Matthew Liebmann, Chief Operating Officer at Movio
To say Matthew is a cinema fanatic might be putting it too lightly. Matthew kindly shares how his love for cinema eventually led him to Movio, a company not many have heard of, yet is a household name in the global cinema industry. Matthew also shares his thoughts on the people that will thrive amidst global uncertainly. Enjoy.
Firstly, how would you explain to your Grandma what you do?
First, I’d convene a séance… Then I’d tell her that Movio combines data science gurus, technology geniuses and movie industry experts to develop platforms that allow global cinema companies to connect moviegoers with their ideal movies in a way that demonstrably boosts moviegoer attendance and spend.
“...the best way for cinema to thrive in the future is by exhibitors knowing their guests and treating them as individuals...”
Was working in tech something you dreamed about doing as a kid, if not, what was?
My first love is cinema and I worked for a variety of cinema exhibition companies in Australia and New Zealand prior to joining Movio. The reason I was so excited to join the Movio team is that the best way for cinema to thrive in the future is by exhibitors knowing their guests and treating them as individuals, and our technology is the global leader in helping exhibitors to achieve that.
Tell us a little bit more about your career journey and ultimately about how you ended up working at Movio?
After graduating with a BCom (Marketing) degree in Sydney Australia, I worked for a retail marketing consultancy in New York City. While there, I volunteered for film festivals and completed film courses at New York University. Upon returning to Australia, I spent 6 years in a variety of roles at Village Cinemas in Melbourne before relocating to Sydney where I spent the next 6 years as an entertainment and media consultant at PwC.
This led to an opportunity to become the General Manager of SKYCITY (now Event) Cinemas in New Zealand. I then moved back to Sydney to work at Hoyts Cinema, leaving in 2014 as their Chief Operating Officer. From there, I moved to LA to head up Movio’s operations in the Americas as well as overseeing their cinema platform. Finally, I moved with Movio to Auckland at the beginning of 2019 as their inaugural Chief Operating Officer.
Can you share some more insight into what that transition was like?
The transition from pure cinema exhibition to technology came about because I was charged with designing and launching Hoyts’ loyalty program, Hoyts Rewards. We found that our point of sales platform captured immense amounts of data, but it was virtually impossible to access and make sense of, let alone action in a timely manner.
I was introduced to the founders of Movio and quickly saw that their platform allowed marketers to go from campaign concept to targeted segment to marketing communication in 15 minutes and it was life changing! Hoyts became a client and went on to be awarded the ‘Loyalty Programmes National Winner’ in the Australian Marketing Institute’s 2012 Marketing Excellence competition. When the opportunity to transition from traditional cinema exhibition to a unique moviegoer-focussed technology company, I didn’t think twice!
“To me, there is something noble about motivating people to watch a great story on a big screen with families, friends and even strangers. ”
What is it specifically that you like about working in tech and at Movio relative to your past jobs?
I love the way Movio produces advanced technology to achieve humane outcomes. To me, there is something noble about motivating people to watch a great story on a big screen with families, friends and even strangers.
If the COVID-19 shutdown has shown us anything, it’s that we crave social experiences like cinema and I am proud to work for a company that has helped to facilitate that for a decade, and will play a part in reigniting the industry as the pandemic subsides and cinemas reopen around the world.
Do you have any advice for people considering tech as a career path and how they might get there quicker?
I’ll answer this for someone with a non-technical background like myself: If you focus more on what the technology allows users to achieve rather than the technology ‘under the hood’, you will probably find that there is a place for you because – to state the obvious – tech companies need all sorts of experience and skills to allow them to succeed.
“Finally, the world is likely to be less certain for the next few years at least, and so we require people who are resilient, optimistic, adaptable and up for a challenge!”
Lastly, as Movio continues to evolve, what kind of talent do you want to hear from over the coming year?
We will continue to seek hard-working, smart people who believe in the ongoing power and relevance of cinema. We believe that our data science expertise helps make what we do ‘Uniquely Movio’ and so will continue to build our strength in that arena. Finally, the world is likely to be less certain for the next few years at least, and so we require people who are resilient, optimistic, adaptable and up for a challenge!