Fewer Movie Seats Filled

The New York Times had an interesting article on movies and why fewer people are seeing them this summer.

Multiples theories for the decline abound: a failure of studio marketing, the rising price of gas, the lure of alternate entertainment, even the prevalence of commercials and pesky cellphones inside once-sacrosanct theaters. But many movie executives and industry experts are beginning to conclude that something more fundamental is at work: Too many Hollywood movies these days, they say, just are not good enough.

Let me add one more: the Internet.

Hold on, not in the way you think.

The Internet has become the instant disseminator of intelligence. Some is good and useful, some is bad and misleading. The good Internet intelligence has sped the process of word-of mouth. When a movie stinks, you can find out right away!

Go to Google to find a movie’s showtimes. The first thing you see is a link to reviews and a ‘master’ rating.

I’m afraid, to a certain extent, the Internet’s intelligence has also made us incredibly price conscious – probably to our own detriment. Recently, I’ve been telling friends how big companies avoid customer service since it’s a ‘loss center.’

If we’re only buying on price (and I’m as guilty as anyone), why provide customer service? It’s no longer part of the purchasing equation.

Try to find the corporate office of your cellphone or cable company, or see if you can reach someone authorized to actually help you with any consumer problem. It’s difficult and becoming more difficult by the day.

So, we don’t go to movies because we hear how mediocre or not great they are. And, nowadays, mediocre or not great is not enough… especially when you’re valuing movies by price.

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