In this regard, it probably doesn’t come as
too much of a shock that the biggest theater owner in the country, Regal Entertainment Group, is considering a sale of the company.
Regal conveniently disclosed this intention while releasing some poor financial results -- results that showed its revenue sinking 15%, and earnings falling by more than half in its third quarter reporting period.
This is a period that includes the big summer theatrical box office period, which industrywide also witnessed a 15% drop in revenue from a year ago. The good news for Regal? Its stock price soared after closing -- nearly 20%.
Give Regal credit: After emerging from bankruptcy in 2002, the company still grew through many acquisitions of smaller theater chains.
Over the past year, many mergers and acquisitions of TV station groups garnered huge attention -- and prices. Though media analysts continue to worry about sometimes-lackluster advertising revenues, at these outlets prospects are generally upbeat.
It’s harder to put theater owners into the same optimistic category now that many niche, more independent movie makers and/or distributors are considering simultaneously releasing movies through home living room screens as well as on the big screen, through high-priced video-on-demand projects.
Still, film director Christopher Nolan believes that “fan-based” movie brands that use
“expensive presentation formats that cannot be accessed or reproduced in the home” will be key to success. At the same time, he says, it shouldn’t be only about the wow-factor
of the technology.
Product and time sensitivity might be key, and also being able to adjust to quickly changing consumer wants in the big theater. If a movie doesn’t work on Friday, perhaps a theater can quickly shift to another film or other video content. Data from the biggest film fans -- those who respond quickly with criticism through social media -- could be used to make adjustments.
TV networks/stations have been known to quickly adjust their TV schedules, perhaps not because of social media, but through constant monitoring of other TV-video content on channels.
For theater owners to survive, perhaps there needs to be a quicker-to-market plan to drive consumers outside their home for a more unique entertainment experience.