New one-stop-shop cinema website launched on Wednesday by Biografcentralen aims at facilitating audiences’ access to the 340 indie cinemas in Sweden and 150 film festivals.
The online platform Bio.se received financial backing from the Culture Foundation of the Swedish Postcode Lottery, the Swedish Film Institute, Västra Götaland region, the City of Stockholm and will be funded mainly through a fee on each cinema ticket sold. Its goal is to make ‘visible’ the arthouse venues in small towns and rural areas outside the main cinema chains SF Bio and Svenska Bio, and to promote film diversity.
Jens Lanestrand, Head of Biografcentralen, the non-profit organisation for independent and arthouse cinemas in Sweden, explained to nordicfilmandtvnews.com his vision for the online platform:
“Until now the audience has been directed to 340 different websites, one for each independent cinema, in rural areas as well in Stockholm. Bio.se collects already at the launch over 130 cinemas and their films and screenings.
"The purpose is to create more admissions, on all kinds of films, and especially on films that have lower marketing budgets and to broaden the selection of films. As part of the project, Biografcentralen also offers exhibitors and distributors the possibility to do their marketing more efficiently and effectively through this new nationwide window to the audience. There is also a need for a more modern way of selling tickets and to lower the thresholds for the audience to come to the cinemas. Until now the only collective website has been sfbio.se which exhibits around 75 out of Sweden’s 400 cinemas.”
Looking at the main challenges still facing independent Swedish cinemas, Lanestrand said: “The biggest challenge is the new VAT increase on cinema tickets from 6 % to 25 %, i.e. economy and I would say tools and knowledge on how to reach new audiences and create customer loyalty. Independent cinemas also need to improve their use of technology and data to get a better access to independent and European films. The digitization has made the selection more mainstream so Bio.se will help out with all of these challenges and contribute to strengthening the independent sector.”