- Posted by Johanna on February 16, 2006 at 7:06 am
- Category: LinkBlogging
The New York Times reports on movie theaters considering variable pricing. That means that you’d pay more to see a desirable film at a hot time than you would to see a movie that’d been out for several weeks on a weeknight.
At first it sounds like a good idea… I rarely go the movies any more, and when I do go, it’s usually the first show on Sunday or a Tuesday night, because I don’t like the behavior of most other moviegoers. If they’d otherwise be playing to a near-empty theater, then we should be able to get a discount on our ticket. However, here’s a warning bell:
It is not entirely rational, but shoppers usually need to be tempted with a discount first. Companies can sneak in a surcharge later, as part of a broader price increase. Or they can offer obvious benefits to people willing to pay more. That is how the theaters are proceeding: slowly and quietly, so that people won’t notice the change until it’s too late.
Of course shoppers want a discount! If we’re not going to the movies because the value for money isn’t any good — if we can have a better experience cheaper at home with a DVD — then why would we want to consider paying more?
I suspect that what’s going to happen is that theater owners only see the part where they raise prices for Saturday night new movies and reserved seats. I doubt they’re thinking about what happens if this attempt to get more money for the same thing drives even more viewers away.