In this Vibrant Voices podcast Fiona Phillips talks to Philip Mordecai, Director of Digital Ventures at Curzon. Philip tells us how Curzon is questioning the traditional cinema business model to create a future where we access films in multiple ways.
In excerpts from the podcast, Philip explains some of the challenges the business faces in keeping ahead of the competition in a fast moving digital world and how Curzon is breaking new ground to create ways for us to access film.
It’s not just about cinema
Fiona: “Is it wrong to just say Curzon is a cinema business?”
Philip: “We founded ourselves on the principle of being a cinema company but now we're actually a vertically integrated media group and we have distribution, we have cinemas and we have our own direct consumer video on demand (VOD) platform.”
Keep questioning and make up your own rules
Fiona: “You are successful but no business can stand still. So how do you identify that next break through moment?”
Philip: “For us there is no rule book for what we're doing right now, so quite often we are scratching our heads, asking is it the right thing or the wrong thing to do? That means we are a cinema company that is questioning the idea of the theatrical experience in which typically you had to go and see the latest films in the cinema, and that was the only platform that you could watch it. For us it’s important to keep questioning that and to also make the rule book as we go along in the same way that Apple did many years ago when it comes to content and devices.”
Can cinema survive in the digital world?
Fiona: “So what is the future of cinema in the digital world?”
Philip: “Cinema will always have a place because it is a value experience where you just go to a venue and you know that it's something quite tangible and it cannot be replaced. And you know it's about small details. We make our screens and the seating environments much smaller because...if you make it smaller and it feels fuller, already it's something of a better experience.”
Fiona: “So there must've been some challenges along the way, what do you think your biggest challenge has been?”
Philip: “Relevance, being relevant as part of the brand but also just generally being relevant in conversation in the busy lives that we have. Smaller brands can get washed out by the major conversations, and competing for people's time is the biggest thing. Your brand can be loved but it can fall out of favour quite quickly - hero to zero as it were. And that's the thing, you always have to have that positive sentiment.”
Shaping the future
Fiona: “So where next?”
Philip: “Where to next, good question. When we look at what is in our plans in the longer term, it is to take Curzon abroad internationally using the model that we have here in the UK. We have a continued growth plan for more venues in the country and it’s really important for us to continue that roll out. More and more films are being made day-by-day so we want to offer a premium VOD experience at home that gives consumers more choice.”