Estonian Cinamon theatre chain expands into Finland
Rahvusvahelised uudised 18 Jul 2017  EWR
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yle.fi 18. 7. 2017
Finland will gain a third cinema chain in 2018 when the Estonian Cinamon group establishes one of its movie theatre complexes in Helsinki. Industry leader Finnkino says it welcomes the new concept and is not worried about competition.

Finnish cinemas will get a new competitor in autumn 2018 when the Estonian Cinamon chain is set to open its first movie complex on Finnish soil, in Helsinki. The new movie house will be built in the coming Redi shopping centre in Kalasatama.

Cinamon commercial director Toomas Luhats says his company intends to expand to other locations in Finland in the future, too – but is mum on the details.

"We are discussing new locations in Helsinki and other cities," he says.

Foreign ownership, active movie-goers

Finnish movie theatres have invested heavily in improvements in the last few years. New locations have sprung up, while new owners have also renovated venerable old movie houses and fitted with cutting edge 3D and HD technology.

Competition has also resulted in some disputes, with domestic leader Finnkino buying out two theatres in Lappeenranta and then turning around and discontinuing them.

Tero Koistinen, CEO of the Finnish Chamber of Films, says he believes the scramble for investments is due to Finnish cinema chains being bought up by foreign conglomerates.

"The courage and financing required, which foreign buyers have, didn't necessarily exist before," he says.

Finnish people have long been avid movie-goers, but the renovations and improvements have boosted already high figures – and attracted international interest.

"I think it's great when someone actually shakes a stack of money at Finland and demonstrates how tempting it is in a business sense. We've said for years how movie theatre culture is still alive and kicking," Koistinen says.

Finnkino undaunted by competition

Two different cinema chains currently operate in Finland, and both of them are foreign-owned. Finnkino is the king in large cities, while Bio Rex has expanded into less central regions.

Finnkino sales director Kalle Peltola says he is not worried by the increase in competition in the movie theatre business.

"We only hope that new theatres will activate people and get them to catch screenings more often," he says.

Finnkino has endeavoured to improve its services drastically, Peltola says and adds that his employer is unlikely to be affected by the newest winds of change.

"I don't think any company these days has the luxury of just sitting on their hands."

Koistinen, for his part, says he does not expect the theatre sector to change dramatically, at least to begin with.

Vying for leisure time

Peltola says that movie-going has to be marketed and delivered as a comprehensive experience in order for people to spend their free time indoors at the movies.

Finnkino recently launched the "lounge" theatre concept, wherein the seats are wider and movie snacks can be ordered in to one's own seat in advance.

Technology is also a driving force behind the movie theatre reform. Digitalisation has improved the supply of films in the 2010s, which correlates with increased customer figures, says Koistinen.

Finnkino operates 102 movie theatres in Finland, Bio Rex runs 30 – and Cinamon is bringing in five more next year.
 
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