Spectacle, better quality food, and gaming — movie theaters are trying everything to fill their seats. Cinema’s future depends on them getting it right. Are their attempts enough to compete with the convenience of streaming?
A story in The Hollywood Reporter looked at four ways the movie industry hopes the big screen experience will stay relevant in a small screen world:
Gamification: National CineMedia created an in-cinema gaming platform that gives people something to do when they aren’t paying attention to the ads. Oh, and they’ll also push ads in the games.
Premium Cinema: Providing movie-goers with better food, bazillion-speaker sound systems and wider, cushier seats makes the movie-going experience more pleasant. At the same time, it means a night at the movies ends up costing $30-$50 per person – before the beer.
MoviePass: So the business logic works like this. Buy movie tickets at full price. Charge subscribers eight bucks a month and let them go to thirty movies a month. Who cares about investors’ math skills? Grab the deal before they go belly-up.
App-based Ticket Sales: A new generation expects businesses to come to them on their mobile devices. Companies like Fandango make finding movies and buying tickets easy.
Home is Cheaper and More Comfortable
The movie industry has to try something. They have a business model that hasn’t changed much since the 1920s. The next few years are going to see some dramatic changes that will make life even tougher for movie theater owners:
Wireless Broadband: Between 5G connections and gigabit satellite internet services, the cable companies’ lock on broadband internet is coming to an end. Streaming is only going to get easier.
Cinematic Homes: 4K televisions with HDR are cheaper than ever. A single sound bar or smart speaker provides excellent quality sound. Netflix and chill is here to stay.
4K Streaming: DirecTV Now, Netflix and the other streaming services are adding more high-resolution content so people can take advantage of their new televisions and better broadband.
Don’t knock the movie theater industry’s attempts to innovate. Even if beer and in-theater gaming doesn’t work, theaters need to find some reason for Generation Z to buy tickets.