Thursday, November 10, 2011

Finding the "experience" in going to the movies

Our visit to the movie theaters allowed us to see two very different operating styles of the distributors. Both made it clear from the start that they wanted to differentiae themselves from the larger competition. I found that Studio 35 succeeded in doing so, while The Arena Grand fell short. The Arena Grand is an independent movie theater, but felt identical to an AMC, just with less movies playing. They offer specialty items in their bistro restaurant including drinks. Yet this “bistro” stunk of popcorn, so who would want to eat there and the drinks were way over priced. Going to a movie is expensive enough and while distributors make most of their money off concessions, I think in this case they were a little greedy. The hardest pill for them to swallow is the digitization of the film industry. In was clear that the company is worried about the costs that come with the new technology and are unsure if all their theaters will be prepared for the new form of film.

Studio 35 was awesome. It punctuates what Drake was trying to prove; that in a stagnate industry one must make an attempt to stand out in new ways. The bar looked like a place my Grandpa would drink and a great selection of microbrews. At the lower ticket prices customers are more willing to buy drinks. That works for them because that is clearly their main revenue stream. The seats were in a bowl, which I had never seen before. Everything there stuck me as original, and I cannot wait to go check it out again. I hate going to the movies and spending all that money on a sub-par film, but in the case of Studio 35 I am paying for an experience. Also you can order pizza and they will deliver it to you while you’re watching the move.

One thing the two theaters shared in common was their willingness to bend the rules. People don’t go to the movies like they used to, so the industry had to find new ways of creating revenue streams. The Arena Grand pockets all the cash from a private showing citing that they were just renting out the pace and not selling tickets. Studio 35 shows the Buckeye games even though they have received cease and desist orders. They need to show these games in order to cover their operating costs because they do not make enough of movies alone. Due to increased distribution costs and piracy these distributors have attempted to come up with unique and sometimes not always legal idea to attract customers. Patrons want a viewing experience that does not solely revolve around the film. Distributors who meet the needs of their specific clientele will be the ones still successful in the industry.

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