Ster-Kinekor versus Nu Metro

The Market Research Foundation’s MAPS data overview for 2021 to 2023 revealed that roughly 619,000 South Africans regularly visit a movie theatre once every two to three months.

According to the data, cinema-goers in South Africa spend R433.69 on average per outing, with Ster-Kinekor being the most popular cinema chain among the country’s residents.

To this end, the Market Research Foundation found that one million respondents visit Ster-Kinekor most often, while 818,000 prefer Nu Metro.

Smaller cinema chains, Movies@ and Cinecentre, are favoured by 207,000 and 90,000 respondents, respectively.

The Market Research Foundation’s MAPS data comes from annual surveys of a sample of the South African population. It interviews women and men aged 15 and older from all races and provinces.

It noted that cinema penetration in South Africa is low at just 2%. It split the results into six categories as follows:

  • Very frequently (at least two monthly visits): 7% of respondents.
  • Frequently (at least once a month): 16% of respondents.
  • Regularly (once every two to three months): 27% of respondents.
  • Occasionally (once every four to six months): 17% of respondents.
  • Less often: 21% of respondents.
  • Seldom (around once per year): 11% of respondents.

The Market Research Foundation’s cinema data comes from a sample size of just over one million individuals.

Of these, 51% are males and 49% are females, with the majority of interviewees (58%) residing in metropolitan areas.

Of the remaining respondents, 28% live in urban areas, while 14% live in rural communities.

The cinema industry has been fighting an uphill battle in South Africa, with Ster-Kinekor recently announcing plans to lay off staff and shutter up to nine cinemas.

The news came just two years after the cinema chain exited business rescue.

The company said several factors, including a challenging economic environment, load-shedding, and the impact of the Hollywood strikes, had resulted in significantly reduced cinema attendance.

“As these are forces largely out of the business’s control and the financial impact is likely to endure for some time, Ster-Kinekor Theatres has had to review its cost structure to ensure the continued survival and sustainability of its business,” it said.

It served staff with section 189(3) notices on 13 February 2024, kicking off the process of retrenching 236 of Ster-Kinekor’s 728 employees.

Affected positions include those in the CEO’s office, marketing, sales, human capital, business operations, content, finance, head office, regional operations, and information technology.

Regarding its planned cinema closures, Ster-Kinekor has identified nine stores in South Africa’s most populous provinces that it will shutter.

Mainly, Ster-Kinekor’s cheaper theatres, where tickets are between R65 and R75, will be affected.

Only Bayside is in the firing line in the Western Cape. In Gauteng, it will close Cedar Square, Maponya, Matlosana, Southgate, and the iconic Sterland.

It also plans to close its Boardwalk and Shelly Beach cinemas in KwaZulu-Natal and Mimosa in the Free State.

Ster-Kinekor has launched several initiatives to encourage more South Africans to watch movies at its cinemas, the latest of which is the launch of Throwback Cinema titles.

The cinema chain will screen a range of throwback titles, including Meet Joe Black, Notting Hill, and Back to the Future 1, with ticket prices set at R50.

Back to the Future 1 is one of those classic movies that take us back and yet it can be seen over and over,” says Ster-Kinekor.

“So, it makes sense that Ster-Kinekor has included it among its Throwback Cinema titles to be screened during May.”

“What also makes perfect ‘cents’ is the movie ticket price — just 50 South African rands,” it added.

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Ster-Kinekor versus Nu Metro