What is Virtual Cinema?

What is virtual cinema?

What is Virtual Cinema?

What is Virtual Cinema? 366 222 Shlomi Ron

Can you guess what was COVID’s toll on movie theaters’ ticket sales in 2020?

Nope! Guess much higher.

Are you sitting down?

Due to nationwide lockdowns, movie theaters have been closed, festivals have been cancelled or postponed, and film releases have been indefinitely rescheduled. The result: US Ticket sales plummeted 80% to $2.28 billion, from the second-best box office haul ever of $11.4 billion in 2019, according to data from Comscore.

That said, with everybody cooped up at home, the US market for streaming services has grown by 37% in 2020, with most of the growth coming from Disney+, which made it the third largest streaming service in the United States behind only Netflix and Hulu (Antenna Analytics).

That’s why I was blown away after hearing the story of how two guys from Brooklyn, NY took on themselves in Spring 2020 to help out the closed movie theaters and distributors that cancelled their film releases – by leveraging all the good of video streaming and adapting it to a virtual cinema platform.

What is virtual cinema?

“Virtual cinema from the consumer experience perspective is similar to going to your local theater but it’s taken place on a video-on-demand streaming service where you buy a ticket, and you know that money is going to go to your theater and the revenue is shared with the distributor. In this sense, virtual cinema allows distributors who want to release their films a new outlet, while helping local theaters generate online revenue with first runs in their communities.”

-Mike Brown, CEO Cyber-NY

In this episode of the Visual Storytelling Today podcast, I chat with the two heroes of this inspiring story, Mike Brown, CEO, and Vincent Keane, Creative Director at Cyber-NY – a boutique digital agency that has pioneered virtual cinema back in Spring 2020.

Cyber-NY’s virtual cinema platform helped out notable distributors such as Kino Lorber, Film Movement and film festivals such as Brooklyn SciFi Film Festival, New York Japan Cinefest among others.

Watch the full video recording of this interview:


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Some of the questions I asked Mike and Vincent:

  • Can you share a bit about your backstory and what was that magic moment that made you decide to get into virtual cinema as part of your digital agency? Last year marked an important milestone, right?
  • How do you define virtual cinema in the larger video streaming space?
  • A question I asked all my guests. How do you define visual storytelling?
  • Who are the key players that are involved in creating a successful virtual cinema experience? What does the process look like?
  • Let’s talk about the user experience. Is it always time-limited experience or can run also as evergreen service? Online only or cross-media experience? Is the watching experience limited to a computer or also doable on TV?
  • What is the typical business model for a virtual cinema execution?
  • Can you show 2-3 examples of successful visual cinema executions that demonstrate how you bring to life offline cinema going online?
  • What are the common challenges you need to watch for when creating a successful virtual cinema experience?
  • What would be your top 3 tips for marketers on how to create a branded virtual cinema experience?
  • And much more!

How would you be using a virtual cinema platform to bring to life your brand narrative?

Shlomi Ron

Shlomi Ron is the founder and CEO of the Visual Storytelling Institute, a Miami-based think tank with a mission to bring the gospel of visual storytelling from the world of art to more human-centric and purpose-driven marketing. A digital marketing veteran with over 20 years of experience working both on the agency and brand sides for Fortune 100/500 brands such as Nokia, IBM, and American Express. He started VSI to combine his marketing expertise with his passion for visual stories stemming from his interests in classic Italian cinema and managing the estate of video art pioneer, Buky Schwartz. At VSI, he helps brands rise above the communication noise through visual storytelling consulting, training, and thought leadership. Select clients include Estée Lauder, Microsoft, and Cable & Wireless – to name a few. He currently teaches Brand Storytelling at the University of Miami’s Business School. Thought leader and speaker at key marketing conferences. He is also the host of the Visual Storytelling Today podcast, which ranks in the top 10 best business storytelling podcasts on the Web. His book: Total Acuity: Tales with Marketing Morals to Help You Create Richer Visual Brand Stories. Outside work, he is a nascent bread baker, The Moth fan, and longtime fedora wearer likely to jive with his classic Italian cinema interest.

All stories by: Shlomi Ron

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