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A year living social trends: Outdoor Cinema

We’re continuing to live our social trends each month, with veganism, cycling, gin, health reset, gardening and marble being those we’ve identified, and lived, so far. This brings us to July’s pick – outdoor cinema.

It’s exactly what it sounds like, a large cinema screen assembled outdoors, in a park or rooftop for example, to be enjoyed in the open air. Check out @frangarnonflectar and @hannah_miles on Instagram to see which London outdoor cinema’s they visited.  

So why are open air cinema’s trending this month?

There’s a clear push by brands to promote their events and movies. This started back in 2013 when Samsung partnered with The Nomad and Häagen-Dazs with Luna Cinema. Today, we see a very brand driven conversation with summer ticket competitions and event announcements dominating the social conversation (Luna cinema alone accounts for 25% of the overall conversation).

People going and talking about outdoor cinemas are somewhat “social butterflies” with many options to have relaxed evenings out. We found the audience most engaged with this topic is urban (predominantly London) and socially very active – in an online and offline world. They are aged between 25 and 44 with 79% being women. Other brands or media that they have an interest in are, for example, London Foods, TimeOut, The Londonist and Event magazine. 

As summer properly starts, open air cinemas are becoming a big deal for urban cosmopolitans. We’ve had a look at how our chosen trend compares to some other popular social activities for relaxed summer evenings this year: Mini golf and Escape Room.

“Outdoor cinema” had out-talked both competitors in the July and August, where it was almost twice the size in total mentions. Compared to last year’s June, we see a 26% increase in volumes.

The conversation around “outdoor cinemas” isn’t the biggest by volume, but a good example of an experience worth sharing on social.

  1. There are between 300-350k monthly active users on Facebook showing an interest in “outdoor cinema”,

  2. Twitter mentions were just above 20k mentions in the UK over the past year

  3. and we estimate there to have been around 50k Instagram mentions.

To set those numbers in context, Glastonbury had thirty thousand people generating fifty thousand mentions in the last 7 days.

Search interest in outdoor cinema has more than tripled since 2012, with mentions of “open air cinema”, “rooftop cinema” and “outdoor cinema” beginning in early April, and continuing until late September. Consumer interest expressed through Google search shows us that July is THE month. This isn’t really a surprise as this is when British weather is most pleasant (and least risky) to be sat outdoors for a substantial period of time. When we compare this Summer trend with “pub quiz” (a typical year-long interest for us Brits), the interest in “outdoor cinema” overtakes it in the month of July only. With 2014 being a year to remember, as it was the first (and surely not the last) time this occurred.

The question now then, is how will we be living this trend? There’s an interesting audience insight here that makes us want to explore a) how brands can expand audiences outside of a London focus and b) what it needs to grow in a fairly brand driven conversation.

So pull out your deck chairs, pack the picnic basket and take a look at our calendar, where we’ve put together a small selection of some of the best open air cinema’s that will be screening across the UK this July.


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