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Box Office Business

Thursday, May 16, 2019
Trinity students in movie prop masks

BAT seniors dive into data to help movie theater company

by Jeremy Gerlach

How do demographics affect the success of movie theaters? Do theaters’ loyalty programs work? Does alcohol affect revenue more than other concessions?

These are questions that Adria Schroeder ’19 spent her final semester answering. She’s a business analytics and technology and geoscience double major, and this year she enrolled in BAT 4301, Consulting Experience in Business Analytics and Technology, an experiential course led by professor Diana Young where students help real-world businesses use data to answer valuable questions. Schroeder, along with Samantha Simank ’19, did consulting for Santikos Entertainment, a popular San Antonio movie theater company.

“Getting this type of work in as an undergraduate is really important,” Schroeder says. “You’re getting experience working with data that’s not ‘clean,’ and that’s what real work in this field is like.”

Working with Santikos, Schroeder and her classmates were able to use linear regression, random forest, and regression tree models, along with massive dataframes, void analyses, and even GIS mapping software, to provide actionable insight to the company.

In short, they found:

  1. Theaters with alcohol sales and having an arcade increase revenue, compared to locations that don’t
  2. Some venues rely more on weekday admissions for revenue than the weekend
  3. Total revenue is tied closely to racial and economic demographics.

Trinity professor and students meet with Santikos personnel

Andrew Brooks, director of Strategy and Innovation for Santikos, says partnering with Trinity’s BAT department yielded extremely valuable insight. “Trinity’s BAT students brought a wealth of knowledge, energy and excitement to a project we had been wanting to tackle for over a year,” he says. “Their outcomes very closely mirrored our very own internal findings and they even showed us a few new tricks when using certain software.”

Brooks notes that Schroeder and Simank were “inquisitive, energetic and an absolute joy to work with.” He also says that their analytics skills are essential for graduates to have for careers in any industry.

“We are a data driven society and world,” Brooks says. “We need to understand who the consumer is, what the consumer wants, when they want it, and how they want it. And the best way to figure that out is to dive into the data.”

Life in BAT 4301 wasn’t all statistics: Schroeder and Simank also got to have a little fun with official Marvel and Star Wars promotional props while working with Santikos, donning an Iron Man and Stormtrooper mask while conducting a site visit to a theater.