Narute Jiensnong: Striving To Provide Unique Movie Viewing Experience At Affordable Price In Thailand

Narute Jiensnong: Striving To Provide Unique Movie Viewing Experience At Affordable Price In Thailand

Narute Jiensnong , CMO

Narute Jiensnong


Film viewing has been an integral part of Thailand’s culture with cinemas being considered popular venues for entertainment. Apart from local cinemas, the country also has many multiplexes, offering some of the most unique and luxurious film-viewing experiences to the people. With around 800 screens across the country, Major Cineplex is the largest movie theater operator in Thailand.

At the helm of Major Cineplex Group’s unique offerings has been its Chief Marketing Officer, Narute Jiensnong. Using extensive experience as a Marketing professional in the Telecom and Entertainment Industry, Narute has been guiding the firm to provide affordable and convenient services to viewers across the country. In an exclusive interview with CEO Insights ASIA, Narute discusses his leadership style and success mantra, the challenges he has faced throughout the journey and how he has been mitigating them, and much more.

You possess over two decades of experience. How has your path to success been and what is your success mantra?

My number one mantra is to be customer obsessed. Being a part of the service industry, we try our best to seek customer pain and continuously improve our product and service while focusing on the customer experience. The seamless experience that we offer is one of the key factors behind Major Cineplex's success.

We aim to be Thailand's first cashless cinema. Currently, 95 percent of customer payments are done through cashless mode. In 2022, 35 percent of our tickets were received via mobile channels, and we hope to increase that to 70 percent this year. We also have around 150,000 subscribers in our subscription program, named MPASS, and aim to increase that to 500,000 subscribers by the end of 2023. We believe that MPASS is the key to encouraging customers to return to the cinema regularly.

Another important part of our business is popcorn, which is an important piece of the big picture that contributes to Major Cineplex's success. In 2019, we earned three billion baht in sales from the popcorn business, which spawned a new business called ‘out of cinema popcorn’, which includes delivery and pop-up stores. This business has earned 50 million baht per month and aims to earn more than 600 million baht by 2023.

Define Major Cineplex as an organization and its current position in the market.

Major Cineplex is defined as a lifestyle cinema with a 75 percent market share in Thailand and operations in two other countries: Laos and Cambodia. We have launched many initiatives that cater to different customer segments. For instance, our Kids Cinema segment reflects our business strategy of being a family destination where families can spend time together.

Being a part of the Service industry, we Try our best to seek Customer pain and Continuously improve Our product and service While focusing on the Customer experience

Kids Cinema is the unglue lifestyle cinema that provides a wide range of unique services created for the family audience, such as a workshop before the screening, a butler service to take care of your kids closely throughout the movie screening, a family seat with a maximum of four people, a giant ball pit & slider for the kids, and the adjusting of the theater, especially for Kids Cinema with an added 30 percent brightness and a reduced 20 percent volume level. Currently, Major has 10 Kids Cinema locations.

Could you reflect on some of the toughest challenges you have encountered in your journey so far? How did you overcome them and what did you learn from them?

The COVID-19 pandemic was a nightmare for every business, especially the cinema. In the first year of the pandemic, we still had a chance to open the cinemas sometimes as aside from being a distributor, we are also a Thai movie creator firm. So, we still had our own content to release during that time, which increased the Thai movie market share accordingly. Streaming platforms started growing rapidly during the second year of the pandemic due to cinemas being closed for a long time and people working from home. Adaptation was the need of the hour and we eventually decided to partner with streaming platforms to export Thai movies worldwide. The collaboration not only helps the Thai film market expand but also provides funds for future films.

As the CMO, what are the latest strategic plans you have adopted to expand/optimize operations and engage new audiences in the market? Going forward, what are the changes in market behavior that you anticipate, and what are the opportunities that you foresee?

Our strategic plan focuses on customer frequency. Segmentation is the key to understanding the customer's needs, which is why we emphasize developing the application. The priority has always been to offer the right things to the customer. For instance, push notifications to subscribers based on their behavior. The majority of the viewers always seek to improve personalization through mobile applications.

After the pandemic, the market's behavior changed. People go to the cinema less than before. People can also be distracted by other entertainment businesses. Some movies also last a long time, even more than three hours, which makes it challenging for us to entice customers to return to the cinema. Our current goal is to provide a convenient service while maintaining a reasonable ticket price. We are also providing all the latest movie technologies, great diversified content, and a convenient way to buy tickets through the mobile application.

Narute Jiensnong, CMO, Major Cineplex Group

Narute is a marketing professional with extensive marketing experience in Telecom and Entertainment Industry. Previously, He worked at Hutchison and Orange SA for a few years before joining Major Cineplex in 2005 and is currently working as the Chief Marketing Officer at the firm.

Hobbies: Travelling

Favorite Cuisine: Thai

Favorite Book: Think Again by Adam Grant

Awards & Recognition:

• Superbrands Thailand 2022

• Product of the Year 2022

• No.1 Brand Thailand 2022

• Influential Brands 2022

• Thailand's Most Admired Brand 2022

• Thailand Zocial Awards 2022

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