Friday, March 17, 2006

Denial is a convention in Vegas

The movie theater business isn't what it used to be but that, apparently, has not dawned on movie theater owners. Unfortunate! Except: it's their own fault. And: it makes Anne Thompson's ShoWest report a true comic masterpiece.

Without comment -- because why embellish the absurd? -- Thompson tells of theater owners who laugh at "Bubble," as they engage in yet more self-delusion: "This week National Association of Theatre Owners president and CEO John Fithian openly gloated over 'Bubble's' failure to launch, calling simultaneous release experiments 'radically misguided.' He pointed out that the average window between theatrical and DVD narrowed only four days between 2004 and '05, to four months and 16 days. 'The reality is the window is not changing,' Fithian said. 'The vast majority of Hollywood knows this windows model works.'"

The model works? Really? Huh.

But the real reason movie theater owners are doomed is clear if you just re-read Fithian's quote. Do you see any mention of the consumer? Even one?

At least Todd Wagner, the brain behind "Bubble" and himself a (gasp!) theater owner, sounds like he lives in the real world: "'Bubble' was a sleeper hit in hotels, where it was the third-biggest seller last month. 'That's part of the model,' Wagner says. 'Consumers had a chance to make an impulse buy. They read about "Bubble" and were able to click a button....We have opportunities to rethink how we bring content to consumers. New business makes all boats rise.'"

Gee. It's like protectionist business models are simply lost on the guy!

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