Sunday, April 10, 2011

Theatre Owners Freak Over New Premium Video On Demand Services

While I am whole heartedly prepared to pay $30 each on 60-day delayed new movie rentals, theater owners are freakin' out over the premium video-on-demand plan apparently being pushed by Warner, Sony, Fox and Universal. The most active objector so far appears to be AMC Theaters, which announced yesterday (press release after the break) it would notify studios that it plans to "adapt its economic model" regarding movies bound for p-VOD. What it wants is likely a bigger slice of the revenue and also a heads up on which movies will be getting the earlier releases. Rival theater chains Regal and Cinemark have already expressed plans to cut promotion and screens for movies headed to p-VOD, but without any official announcement it's still not clear which movies those will be. Of course, cutting down promo and screens cuts into the theater's own revenue, so we'll wait to see who blinks first.

AMC Theatres®: Company Statement Regarding Premium Video-On-Demand

We at AMC feel movie theatres are a critically important business to many parties: the 200+ million guests we host year after year who choose to view films on the large screen; the communities of which our theatres are an integral part; the artists who create the movies we show; and ultimately the entertainment industry for which our theatres generate the highest quality source of revenue.

We believe the theatrical experience has a bright future, and we are aggressively investing to prepare for it. We are in the midst of a multi-year, multi-million dollar rollout of digital projection and 3D, IMAX and our own proprietary ETX format. We are also introducing a new guest rewards program, better-for-you items, enhanced food and beverage offerings, dine-in theatre options and alternative, engaging programming for our guests to enjoy in our comfortable, state-of-the-art auditoriums. All activities we are currently engaged in have common goals - to increase attendance at our theatres and maintain the health of our industry.

The p-VoD world as currently defined threatens that health. As such, we have notified studios of our expectations regarding economic arrangements on movies that go p-VoD. It is not wise to discuss details in the press, and Company policy precludes it, but as these windows shrink and threaten our industry's future, it is only logical to expect AMC to adapt its economic model.

The future is bright, even as it promises to be different, and we look forward to the success that lies ahead for all parties.

About AMC Entertainment Inc.
AMC Entertainment Inc. delivers distinctive and affordable movie-going experiences in 361 theatres with 5,203 screens across the United States and Canada. The company operates 24 of the 50 highest grossing theatres in the country, including the top three. AMC has propelled industry innovation and continues today by delivering premium sight and sound, enhanced food and beverage and diverse content.

Source: Engadget

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