Member since: Aug 14th, 2006
Aug 14th 2006 12:41PM thanks for this - as a long-time GTD outlook plug-in user who feels some of its limitations, i appreciate the heads up about clear context. in your follow-up, it would be great if you would address the particular ability of each given desktop/web application to sync to PDAs, as many of us use both in concert.
Aug 1st 2006 3:07AM [reposting, as it did not take on the main thread; excerpted from my blog linked above]
. . . taking [the question] at face value (i.e., trying to solve the problem of how to get people into movie theaters, as opposed to suggesting alternate distribution channels for media), the movie theater business is a fat pipe designed, much like bestseller-driven book publishing houses, to shove product of a certain size out with a certain frequency. The problem has become how to stuff the pipe full enough, and how to spend enough on marketing to ensure the attendence is there (even if the quality of the content is not), leading to a downward cycle of more and more marketing for ever-safer movies that need more and more sales to break even.
There are several very obvious approaches to solving this problem, many of which have parallels in other industries.
1. Make it like cable tv. Add more content to the pipe, and break up the business model so it?s not so monolithically focused on delivering such a small number of products. Break your multi-plexes into multiple channels - so there?s always an indy film on, and a new chick flick every week. A savvy operator realizes he can sell off this distribution, or at least rent it (like cable).
2. Make it like ?appointment? TV. There?s always a foreign film on thurdays at 8, and a Hitchcock classic at midnight on Fridays and Saturdays. Cancel the channels and shows that don?t work after giving them a fair shot.
3. Make it like HBO. Go out and get the very best content, even if you have to bend the medium. Speaking of HBO, why not a weekly showing of the Sopranos, or Entourage, or NFL football?
4. Make it like a stadium / a ski resort / a cable company / a Dell computer. In combination with the above, experiment with the pricing model. Several good suggestions have been made in the comments already, but tying innovative pricing to something beyond ?all you can eat? is more interesting. Think luxury boxes, half-share box seats, season passes not good on weekends. Sell channels a la carte or in packages that appeal to market segments. . . let people ?build your own pass?.
5. Make it more social. Group discounts and family nights. Neighborhood discounts that rotate by what street you live on. Internet planning outing planning tools, comment publishing tools. Going to the movies is a great American institution. Take a cue from the Celebration, Florida, or the reinvention of classic ballparks, and reinvent this iconic experience around community.
6. Make it like a nightclub. Hire promoters with rolodexes. Encourage private bookings. Have exclusive VIP stuff. Have event-driven nights (think Oscars, Emmys, Superbowl).
7. Make it like Target. Have a celebrity programming host for certain slots and build identity around those personas. ?Stephen King presents? has a promising ring to it.
8. Make it like Google?s IPO. Completely reinvent the distribution model ? when you have a hot enough hand to do it ? by giving the theater a huge incentive to make your film. If a typical model is to spend $10 per butt-in-seat opening weekend, of which the house keeps 50% and for which the average capacity ranges from 60-100%, pay the house $4 a seat (at 100% capacity) to run it free, for opening week only, for as many seats as you want. (You could probably pay even less for late shows given away on a ?buy one get one free basis? that helps theater owners sell their other shows and popcorn.) Give the house a bigger (60%? 75%) cut of everything sold thereafter, and make the house commit to: a) significant coop advertising pushing the film for a month; and b) keeping the film open for as many weeks as the theater is at least 50% full (net on the week). If the movie?s any good, there will be word of mouth, and both sides win (less risk for the theater, less marketing cost for you). If it?s a stinker, you just saved half your marketing loss.
9. Mix and match!
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