Blink: Recently, Adam Aron CEO of AMC Entertainment announced that his company was considering allowing theater patrons to text during movies. A social media storm ensued; Adam then indicated they would be leaving the idea on “the cutting room floor.” However, I predict texting will be coming to your theaters soon.
Read On: In a Variety magazine interview, Aron discussed targeting consumers who do not see movies frequently, specifically Millennials. Consequently, to appeal to Millennials, he believes if they can work on the logistics of not disturbing other members of the audience, texting should be allowed. “When you tell a 22-year-old to turn off the phone, don’t ruin the movie, they hear please cut off your left arm above the elbow. You can’t tell a 22-year-old to turn off their cellphone. That’s not how they live their life.”
Immediately AMC experienced a social media backlash, thus they decided to shelf the idea. Peace among movie goers was restored. However, I believe given the potential spending power of the Millennials, AMC will figure out how to facilitate texting in their theaters. Rationale: 1.) AMC will want to increase its overall ticket revenue. Millennials is one of the key demographics they are targeting, thus it would behoove them to make their theaters text friendly (Instagram and Snapchat too!); and 2.) AMC is now competing for consumers’ fair share of food dollars. Some of their locations are new Dine-in MegaPlex theaters that sell everything from popcorn and raisinets to burgers (five types including one vegetarian), chicken sandwiches, salads, sushi rolls with sriracha mayo and crisped Brussels sprouts. Some of their complexes have cafes (MacGuffins) adjacent to the theaters with a similar menu plus adult beverages. Further utilizing technology (beacons) they will be able to text specials to their patrons to further drive concession sales and profit.
Watch out! Whether you like it or not, texting will be coming to your theaters soon!