Training Experience: ICO Training Courses

By FHW Marketing

Name: Gwen Sion

Role: Marketing & Communication

Organisation: Pontio

FHW Bursary Recipient: REACH Strategic Audience Development 2016 


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. 



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


Name: Rhys Roberts


Organisation: Cell B 

FHW Bursary Recipient: REACH Strategic Audience Development 2016 


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 confident 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.



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

Name: Silvia Sheenan

Role: Coordiantor 

Organisation: Off Y Grid

FHW Bursary Recipient: Cultural Cinema Exhibition 2017​ 


The course was an widespread overview of cinema exhibition, consisting of several different sessions covering topics such as distribution, exhibition, commercial programming, curatorial, marketing, programming for your audience, finding audiences, festivals, diversity and much more.

I learnt that there are several things worth keeping in mind when promoting titles in the future. Creating partnerships with media outlets is important, this can include freelance journalists, and even local businesses and community groups. This is especially relevant in North Wales due to a spread out population so it makes sense to join forces in the local area.

Market research is important. Explore the venue with customers eyes to understand the customer journey, demographics, programme, physical space, ease of booking - being honest about what can be done immediately, in the future, or not at all.

There are nuances to targeting to audiences. Striking the balance of providing specific, strand-based content, whilst also growing audiences and encouraging more diverse or ‘risky’ viewings.

When considering programming you can use archive and AMI films to complement and diversify existing programme, being creative, providing context, blending with the curatorial.



1. Collaboration essential to bring in new audiences - online discussion, guest speakers, partnerships.

2. Finding themes and connections as a way to introduce new films to your audience, prioritise cultural diversity.

3. Being subjective and personal can be a way to ‘defend’ specialist choices- this could help with OYG screenings- perhaps having ambassadors or individual voices to champion certain features (relates to the importance of recommendations).

4. Using surveys, print and email, making sure questions are relevant, offering refreshments as incentives, sharing information and demonstrating how you’ve implemented it.



Name: Steffan Thomas

Role: Coordiantor 

Organisation: Galeri

FHW Bursary Recipient: Data Driven Marketing Course 2018


This was my first course led by the ICO. I went in with an open mind really and just wanted some tips and tricks and guidance I suppose in terms of how to make the best use of data in order to grow audiences.


The mixture of delegates on the course – exhibition / distribution / festivals ensured that there was a knowledge of why and how the three different “sectors” collect, gather and use data. Of course – it’s the exhibitor who has the most important and practical data to hand.

The main topics of discussion were: Getting the most out of box office systems: Why we gather data? Do we need to know everything? How is it collected? Gathering data – segmentation. Different ways of segmenting an audience? Benefits of segmenting and why. Membership and Loyalty Scheme: How a strong membership scheme strengthens the business model, what loyalty schemes offer, how they communicate and why they do it. GDPR: What is it, how it’ll affect the sector and what we need to do now! Audience behaviour: What we know about trends and where to find benchmarks and stats (free). Distributor marketing strategy:  How and the detail studios plan a marketing campaign for a film.  The Importance of having a strong CRM system. How to analyse data/analytics/insights from digital platforms – what do they mean and how can you ensure better ROI. Creating a digital dashboard: What do we need to know – how often, in what format and for what purpose?

As with most courses – the ‘out of class’ socialising and networking also played a part in why I enjoyed the course so much. I know that if I had an idea – I could run it through the group for comments and feedback – this is priceless and stops us working within a ‘bubble’ or within a specific region alone.



1: The mixed approach of ‘theory’ / case studies / practical ‘hands on’ tasks

2: Getting a better understanding of GDPR

3: Why loyalty schemes are important long-term

4: Segment your audiences – contact them frequently

5: Spend time on data analysis. Invest your time / effort




As a member you can apply to Film Hub Wales for Training & Skills Support.

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