December 17, 2005

Stupid Irrational Customers

"Pursuing the Scarcer Moviegoers," an article on why folks are staying away from movie theaters, demonstrates the unconscious witlessness of theater owners. To whit:

Mr. Fithian insisted that going to the movies is not too expensive, compared to other out-of-the-home leisure activities. "If consumers seriously analyzed their options, they'd realize that the cinema is the best value for a buck," he said.

Stupid consumers. If they only behaved rationally!

And it seems theater owners primary mode of response is to harass.... their customers! "'"We have to attack rude behavior - fighting, bickering, talking too loud,' Mr. Fithian said."

In my experience, it's not other people that have made me by-and-large give up on movie attendance. My reasons are echoed by statements from actual consumers made in the article:

  • bad advertising subjected on a captive audience (that also makes viewing times 20 minutes longer than stated)
  • overpriced concessions (yes, I know I don't need to eat in the theater, but I like popcorn snacking)
  • Oh, right, there's very little worth seeing

But instead, the theater owners seem to think the solution involves blocking mobile phone transmissions. While, yes, mobile phones are an irritant, they are a minor, minor aggravant compared to the misery that the theater owners themselves foist upon their customers.

It fascinates me how openly hostile businesses can be toward their customers, and then act SHOCKED! when customers start leaving them in droves. People have so many choices, so many options now, but theater owners act as if they're the only game in town when it comes to movies, and so have a captive audience that must succumb to their whims.

Some day, some smart company (probably a movie studio, maybe a distributor, probably a savvier player like 2929 Entertainment) is going to engage in a customer research study of film consumption. Get all ethnographic, quantitative, and simply go deep in understanding how films fit in people's lives, and all the opportunities there are for satisfying customer's with this material. And this company is going to realize all sorts of benefits by giving people what they actually want in this time-shifted, home-theater, dvd-player-in-the-car, bittorrent-movies-on-my-laptop-on-the-plane world.

Posted by peterme at 10:42 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack


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