AMC Theaters Announces Latest Move To Boost Ticket Sales
AMC Theaters announced a plan to price tickets based on seating position within the auditorium, although it’s unclear if such a cookie-cutter plan will work in all markets. In large markets, where incomes are higher and the upper-middle class and wealthy are happy to pay more to get the best seats, it’s likely to go down well. However, in lower-income rural areas, this may not be seen as an advantage.
The initiative is called Sightline at AMC and will be rolled out first in selected markets and then nationwide after testing. You can choose Standard Sightline at the regular ticket price, Value Sightline in the front row at a reduced price, and Preferred Sightline with seats in the middle of the auditorium.
In fact, many other entertainment venues cut prices to attract more viewers after attendance dried up, then slowly crawled back for live events due to COVID-19. For example, the Tampa Bay Rays are offering $10 tickets to all home games this season in the hope that “a lower price point will lead to bigger viewership,” according to Marc Topkin of the TAMPA BAY TIMES. The cheaper tickets are “located in the Party Deck section above left field and select lower-tier games,” he said, with at least 1,000 of those tickets available for each game. The Rays implemented an improvement in ticketing technology so that scalpers can’t buy the tickets and sell them at a higher price.
The new offer from AMC is based on an already existing loyalty program. The premium tickets are only available to those enrolled in the AMC Stubs Club, which has three tiers:
Premiere costs $15/year plus tax and offers discounts on large popcorn and fountain drinks, waives online ticket fees and gives you perks like discounted tickets on Tuesdays and a $5 reward for every dollar spent.
Priced at $19.95/month plus tax, A List gives you the same benefits as Stubs Premiere, plus you can watch up to 3 movies per week in Dolby Cinema, IMAX or RealD.
Although some worries about catching COVID-19, the flu or another infectious disease when going out and especially around people in cinemas have receded, some moviegoers have completely changed their habits, choosing to just stay at home and stream to enjoy movies.
AMC has struggled to get moviegoers flocking back to theaters post-COVID and launched a loyalty program for its “meme investors,” which caused a brief squeeze, allowing AMC to sell stock and avoid bankruptcy . AMCX shares were at $2/share in early 2021 when the company was considering filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, but surged to a high of $72.62 in June 2021 after meme investors jumped into the stock. It closed yesterday at $18.04.
Meme investors dubbed themselves “the monkey army” and AMC management rewarded them. AMC Investor Connect members receive a tub of free popcorn with every visit, as well as discounted movies on Tuesdays, free screenings, and other awards and perks. The Monkey Army has nicknamed its CEO Adam Aron the “Silverback,” and he’s doing everything he can to keep them loyal.
The company also announced it will be releasing a co-branded Visa card this year, and those who sign up and spend $50 within the first three months of receiving the card will receive credit at the theater in the Value of $50.
Still, the company still has a lot of work to do and it’s not clear if raising ticket prices for some seats will be enough. The company reported revenue of $2.9 billion with an operating loss of $298 million for the first three quarters of last year. That’s a huge improvement from 2021, when the company was badly hit by the pandemic, posting just $1.2 billion in revenue and a staggering $4.2 billion in operating loss.