Movie Theater Chains Need TV More Than Ever

Times changed dramatically for the traditional movie business over the past year -- with pandemic-fueled closures of theaters and the dramatic sudden rise of at-home streaming of new theatrical movies.

Now, here is a look at the new world of moviegoing.

AMC Theaters, the biggest U.S. movie chain, figures it needs to be aggressive -- starting its first national marketing campaign on network television, perhaps the first ever for a movie theater chain.

This comes after other recent actions by the company, such as raising money through seemingly endless new stock offerings. And then there was the meme it got wrapped up in -- along with Gamestop -- which sent the stocks of both companies soaring.

For years, movie theater chains let movie studios do the heavy lifting when it came to their business -- spending hundreds of millions of dollars a year promoting movies.



Only thing consumers had to do was figure out where their movies were playing. In the past, that meant looking up movie listings in newspapers or weekly local magazines. More recently, of course, there are scores of online movie sites.

But the business has apparently changed forever -- perhaps with a good portion of those casual, occasional moviegoers disappearing for good.

So what’s the goal now for AMC Theaters? Perhaps, it is getting forever-loyal movie fanatics who go to see films two or three times a month to see films five or six times a month. That would help make up for lost box-office business.

Will other chains follow?

Already, AMC has looked to make up revenue in other areas -- like a deal with Universal Pictures that gives it a revenue share of streaming movies promoted in its theaters. Other chains have done the same.

At one time movie theaters may have considered TV their arch rival when that nascent entertainment business took off in the 1950s and 1960s. Surely, those movie theaters weren’t going to look to TV to directly promote their business.

But now, TV isn’t the enemy -- not even a frenemy. Perhaps, it's a proven consumer marketing platform that new -- and older -- entertainment companies need.

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