Go To The Movie, Get The Soundtrack For Free

from the yet-another-idea dept

It always amazes me when movie industry execs complain that the models we discuss wouldn’t work for the movie industry. That’s ridiculous, because in many ways, it’s already working for the industry. As Marcus Loew once famously said: “We sell tickets to theaters, not movies.” The movie has never been the “product.” The experience of seeing the movie is the product, and so the focus shouldn’t be freaking out about “pirates” while making the movie-going experience worse. It should be the opposite. It should be about enticing people to want to go out to the movies by giving them something extra that makes it worthwhile. Going to the movies is a social experience. It’s much cheaper to eat dinner at home, but plenty of people go out to eat at restaurants because those restaurants (while more expensive) give people a reason to go (better food quality, better service, a chance for a night out, no need to cook or wash the dishes, etc.). There’s no reason why the movie industry can’t do the same.

While we’ve talked about a number of different ideas for enticing more people to go to the theaters (beyond making the experience better, why not let people buy a discounted DVD of the movie they just saw as they exit the theater — if they really liked it, many will want to own it to see again, and to see the extras). Mark Cuban, who has actually been at the forefront of many of these ideas (and, also happens to be very involved in the industry, though more on the independent side) has an interesting new suggestion. He points out that only a small number of people actually buy the soundtracks associated with movies — but if you want to attract more people to go to the movie, why not give them the ability to download the soundtrack of any movie they go see in the theaters. Put a special code on the ticket stub that takes them to a download store — and on that store include the soundtrack as well as extras, such as the script from the film. Obviously, this content will be spread around and can be accessed by others, but many will value the fact that by seeing the actual movie they get access to the official content. As Cuban notes, this can also be a win for the music industry, as a portion of the movie ticket sales can be used to compensate them as well. It’s yet another example of the model we’ve discussed repeatedly: using infinite goods (music, script) to make the scarce good (seats in a theater for a show) appear to be more valuable.

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Comments on “Go To The Movie, Get The Soundtrack For Free”

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AZ says:

Re: that is a good idea

Who on earth would pay that much and where? We pay like 28 bucks for our tickets and we are a family of 4. If you actually by the ripoff candies and popcorn then thats your problem. Do like we do and dont eat any at all or bring your own under your coat. Real simple. Or just wait for it to come out on dvd….

randomtexan (profile) says:

best idea i've heard in a while

Selling a dvd at the theater to buy on your way out is probably the best idea I’ve heard in years. How could that not make the studios more cash? My wife and I just went to see I Am Legend, and had there been a dvd to buy as we were leaving I would’ve bought it. Talk about impulse buy. Waiting so long for the dvd to come out makes me forget about the movie completely, and makes me much less inclined to go out and buy it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Ticket Prices

It’s really about when you go and where you are with movie prices. In southern Washington it is 6.50 for a matinée showing, with a student discount! Just for my girlfriend and I to go out to the movies (without buying candy/popcorn) tends to be 17 dollars if we don’t make a matinée.

Don’t know why the price has been going up, other than there have been so many shit movies out nobody really goes more than once a month now.

AckAck says:

Ticket Prices...

I’ve stopped going to the theater ever since I saw Beowulf at $18.50 for just me… That’s right… 1 freakin ticket. Now I just don’t care. I’ll wait for it to come out on video and watch through netflix. When the industry stops that, I’ll wait until its on TV, when they remove that (as they try to do by putting info into the streams so that I can’t watch a digital stream as freely as I can watch my current analog stream) I’ll go back to reading books. In short (not really) I can see the one guy above paying that much, its not hard in LA.

AckAck says:

Re: Ticket Prices...

OOh yeah the other thing is I don’t think the pirates are really what’s hurting hollywood its the cost to go, along with other economic pressures forcing people to determine if they really want to pay 4x the DVD price or a quarter of it when its available to rent. With current technology the movie is almost as enjoyable at home on your nice 60″ widescreen tv with your upconverting DVD player (who needs HD and the $30+ discs!?) and a family of four can enjoy that and invite friends over and have way more fun with way less money. It’s kind of a no-brainer…

JoeHark (user link) says:

theater owners are their own worst enemy

I’m sure there is an argument that TO’s have little choice when it comes to pricing. I’ve heard that only a small portion of a ticket is kept by the house while the lion’s share goes back upstream to the producers and distributors.

That is offered as an excuse as to why 3 cents worth of raw corn costs $5.00 after popping and putting in a a so-called medium sized bag. And it is offered as the reason why 8 ounces of soft drink costs $4.50. Plus sales tax.

But that does not explain why in NYC, where a standard ticket costs more than $12, a senior ticket has been eroded 25 cents at a time, from what used to be a 50% discount to a current $8.50.

But here’s what all the above *does* explain.

1) Daytime showings of almost any film that has out more than week are in generally empty theaters.

2) I now go only about once every two weeks when, only five years ago I was going twice a week.

3) I pop my own corn. In a supermarket I am offered ten times the selection of things to drink other than sugar-soda, including healthier juices and teas. My cost for the event is under a buck.

Something is wrong with their business model.

Few theaters offer subscriptions at a discount. Few offer off-peak pricing.

