Mark Pearson Hired As AMC Chief Strategy Officer – NOW is the time for creative streaming options

I’ve been mentioning that the timing is right to do something about shortening the theatrical window and at least during the current virus situation consider eliminating the window altogether in some geographic territories (IE. India, China).

Yes, there will be pirating. There still is now, even without streaming. Everybody’s afraid of the pirates destroying the world. As wider bandwidth increases, movies will be pirated in greater numbers regardless if there are legal options or not. I say get ahead of the pirates and offer moviegoers legal means to stream new release movies. If this kills off the theater chains because nobody will go to the movies for just overpriced concessions, than so be it.

I don’t believe this will happen any time soon. Yes, it will happen someday. Movie theaters as we know them today are living on borrowed time.

The wall against shortening the theatrical window is crumbling. Movie theaters need to accept and embrace that they have a social meeting place environment, not just a theater that shows movies on a giant screen. Understand what they are selling is that most people cannot get (easily) this experience at home.

Yes, more affluent people can setup a theater in their mansion, outbuilding or converted garage, then supply it with an HD projector or giant screen LCD and buy a commercial popcorn maker. Then they need to invite family, friends and associates to come and sit in the theater to watch movies … face it, even with the money and physical space, the logistics aren’t there.

Also, there’s the whole point of leaving your house to go somewhere with your significant other. There is a world outside home and it is good to get out and explore it. Staying home is all well and good, but it’s not the same.

Could we buy a super comfy giant recliner seat and put this in our home? Sure. Would we? Probably not. When we go to the movies, we prefer these seats over the traditional bucket theater seats. Once you’ve tried them, you’ll never want to sit in the others

Sell the differences, movie theater chains. Tell us about your whiz bang comfy recliner seats (pictured above) or just follow the link.

Where am I going with all of this? AMC has hired someone new in a “strategic” role. When I think of successful strategists at companies, I think of people that think outside the box.

Sometimes way outside the box. Bigger risk, bigger rewards.

“Mark is media-world savvy, has extensive strategy and business development experience and is highly regarded within the Hollywood community. He is the perfect person to help AMC continue to innovate and create opportunities that benefit our existing studio partners, emerging streaming power houses, our customers and our shareholders,” Aron said. He said Pearson’s “considerable experience in the SVOD space will greatly help AMC to create partnerships with streaming services including those from both established and emerging players.”

AMC Entertainment Hires Mark Pearson As Chief Strategy Officer – Deadline

AMC, Regal and other big movie theaters need to sell what they have better. Perhaps this is what Mark Pearson is being hired to do at AMC(?) but my gut feeling is Mark will never see this blog or my words. He’ll probably be insulated by assistants who wouldn’t dare do anything except get him Starbucks, but maybe one of them — just maybe — will come across this post and others I’ve made about the need to shrink the theatrical window for their business future survival.

Get ahead of the beast. Do what the giant record companies didn’t feel they needed to do. Listen to your customers. Give them what they want.

Listen or go out of business.

And just so it’s clear: I have seen every wide release movie released since August 12, 2019 in theaters. Would I watch some of them through a streaming option if they were available that way through our unlimited membership? Yes. So, that would cannibalize some of their concession sales from me.

I’d be OK with a surcharge home convenience fee whenever I chose that because just getting in the car to drive to the theater and back costs at least some $$ gas $$. If I can stay home and stream movies for $2-4 each (in addition to my monthly unlimited fee), you bet I would. Am sure others would do so, too.

Sure, there are downsides to home streaming options. You can’t sell individual tickets in someone’s house. The stream comes in and a dozen or more people could see it for the single stream. Technology with facial recognition could help ensure that each person in the audience has a virtual “ticket” and thus that is one way to get around making sure the audience has all paid for a ticket, even if it’s streaming. This would work for small in-home theater audiences, but cumbersome for larger group settings.

The technology to do what I described exists. Would some custom programming be required? Sure. Would it be 100% fullproof and invulnerable to theft/cheat/scam/pirating? No.

The point I’m making is the studios are missing a huge business opportunity. They seem to be just waiting out this virus problem, hoping it will end soon and people will start going to the movies again in the same numbers when — RIGHT NOW — they could sell newer streaming movies inside the current 90 day theatrical window, especially in geographic areas like China and India where moviegoers that want to see these movies can’t.

If you have people wanting to buy your product and can’t, its time to roll up those sleeves and fill the need. Mark Pearson, hopefully, you’re listening.

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