Shawn Bloom, General Manager for the SCENE loyalty program movie rewards program, arrived at work Wednesday morning and was met with some amazing news: SCENE -- a Canadian-based entertainment loyalty program jointly owned and operated by Cineplex (Canada’s largest national movie theater operator) and Scotiabank – had just surpassed the 5 million member mark.

SCENE launched in May 2007.

“Nobody was thinking on those terms back then regarding growth of the program,” Bloom told Loyalty 360. “It has been a huge positive surprise here at SCENE and Scotiabank and continues to grow at a rate of 15,000-20,000 new members each week. When the program launched, we thought if we hit 1 million or 1.5 million, we’d be very happy. Six years ago I don’t think any of us expected to have this rate of member acquisition.”

SCENE reached 1 million members in the summer of 2008 and 2 million toward the end of 2009.

“When I came on at the end of 2009, there was a lot of debate about how big this can be and when will this start to plateau,” Bloom said. “And what do we have to do to keep this rate of growth going longer.”

Bloom said he expected the first year to be a big year with a new program and moviegoers already in the theaters.

“We were a little below our first-year membership rate in years 2 and 3, and we wondered how to kick-start growth,” Bloom said. “We don’t have POS signup because we didn’t want to slow down or impact service in the theaters. We have to get people through quickly. We had to be creative about leveraging all of that in-theater attendance.”

When mobile became a larger strategic tool for SCENE, Bloom explained, it enabled prospects to enroll in the loyalty program from their smartphones.

“With the Cineplex app they are able to enroll in a matter of minutes,” Bloom said. “They can join while they are waiting in line.”

SCENE also uses standalone kiosks in every Cineplex theater, which allow prospects to join the program. Every theater has at least one kiosk while the larger theaters have two.

“They can join the program and print out a temporary membership card in the theater,” Bloom said. “It’s a great acquisition source for us.”

Cineplex is ranked 11th among Canada’s Top 20 Mobile Brands, reaching 14.5% of Canadian Mobile subscribers in June Q2 2013. This mobile penetration rate is higher than the PC reach at 7.4%. The app allows customers to look up show times and book tickets.

Bloom said nothing has been done yet to honor the 5 million member milestone, but “we’re actually about to do something around that.”

Bloom hinted it might result in a thank you to SCENE’s loyal customer base.

Why has SCENE been so successful?

“Once people are aware of the program, it really sells itself if you’re an active moviegoer,” Bloom said. “We’ve made it easier to enroll. If you’re seeing a couple movies a month, you’re basically getting a free one after every 10 movies, and a discount off concessions. Why wouldn’t you want to join?”

Bloom believes there will be a point where program membership will start to plateau. But until then, acquiring 15,000-20,000 new members per week is something he certainly appreciates.

“There is real value in SCENE because it’s a simple program to use and our debit card with Scotiabank earns points with all transactions and has been very well received,” Bloom said. “Six years ago I don’t think any of us expected to have this rate of acquisition.”


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