Cinegi Arts&Film was an action research project, delivered by Cinegi, that ran from January 2017 to May 2018 to test how a digital distribution service could bring filmed arts and cultural content to audiences in venues beyond mainstream cinemas. The project was supported through a grant from Arts Council England, and a partnership with the BFI. The research component was contracted to The Audience Agency and Nesta.
The project enabled promoters and venues throughout England to purchase, download and then screen a variety of content (including filmed theatre, opera, ballet and archive film material) under license in non-cinema venues. It therefore attempted to unlock the potential of both relatively untapped venues (such as arts centres, libraries, museums and community centres) and the UK’s networks of amateur and independent film clubs.
The Cinegi Arts&Film team undertook several different activities as part of the project to allow promoters to stage screenings:
- Redeveloping the Cinegi player and platform from its original beta stage, working with its external technology partners.
- Working with arts and cultural organisations to source and license content for the platform, resulting in around 220 titles being available during the project.
- Launching the platform publicly and undertaking marketing and outreach activities to promote take-up of the service.
- Attempting to increase the uptake in two areas of particular ‘high intervention’ – Cornwall and the South West and East Durham and Sunderland in the North East.
The action research primarily focused on the audiences for arts and cultural content – looking at whether the project reached audiences who would not otherwise engage with the arts or specialised film, expanded their interest in unfamiliar content and developed them into regular attenders. The research also considered what drove the engagement from audiences – was it the content itself, locally sensitive programming and curation, venue experience, location, price or ease of access? The study also broadened out to consider the supply chain in more detail. Feedback and data was gathered on both promoters that booked screenings and those that did not. Additional research focused on the supply/licensing of content to the Cinegi Arts&Film project - this forms a separate report published alongside this study.