How can pubs capitalise on the growing boost to the entertainment industry?

By Rebecca Weller

- Last updated on GMT

Boost in entertainment sector: How can this benefit pubs?
Boost in entertainment sector: How can this benefit pubs?

Related tags Food Finance Branding + marketing Drink Film

Cinema bookings saw the highest level of growth (17.3%) since October 2019 during October 2021, data according to Barclaycard showed.

The boost to the entertainment (28%) sector comes as bars, pubs, and clubs (37.1%) saw a smaller rise in October 2021 than in September 2021 (43.5%).

The consumer confidence survey conducted by Longitude Research on behalf of Barclaycard for their monthly Consumer Spending Index​, which sees nearly half of the nation’s credit and debit card transactions, also showed digital content and subscriptions increased by 7.1% compared to last month’s growth.

No Time To Die​, the latest instalment in the James Bond​ film series, which was released last month, and Squid Games ​release on Netflix are largely suspected to be responsible for this, but how can pubs transfer the boost to the entertainment sector to their business? 

A spokesperson for the Exhibit, which regularly sells out its 24 seat cinema area in Balham, Greater London said: “Think about what type of events you could do in your space depending on things like film screenings or karaoke, I would also say just think about if there's a market for it in the area because in residential areas it works best, city areas maybe not so much, get to know the area you are in before taking that venture.”

While horror was the most popular genre in terms of ticket sales for the Exhibit, the cinema events were also popular with families and the spokesperson added film events were a low maintenance way to accommodate the family market.

Capacity and set up costs were big considerations

However, a big financial consideration was the cost of a projector, as this was found to be the most expensive outgoing when preparing the venue for this type of event.

A BII (British Institute of Innkeeping) spokesperson said: “Showing movies, whether in the pub itself or by hosting drive through events if they have the space, is an excellent way to create another reason to visit your local, with an event like this, pubs have the opportunity to provide special drinks, food, and further entertainment, for example, a gourmet popcorn offering, mulled wine or hot chocolate if you have an outdoor event, or even a themed meal linked to the movie you are showing.

“People will not only come for the event itself but will often stay on for a meal or more drinks afterwards, not only will this boost trade on the day, but it will also appeal to a broader audience and you could be introducing new customers to your pub who will come back for other reasons if they like what you have to offer.

“Before hosting any event, you should ensure you have all of the correct plans in place, and this will include paying a fee in many cases.

“It isn’t enough to have a TV licence for your venue if you are showing films, even if they are on a channel you believe is covered by your TV licence, you need to have permission to do so via the Motion Picture Licensing Company (MPLC).”

Similar to applying for a music licence from PPL, the MPLC provide either an Umbrella Licence for unlimited permission to show visual content (be it films or TV series including on streaming services) annually, costing £179.03 plus VAT or a Single Title Movie Licence, which allows a specific film to be shown on a named day and is a one-off payment of £75 per title.

MPLC represents more than 3,000 rights holders to film content including Disney and DreamWorks, however publicans wanting to show a Warner Brothers production, would need to contact Film Bank for a Public Video Screening License (PVSL), or to host an open-air event, such as an outdoor cinema, licensees will have to contact the desired films production company separately.  

Christmas trade

With the festive period fast approaching hosting a Christmas movie night could be an effective way for licensees to boost trade or a regular promotion to capitalise on and appeal to a wide variety of customers.

A poll conducted in 2020 by BBC Radio 2 confirmed Liberty Films 1946 movie It’s a wonderful life ​staring Donna Reed and James Stewart is the UKs most popular Christmas film, followed by Die Hard​, The Muppets Christmas Carol​, Home Alone​ and Elf​.

Fullers’ drinks category manager Edward Fryer said: ​“Our customers loved it (Fuller’s cinema events), it was something a bit different, especially this year, we saw cult or classic films that people have seen lots of times did really well.

“Customers are always looking for new and exciting experiences and the local pub providing them is a great way to drive revenue on quieter days.”

Related topics Events & Occasions

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