Research: Film Exhibition in the South East (2014)

FHSE area map

Get an insight into the South East exhibition sector including some interesting findings about the types of venues, how they are run, the diversity of programmes and audiences. Extremely useful for anyone interested in creating a baseline for film culture within their region. The report highlights the lack of audience data used across the sector and the central role of community settings with community centres and arts centres.

Impact Areas

Focus Areas


  • The research provides a useful overview of the South East exhibition sector finding 303 active exhibitors of which one third (34%) are volunteer-run film societies or community cinemas. A further 25% are commercial cinemas and 15% are mixed use venues (arts centre/theatre) that screen films.
  • Cinemas in community settings with community centres and arts centres make up 55% of the venues used for exhibition. Due to the low number of screens at these venues commercial cinemas have the lion’s share of overall screens (69%) and seats (73%).
  • The majority of exhibitors are based within the towns of the region (73% in town compared with 28% in villages or out of town). The norm for exhibitors in the South East (62%) is to operate on a part time basis.
  • Specialised programmes appear to be concentrated. The number of exhibitors who offer blended programmes which include both specialised cinema and commercial are rare. Only 10% offer a blended programme (between 34%-66% specialised), compared to 31% offering a predominantly commercial programme, and 27% offering a predominantly specialised programme. When you factor in number of screens, there is a heavy emphasis on commercial screenings with 73% of screens dedicated to commercial screenings.
  • Audio visual accessibility, in the form of Audio Description for people with sight impairment and Subtitling for the hard of hearing, is provided by one in five exhibitors (22%), while 18% host Autism friendly screenings (where venue lighting and sound levels are tailored to suit people with Autistic Spectrum Disorder).
  • 58% of exhibitors have a Facebook page and Twitter account. Film Societies, community cinema, mobile or touring sites are less likely to use social media with around a third of these operating Facebook or Twitter accounts, compared to over 80% as the norm.

View this research