Outdoor cinema
The event is promising around 35 outdoor cinema evenings without a single confirmed venue Facebook

UPDATE: On 6 May, Outdoor Cinema announced its first "wave of events" due to take place at venues in England between July and September. These film nights are due to take place in Hackney in north east London, Kingston, Kent, Durham and Bristol. The original article and headline follows.


Outdoor Cinema: Hundreds of thousands of people fall for 'data mining scam'

Hundreds of thousands of people may have been duped into giving their personal details away in a data mining scam that claims to be advertising outdoor cinema events around the UK.

Dozens of Facebook pages have popped up in the past few days that advertise events from The Outdoor Cinema, a company claiming to be bringing "some of the biggest films in history to your area in a pop-up open air cinema".

In just a few days, the events have gained a lot of interest, with around 300,000 people registering their interest in outdoor cinema nights in cities such as Leeds, Newcastle and London.

In total, there are 35 separate events listed on Facebook for the Outdoor Cinema club in places including Bournemouth, Liverpool, Sheffield and Norwich, all due to be held between 5 June and 30 September. However, none of the pages have key information such as a venue, ticket prices, precise dates, the night the events will take place or even what films will be shown.

Despite this, the Outdoor Cinema's home page continues to request registrations of interest in upcoming events. This involves sharing personal details such as email addresses, dates of birth, home cities and even mobile phone numbers.

Mark Cook, head of digital marketing at Norwich-based company Selsti, found the Facebook events suspicious and discovered a number of questionable details about Outdoor Cinema.

In a blog post Cook said no organisation exists with the registered name Outdoor Cinema Company. Its website is owned by TOC Events Ltd, which has also never been registered and there also appears to be no telephone number for either The Outdoor Cinema or TOC Events Ltd.

Several local councils have not confirmed any official event from a company called the Outdoor Cinema is taking place at any point this summer and no licences for such an event has been issued.

A spokesperson for Leeds Council said: "I have no knowledge of the named company on Facebook having applied for any form of licensing in the Leeds area.

"Neither the events team or our parks service have any knowledge of this company or event."

TOC Event LTD is also listed to an address in Portsmouth that belongs to KSL Accountants & Business Advisors, who confirm they have "nothing to do" with Outdoor Cinema and do not handle their accounts.

Many people have also taken to the Outdoor Cinema's many Facebook pages to express their concerns that it may be a scam.

IB Times UK is awaiting comment from Outdoor Cinema.

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A second outdoor cinema company entitled Moonlight Cinema advertising similar events in cities across the UK also appears to not be legitimate.

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The yellow highlight shows where the name Moonlight Cinema would have occurred if it had been registered

Just like Outdoor Cinema, there is also no official company with the name Moonlight Cinema. It currently does not have a website and is only asking for Facebook users to "like" its events pages and tag three friends "you would invite to enjoy" an unspecified cinema experience with.

Despite virtually no information being available, some local news websites still wrote about the claims of an upcoming event with the promise of "more info being released soon".

UPDATE: Outdoor Cinema has said the business is legitimate and the name was not originally registered as an official company due to an "error with the online sign up".

A spokesperson added: "We at the Outdoor Cinema launched last Sunday (12 April) and since have been totally overwhelmed by the response that we've had, via social media as well as our website sign up. Since Sunday night we've had 98,000 people like our Facebook page and the positive response has really touched us.

"A blog post by Mark Cook was published last night stating that he thought what we were up to here at the Outdoor Cinema was a scam. We'd like to take this time to reassure all of you that this is a 100% honest operation, not a scam in anyway. The company is registered under TOC Productions Limited, and we're now working with Mark to prove the legitimacy the Outdoor Cinema, and he has now updated his article which you can see here.

"The Outdoor Cinema is a project ran by a group of friends all from an events background, who're endeavouring to make your summer more exciting through carefully planned cinematic experiences in unusual spaces. Events across the country are in the process of being organised by The Outdoor Cinema team - between us we are working hard to make this happen and can't wait to have you all as a part of this over the summer."

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Moonlight Cinema is also promising 'breathtaking locations under the stars' with next to no information Facebook