Measuring the economic value of cinema venues

This study examines the previously unmeasured social benefits created by cinemas for cinema users and communities.

The BFI’s Research and Statistics Unit has published two reports from a new study jointly commissioned with the Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre – ‘Measuring the economic value of cinema venues’ and ‘Social and cultural value of cinema venues: qualitative analysis’.

While cinemas are known to be among the most widely accessed and enjoyed cultural venues for people to experience culture and entertainment, contributing over £1 billion a year in gross value added (GVA) to the UK economy, until now there has been no robust analysis to evaluate their value to society through the wider range of valuable and enriching experiences that cinemas provide.

As social spaces, and through programming, cinemas can offer opportunities for community cohesion and individual exploration and learning. Using valuation techniques drawn from public economics, which seek to express value in money-metric terms, this study implies that cinemas which align with one of the three groups considered by the study deliver significant and positive wider economic social value to society equivalent to £600,000 per cinema every year.

This is a previously unmeasured economic benefit as valued directly by the public and in addition to the value generated by cinemas through ticket and other sales and memberships.

They also often drive commercial activity that supports surrounding businesses and are an important source of ‘pride in place’, indicating that cinemas can make an important contribution to revitalising high streets.

This study will be an invaluable tool in helping public and commercial bodies alike ensure the continued cultural and societal success of cinemas.