ICO REACH 2016 (Pontio & Cell B)

Gwen Sion, Pontio Arts Centre’s Marketing and Communications manager and Rhys Roberts, Cell B’s Director attended the ICO REACH Strategic Audience Development course in 2016. Here’s how they got on:


Gwen: “I have to say that I was really impressed with the course, from the highly organised timetables and clear ‘this is what we’re going to be doing…’ emails to the excellent food and drink provided.

The course was split up into three dates; the first down in London, the second a quick London-based catch-up and the third in Glasgow to coincide with the This Way Up conference.

The course was very intense and didn’t spare an ounce of your time during the day, cramming in all kinds of useful insight into audiences, behaviors, different way to segment your audience and topics such as The Landscape of Film Exhibition, Building at Retaining BAME Audiences, What Stops People Engaging with Film Beyond the Mainstream, Data is Gold and lots more besides.

At the same time, we were all tasked with working on our own projects. We discussed progress on these projects in the mid-way meet up and then – eek! – did our presentations at the end. Everyone was worried, but for me this was the highlight, hearing about all the fantastic things people had managed to achieve whilst carrying on with the day-to-day reality of cinema showings. I gained so much from this course, and would highly recommend it to anyone”.

Gwen’s Top Five Elements of the Course 

  1. Techniques for segmenting the market
  2. Relationship between programming and marketing in terms of audience development
  3. Importance of meeting other venues for knowledge transfer
  4. Better to focus on developing one particular audience well than trying to do too much badly
  5. It’s not all about budget, it’s about creativity and loving films


Rhys: “Please attend REACH, it’s one of the best courses that I’ve been on, it opened my mind so much and gave me the confidence to develop our cinema.

I gained the knowledge that one has to learn about one’s community; audiences are communities first and communities are diverse. I gained greater confidence in programming; for example to make contacts with schools to tie into the curriculum. It was great to learn about the segment characteristics their behaviours and needs and  understanding audiences; to keep sustaining our audiences and welcoming new audiences and tap into the community.”

Rhys’ Top Five Elements of the Course 

  1. You can get out of ‘locking’ screening shows because of the size of your cinema
  2. Build relationships between the cinema organisation and community
  3. Be clear in your objectives of who you are
  4. Understanding audiences
  5. Target and groom your audience
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