I have often thought that the movie theaters are really missing out on an opportunity. This is not VOD but probably would be the next best thing and would not take as much bandwith as VOD. Here's my idea-
Movie theaters appeal to basically one market. They show first run movie releases and some older ones on the big screen to a group of people who for the most part would go to the theaters regardless of what is showing. The primary objective is to go out for a social activity, that includes going to the movies. My daughter is a member of this large market as she goes to the movies at least once a week. Sometimes she goes to the same movie twice because she is with friends that elects to see that movie but not because she wants to see the same movie twice. It is a social activity, not what is showing.
The theaters should recognize this and make an effort to gain access to the local cable PPV channels and run first run movies on these PPV channels in HDTV (preferably) or at least letterbox and DD at minimum. Charge a premium for this but not out of line, I'd suggest similar to what you pay in the hotels for a movie. If they offered this service they would actually access a new market, not lose their existing market. No, they would not have the consession stand revenue but we're not talking any real overhead either. The cable would get their cut and the theaters would get theirs. It would simply be an additional revenue stream they are not currently getting that would have very little overhead. I think the major chains would be interested in this.
This is not really new as we have already seen BlockBuster, a predominate tape, game, and DVD rental business branch into the PPV dbs business. The theaters have the opportunity now to contract with local cable companies to improve the current offerings and increase revenues but unless they seize this opportunity they will be left out to continue only getting a single market, the social movie goers.
In the past, it has been the theater industry who has fought PPV and boxed media of movies while they still have the exclusive on the first run. If they ran the first run releases in PPV HDTV on local cable, it would eliminate this stumbling block for us potential customers and open new revenue stream for them.
Home Theater Pics at: www.scubatech.com
Last updated 3/25/01