Elektriteater is the only arthouse cinema in Tartu. Their content focuses on Estonian (and, more broadly, European) feature films and documentaries. They opened in 2011 and are proud members of the Europa Cinemas Network. Elektiteater differs from other cinemas with their diverse movie programme that contains a large variety of film genres, including short films, animations, silent movie screenings with live music, etc. In addition, they also have frequent Q&A sessions with Estonian filmmakers. It is a cosy place where movies that would go unnoticed by mainstream cinemas can get their well-deserved screen time.
Our collaboration started with updating cinema’s website – it was outdated with a poorly optimized content management system. Read more about that project here .
During the web project, it soon became evident that the potential to minimize manual labour on the business side was huge. What made this particular project interesting was a request from our partner at Elektriteater: In addition to building a website, they also needed us to build a one-of-a-kind back-end system solution for the cinema that would automate a ton of paperwork for them and save thousands of hours every year in accounting and management tasks, which would otherwise have to be manually done by their employees.
We built them a true back-end beast. Most of the work on this projects was done around digitalisation and automation of business processes.The product owner Andres on Elektriteater’s side already had a vision on what the back-end system was going to look like. He was very hands-on during the whole process and even sketched the first wireframes to describe the business requirements. Soon after the platform had a name “Kinola” and got a visual touches by Fraktal Design Agency.
We used Laravel for creating this system. Laravel is a PHP framework we have a lot of previous experience. Therefore it was an easy choice to go with. The database is based on MySQL.
The system contains all the information on the movies that are being screened in a cinema. It automatically refreshes the information if something were to change and also advertises the movies to the viewers. The platform also allows the administrator to make custom cinema hall seating plans, seat types (e.g. couple seats!) and sell tickets accordingly. Up until this point they had been selling seats based on “the early bird gets the best spot” type of system. Not only selling tickets, but snacks & drinks aswell!
Because Elektriteater is part of the Europa Cinemas Network and also the The Estonian Authors’ Society, they have an obligation to report on how many people saw a particular screening along with some other data on it. The back-end system compiles all of the data automatically and all the human user needs to do is click a button to generate the report and then confirm that all of the data is correct.
Although Elektriteater is unique, their business model is not. There are many other smaller cinemas and theatres out there. Problems they face are similar and that’s why we see that there is a great opportunity to start offering the same back-end solution to other similar businesses.
It was a huge acknowledgement that widely popular Estonian Black Nights Film Festival decided to sell their tickers through Elektriteater’s platform – as we heard, it was just so well done!
We have collaborated with gotoAndPlay on various projects for several years and the experience has been great. They are incredibly smart and experienced in their field and are our go-to partners for new projects. Their knowledge has been invaluable when forming our ideas into actual working products and they have stood by us even trough some rather complex times.Andres Kauts, Founder and CEO Elektriteater