Cinema in Malaysia today is among the top entertainment option for people from all walks of life. It was once seen as a dying industry and this has changed tremendously ever since. The cinema industry has become one of the most flourishing ones especially with the advent of new media to create buzz for new movies and blockbusters.

Why the change in cinema entertainment?

There are several major reasons that cinema has become among the top choices for entertainment among Malaysians. This is due to:

  1. Vast transformation in experience – cinema goers are now given more options and more pleasurable choices when they visit the cinema. New technologies, state-of-the-art equipment and modern facilities have taken the places of traditional halls
  2. Lifestyle – In Malaysia particularly, going to the cinema or watching a movie is an integral part of the lifestyle especially among urbanites
  3. Choices – competition among the major players like MBO, GSC and TGV means that the service providers are offering more options and choices. Generally, going to the cinema is no longer limited by location. Almost every major shopping centre, including community ones have multiplexes available
  4. Each location offers a few halls. This allow them to provide a wide range of movies in different languages thereby expanding its target market reach
  5. New technologies – Most providers have now moved on to digital technology, which means cinema goers are able to enjoy their movies better

How does cinema affect advertising

One thing for sure, cinema advertising appeals to a niche market. However, this is very crucial because cinemas are available at highly focused locations, particularly in urban and sub-urban areas. As such, it offers an unprecedented advertising option.

Furthermore, its environment is known to be among the most captive. When the viewer is in the hall, the ads will appeal to them whether they wish to view them or not. As an advertising option, this is good cost-benefit. In fact, with the shorter lead time, it offers a great platform for advertisers who are looking to run short promotional campaigns as well.

The Target Audience

In totality, more than 70% of cinema goers are young adults who are between 15 and 29 years of age. This means that advertisers and brand owners of products and services aiming at this target group will find cinema one of the most perfect options.
With more than 2 million people going to the cinema on a monthly basis, there is a lot of opportunities in this market. Within this number, almost half of them are in white collar jobs. Among the various types of movies, action, love and romance are the most preferred while English Language is the most preferred medium.

There is a healthy mix of cinema goers between the gender with female constituting about 40% and 60% being male. The largest group of cinema goers are those between 20 and 29 years old which form more than half of the total.

What’s in store for advertisers

Typically, advertisers will enjoy good value for money for placing ads in cinemas. There are a few types of media available with the commercials in the screens being the most popular. Besides that, there are banner ads, pillar wraparounds and static posters.

It must be noted that foreign movies contribute the most to ticket sales. In 2015, foreign movies attributed to more than 94% which is more than RM800 million in sales. This is a sharp contrast with local movies which attributed to about 6% only.

There are more than 140 cinema outlets across the country which collectively provide almost 1,000 screens for advertisers. This means that advertisers would be spoilt for choice when it comes to buying the media spaces. In order to ensure that advertising dollars are well-spent, the following criteria should be considered:

  1. Location – This will determine the type of audience who will be viewing your ad. If you are selling to a language-dependent crowd, then you should know the profile of the people of the specific location
  2. Genre – this is perhaps one of the most important factors of placing your ad in the cinema. You do not want your product or brand to be associated with a genre which could be in contrast to what you can offer.
  3. frequency – Some cinemas provide packages where you decide on how many times your ad will appear regardless of the movie genre or title
  4. Duration – Most cinemas offer various multiple-second slots for advertising. In most cases, you can book a spot in either 10, 15, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80 or 90 seconds depending on what you intend to convey.

In terms of advertising billings, the trend has been on the rise since 2011. Then, the amount collected from advertising expenditure as about RM170 million. This would increase steadily until it almost doubled by 2015.

For market size, the market is dominated by 3 major players, namely GSC, TGV and MBO. There are other players like LFS and Cathay. GSC has the most number of screens, commanding more than 30% of the total followed by TGV which is not far behind. In terms of seats, GSC lead this by virtue of the number of screens. This simply means that the market is led mostly by GSC followed by TGV although it can be dependent based on the location as well.