ticket sales, and it could make things easier on the theaters as well. Ticket purchasing and payments are totally streamlined with Sinemia. We will probably see more of this in the future.
Is AI good or bad for the movie industry?
AI is causing a lot of public concern because of the fear it’s rendering jobs previously done by humans as useless. Take those at the ticket booth for instance. With some of the aforementioned apps, they could be out of the job. However, AI may be the film industry’s only chance to adapt and survive in the future. In addition to that, right now it looks like AI is actually creating jobs as opposed to killing them. This means that employees and employers have to be able to adapt their skill sets into the new context, which some do not know how to do.
From that angle, AI is good for the movie industry. As Fast Company reported, technology like AI is literally helping design storylines and is being used to monitor which movies evoke which emotions in viewers. By using AI’s data to monitor viewer responses, films are being catered better to consumers.
In fact, theater and acting are using AI to move into the future in general. As we already know, AI has been making an appearance in traditional acting experiences as well, making interactive theater art pieces a popular experience. So AI isn’t killing the film and entertainment industries, it’s saving them. And the human element doesn’t have to be removed if humans learn how to use it. The movie-going experience is improving and will continue to thrive if those in command keep using new technology to their benefit. Don’t think of AI as the enemy, think of it as a tool we can use to enjoy movies in different (more efficient) ways.