Wednesday, February 15, 2006
Newsflash: Movie Theaters To Charge Different Prices At Off-Peak!
In a bizarrely out of touch column in the New York Times, they say that just around the corner is the possibility of variable pricing at movie theaters. That would be exciting, breaking news...if movie theaters hadn't already been doing it for decades. Tuesday nights are often heavily discounted to encourage moviegoers on weekdays -- something that has literally been around since at least the Seventies. And unlike New York City, almost every other town in the country offers matinee prices where people who go to a movie before, say, 5:30 p.m. pay less. Where the hell has the NYT been all these years to think variable pricing is a radical innovation? In fact, the change studios are making isn't to discount off-peak hours but to charge MORE for prime time tickets and choice seats. (A few theaters in Manhattan annoyingly rope off some seats for reserved tickets that cost $5 extra.) Squeezing out a few extra bucks when most people want to go (as opposed to discounts to bring them in on off hours) is in fact a very stupid, shortsighted idea. Ticket sales are in a slump and their response is to charge more for Friday nights? Brilliant.