As our industry begins to look forward and consider business operations in a post-pandemic world, it is vitally important that the objectives and services of an industry body reflect and meet those changes.
The ECA is committed to evolving its offering to meet the needs of its members and the wider industry. A survey was circulated to ECA members and non-members in February to better understand what more it can do bring greater value to its members.
Since the ECA reformed over two years ago at the end of 2018, one of the key changes was to bring more consistency and transparency to fees and indeed reduce the cost of being a member. The membership fees needed to reflect value for membership, but the ECA did not want cost to be a barrier to joining. The ECA worked hard during 2019 to increase its profile and credibility across the industry and was certainly on an upwards trajectory before the pandemic hit.
Since the pandemic, the ECA has been operating at a reduced level but still participating in core events and issuing regular newsletters. Despite difficult circumstances, the ECA are keen to ensure that we continue to be seen as a valuable body to the industry. As needs change, so must our offering. The biggest barrier for our industry in the short term is recovering from the economic challenges incurred from the pandemic and the survey responses reinforced this fact.
Respondents to our survey clearly voiced a need for lower membership fees across the board for both larger companies and individuals. In response to this need and to benefit as many in our industry as possible, the ECA is once again reducing the annual fee from £500 to £200 for all organisations and for individuals or cinemas with 10 or less sites a reduction from £200 to £100.
In addition, for the immediate term – existing and new members – can benefit from a further 50 per cent reduction on membership fees for a 15 month membership. New members need to join before September 2021. Existing ECA members will be offered the new rate and discount on top at their next renewal during 2021. Payment plans are also available and membership fees will not be recouped until September 2021.
|Membership||2020 annual fee||New annual fee||2021 offer for 15 months|
|All companies||£500 (+VAT)||£200 (+VAT)||£100 (+VAT)|
|Individuals and cinemas with 10 or less sites||£200 (+VAT)||£100 (+VAT)||£50 (+VAT)|
Without doubt the clearest benefits of the ECA are the events we put on and the promotion of content. The scaled back operations of the ECA combined with the pandemic meant the ECA was unable to deliver its usual schedule of events. That said, it was proud to contribute and deliver product presentations at CineEurope, CineAsia and the META Cinema Forum during 2020.
Moving forward the ECA has announced the return of the annual Slate Day which will also include a number of panel discussions and data insights. The ECA will also plan a series of member podcasts and round table discussions. We understand the value of the network that has been built across the event cinema community and remain committed to ensuring that we continue to keep everyone connected.
This also includes regularly updating the release schedule, marketing materials and showreels for cinemas to promote upcoming content at their sites. The ECA will begin look at spotlight features for new content and report performances on titles more regularly.
One of the biggest challenges for the ECA – and indeed one of the biggest needed improvement reported from the survey – is for the Association to be more international and less UK-centric. This is certainly one of the key ambitions of the Association. The increased participation at global events and a series of international interviews in our newsletters was a step in that direction with the hope to build networks in more territories. This will be a priority for the ECA in the coming months, to grow our networks and in such bring a wider range of insights from partners across the globe.
Access to box office reports for a number of territories remains a challenge for the ECA, mainly due to consistency around how events are reported and how regularly we have the ability to report figures from our partners. That said, it’s a challenge we are looking to tackle as we understand the importance of this for our members. To be able to report a true global figure for event cinema box office is something we will strive to achieve!
Over the next four months the ECA can make as much as possible available to all, so we can truly demonstrate the value in being a member. That said, by Q4 of 2021, a lot of our communications, assets and data will only be shared with current members of the Association. Core events will still be accessible for all, with members benefiting from reduced tickets prices and invited to member only events. A revised member benefits leaflets will be launched in the coming months.
The Association hopes that the reduced membership fees reflects our commitment to members and hope it helps the current economic challenges faced by so many. Moving forward, the ECA will conduct the survey on an annual basis so we can remain relevant and address the needs of our members.
Should you not have had the chance to complete the survey, we would be happy to hear from you. Please email Grainne at firstname.lastname@example.org