Adapt Or Die

CineplexWe’ve all heard the mantra and depending on our age, we have heard it for decades. We know it’s true. Look at Netflix destroying Blockbuster, which had destroyed the independent video rental stores. Look at Amazon destroying the big book stores and now threatening other retailers. The list goes on and on. Nothing new.

The demise of the traditional movie theater has also been predicted for several years now as well. The actual number of screens in the U.S. has almost doubled since 1987 but has been about flat for the last few years. (As an aside, the number of drive in movies has dropped by 2/3’s in that same time frame.) What has kept indoor movie theaters from going the way of Blockbuster, et al?

Partially the continued protection of the channel by the movie producers who give them release preference. However, that would not be enough in the long-term as all it takes is a few studios to break the mold and it would be over. No the theaters have adapted.

I was reminded of that continued adaptation while visiting a Cineplex in Saskatoon (of all places). Almost all the movies being shown and most coming out are in 3-D. Can’t (yet) get that experience at home. Some of the theaters, here and elsewhere, offer reserved seating and in theater dining. Making it a real date night (with added revenue for the theater).

Cineplex here in Canada has a corporate sponsor on their theaters, ScotiaBank. I expect to see that in the US soon (and it may be there already, just nowhere I’ve been recently). They promoted a new 4-Dx feature coming in the near future to Cineplex theaters. What is 4-Dx? A feature designed to give the viewer true sensory involvement with the action. The seats will move to make the viewer part of the action in the movie. They are going to produce sensory effects including smell, water, snow, etc. Can’t get that at home.

Prior to the start of the movie they had the viewers use an app to play a game to win loyalty points. Getting attendee involvement. (Fortunately they still ask you to turn your phone off before the movie starts.) They have also created a service where you can download/stream the movies once they are released and if you want to buy the movie you are watching when it comes out that is available at a discount. (Going after Netflix directly.)

The channel/industry is successfully adapting. Take a cue and make sure you do too.


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