Film programming refers to the activites involved in planning, hiring, and scheduling films to play in cinemas. These tasks are usually carried out by staff trained as specialist Film Programmers.
Vista Cloud supports film programmers with the following tools:
- Film Manager for managing film schedules throughout your circuit.
- Head Office for managing film hire.
Approaches to scheduling
A cinema's weekly film schedule is either managed centrally or at a local level.
In a centralised business process, the film programmer collaborates with a cinema to construct a schedule that satisfies both parties.
The film programmer may start with a high-level plan, at either the circuit or cinema level.
The film programmer also constructs a draft schedule (either derived from the plan, or from scratch) and sends it to the local cinema manager for consideration. The cinema manager reviews the schedule and may suggest amendments based on their local knowledge or business requirements.
There may be several cycles of review before a final schedule is agreed upon.
This approach to film programming is common in Asia, Australasia, and parts of Europe.
In a distributed business process, the central film team creates plans and the local cinema managers create schedules.
The film programmer decides which films each cinema should exhibit during the week, and (optionally) how often each film must be shown. The local cinema manager is responsible for constructing a schedule that meets the guidelines of the film programmer's plan.
The film programmer starts with a high-level plan, at either the circuit or cinema level. They may also construct a holdover sheet containing his or her instructions (either derived from the plan, or simply from scratch) and send it to the local cinema.
This approach to film programming is common in the Americas and in parts of Europe.
Plans and schedules
A plan is a set of guidelines or instructions about which films should be exhibited at a particular site, during a specific week. A plan can vary in its level of detail — from broad recommendations to very specific requirements. Plans are used by film programmers to aid in the construction of a highly detailed schedule.
For example, a plan can include instructions about the following requirements:
- The number of times a film must be shown on different days of the week
- Whether complimentary tickets should be accepted for a film
- The format of films to be shown (35mm, 3D)
Several tools in Film Manager help you create plans for your whole circuit or for cinemas individually, including Circuit Planning and the Holdover Sheet.
A schedule is a specific timetable for exhibiting films at a particular venue during a specific week.
A schedule can be based on a plan. Alternatively, you can skip the plan, and create a schedule directly.
Schedules are always highly detailed. For example, they can include information about the following instructions:
The films to be displayed at each of a cinema's screens, along with their start and end times.
- Ticket pricing
- Seat allocation
Several tools in Film Manager help you create schedules, including Showtime Manager.