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Cinema Site Audits

A site audit is a vital precursor to any consultation based around implementing and/or improving cinema management. The Big Picture (TBP) is highly experienced in carrying out audits on existing cinema sites.

An audit will indicate to us (and in turn, our clients) how successful a cinema currently is, if it’s working for its surrounding community and if not, why not. In other words, we’re there to take a detailed look at the commercial and operational functions of an established cinema site.

Often times an audit needs to be carried out confidentially without the management of the cinema estate in question having prior knowledge of the visit. This can sometimes make access to various areas more difficult but because of our experience, TBP have a particular process for carrying out such an audit effectively. Because we work with a variety of clients, from local authorities to property developers or private equity firms, we're often required to carry out different levels of auditing depending on who the client is and what their end goal is.

The initial audit will provide an overview of the cinema in question and this will then progress into more layers of detail, depending on what’s needed. The first stage of reporting will flag any concerns there may be and from there we can delve into the context of - and solutions to - those problems.

If a private equity client is looking to acquire a cinema with one, or multiple, sites, the purpose of an audit is to provide a snapshot of the condition of the estate they’re looking to buy, usually from a high level. The investigation we carry out will ascertain the realistic level of financial investment necessary to get the business to a desired standard. This aspect of the audit takes into account “day to day” factors, such as the condition of the auditorium seating and projection equipment.

If a high number of site visits are required over a short period of time across a sizeable estate then an assessment criteria template will be created and used to maintain consistency between visits.

As a result of this level of audit, we will then make recommendations on how to move forward. This will usually take one (or more) of several forms. It may be that we’ll advise you to make certain improvements or implement new processes. Or we'll highlight particular areas that require further investigation. We may also suggest recommendations for external consultants whose services need to be employed.

Private Equity Firms

Feasibility reporting is different to auditing in that it focuses more on assessing an established market for the possibility of a proposed (new) cinema. But certain aspects of a feasibility report [link to feasibility article] will be assessed in line with an audit, where applicable. This usually covers all logistical areas as a first step such as the location of the site, access / accessibility, connection to an adjacent shopping centre or town, condition of the building, what this condition communicates and any activity from surrounding competitors.

TBP’s consultants will walk through the site from a customer perspective. The following give a comprehensive outline of what will be assessed:

Commercial Considerations

  • Ease of (physical) use of the cinema

  • Accuracy of the website in representing the cinema

  • Creativity of marketing the cinema’s film programme

  • Type of cinema, ie premium or multiplex

  • Additional events put on by the cinema

  • Ease of ticket purchasing (in person and online)

The considerations will be somewhat different from an operational perspective but these will cover:

Operational Considerations

  • Staffing numbers (full time, part time, visible staff etc)

  • Rota access

  • Level of customer service

  • Training & development

  • Food & beverage (F&B) offer, prep and hygiene

  • Ratios of payroll

  • Fire / health & safety procedures

Feasibility vs Auditing

Whether you’re a property developer or private equity firm if your desire is for a new-build two screen cinema, hypothetically speaking, our duty at The Big Picture is to question how and why you arrived at that conclusion. We frequently see arbitrary decisions made without any real basis in data or research, which often means the proposed cinema business has a more realistic chance of failing.

Our job is to understand your specific objectives and then help you to realise them. In order to do this we’ll ask plenty of questions and then we'll ascertain the necessary steps to begin that process, initially by asking detailed questions. The desired two-screen may in fact be the right cinema for your project but if not we’ll provide alternative recommendations based on our research and experience.

Your Objectives

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