Customer experience is becoming a real problem. As multiplexes look for multiple sources of revenue and turn to advertising, high priced concessions and arcade games they are creating an experience that is only tolerated by teenagers who have different standards of acceptable theater behavior. Talking, seat switching, cellphone use, etc. are behaviors that are not well tolerated by older(35+) moviegoers. This encourages older customers to stay home and watch DVDs on their home theaters. When the rare movie designed to appeal to baby boomers is released theater owners and movie studios wonder why older movie goers don't come out to the theaters.(Witness the theatrical disappointment of Cinderella Man) They don't have enough customer intuition to see that they have designed their customer experience to be unfriendly to precisely the customers who can most afford the alternatives of DVD collections and home theaters.
Some call for enhanced theater experience. There are instances where a unique movie theater going experience could be crafted.
However, the days of the giant multiplex trying to be all things to all moviegoers is limited. There are just too many options for people to chose to attend movies at theaters that don't provide an experience that resonates with them. <b>I think we will see multiplex theaters divided up to serve different audiences</b>. Not unlike the subdivision of large theaters to provide more screens and more choices.
The adult theaters will serve adult concessions and beverages, provide shopping opportunities, feature seats and legroom that better accommodate adult dimensions, etc. The Teenager theaters will feature advanced technology, cellphone based interactive elements, teen popular concessions, entertainment, seats, computers, gaming systems, etc. Family theaters will be kid friendly at every turn. From bathrooms for kids and families to cry friendly screenings every aspect of the theater going experience can be tailored to appeal to children and families. Would this work? Of course it would. Look at Chuck E. Cheese.
It's segmentation time. That's not to say that the same movies couldn't be shown in each section of the multiplex.(they already show popular films on multiple screens) I am just saying that providing separate lobbies, theaters, concession stands and thereby moviegoing experiences is the only way forward for the big theater operators. Maybe now that Loews and AMC have merged this would be good advice as they deal with their potential oversupply of screens and locations.
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