Anonymous Coward says:

I love that idea! Do you know how many times over the years I have wanted a song that was part of the soundtrack and could never find it? Admittedly, I am more prone to download now than to buy a CD (but I buy downloads!), than I am to going to a store an purchasing a CD. But to be able to just have that as an option plus the opportunity to get the DVD, maybe not right after the show but to perhaps give your email address and have a link for a preferential discount when it does… That definitely is going to sway some of the future. However, a better movie experience is so important. I cannot believe that everything in a theater is still so bad! Nothing but fat and sugar! Nuts after all this time. Say what they want, but they will change

SmellyG says:

Selling DVD's on the way out

Honestly…brilliant idea. The number of sales would be amazing. They wouldn’t have to charge so much for a ticket if they utilized the extra sales of the DVD.

Plus, that is a very accurate way to know the success of the film. Sure, if a film is good at the box office, that could be (and often is) because the media has hyped it up, or the advertising campaign was good. People could still leave the film not liking it that much. It would really show how good it is by looking at the number of DVDs bought after the film.

Anonymous Coward says:

While we’ve talked about a number of different ideas for enticing more people to go to the theaters (beyond making the experience better, why not let people buy a discounted DVD of the movie they just saw as they exit the theater — if they really liked it, many will want to own it to see again, and to see the extras?).

That’s not how the movie maker people see it, though. They think that people who want to see the movie again will be more than happy to just buy another ticket the next day and go to the cinema again, which (for me at least, and everyone I know) is absolute tosh, since the prices are ridiculous. They milk that as much as possible until they’re ready to release the DVD, and then leave it a while to generate hype over the release of the DVD to get more sales etc…

I agree with the point, though. I’m willing to bet that nearly everybody who sees a film at the cinema will want to buy the film as they leave (unless it’s absolutely terrible, when you see a film at the cinema, they always seem far better than when you see them anywhere else, and you like them an awful lot). But to appease both parties, what about having just a basic DVD that has *just* the film on it, for a low price, and then on the “normal” release date of the DVD, you can buy the extras separately on another DVD, for a low price? I’m willing to bet that profits from DVD sales would go up.

As for prices, I went to see Cloverfield on Friday evening (release day in the UK) with two friends, and it cost £22.50 ($44), and that’s with student discounts that saved us £7.50. Tiny bottle of cider cost me £2.80 ffs. They cost about £0.90 in any other shop. Complete ripoff, and no need for it.

Some Dude says:

I think “something extra,” a keepsake of sorts that the movie could give out or allow the user to download is an excellent idea. My thought on downloading the soundtrack is that I don’t think the artists whose songs compose the soundtrack will be very happy about that. I’ll use Garden State as an example, since the movie was well rated (but not epic) and the soundtrack, based on ratings, is outstanding. It’s comprised of many different relatively big key artists. The movie makers would probably have to compensate the artists somehow to infinitely, as the author of this article points out, distribute the music. An extra cost, I’m sure, that will likely get passed on to us. Regardless, I think $10 for a movie ticket is terrible. There are alternatives–two movie theaters set up next to each other in a small town in Texas. When there was only one theater, it charged $8.50. After the second one was built, and about 3 months of price competition, the price has dropped down to $4. If they were losing money on that deal, they’d shut down. If they “didn’t make any money” off of the deal, they’d approach each coming customer with sleepy-eyed indifference. They WANT you to come, they want you to enjoy the show, and they charge $4. Did the cost of showing a movie drop 50% over 3 months, or is this just a larger sign of how much we’re being ripped off…

chatsworthbob says:

Something Extra... Not a good business model!

If you stop and think about today’s movies, very few have a soundtrack worth purchasing. The soundtrack from “Rambo”, ‘There will be blood” type movies are out since they are basically yelling, gunfire, explosions, etc.. Most romantic comedies are out and the Hollywood studios are not making many musicals other than “Chicago” and “Moulin Rouge” and “Hairspray”
It would not be a profitable venture for the theatre since the cost of a 7 cent bag of popcorn that they sell for $5.00 is a far more profitable investment that fooling around with DVD’s or CD’s!

Trevlac says:

Usually 90 (and sometimes 100) percent of the box office sales go to the parent corporation showing the movie like Universal or Sony. They make money only on condiments, so movie theaters really do not care about you or the experience that you have. Adding soundtrack downloads means more payoff to another company which means more loss of profit and like I said before, they don’t care what kind of experience you have.

Movie theaters usually own a monopoly in a city where in any given area all the theaters around are owned by the same parent company. So they know that even if a customer is pissed off at Kinetika 10 they can march down to Hollymike theater and still be paying the same company.

They have no motivation to do anything until they stop having to share so much profit with the movie industry.

Anonymous Coward says:

I used to work as an Assitant Manager at a Regal movie theater. The Ticket prices are high and so are the concessions (and they both keep rising). The majority of the money collected from the tickets (or at the box office) goes right to the movie companies.

For the theater to stay in business they raise the prices at concessions. Their goal is $3 per ticket spent at the concession stands. That is: sell overly priced concessions because only a few patrons are going to buy food or drinks, so they can make their $3 per ticket goal.

My look at it is this (and they don’t care to even listen):
Say you bring your partner out for a night at the movies. Spend $10 a ticket ($20 Spent at the Box Office) and spend about $25 for 2 “Value” meals (popcorn, soda, candy).
That is a total of $45 dollars to go watch one movie for one couple! How about a family movie night out??? No wonder why no one wants to buy concessions (“I could of spent $20 dollars to watch this movie and snuck some concessions in or went out to eat before or after with the other $25” and got more for my money).
So I say, “How about raise the prices at Box Office $2 and sell the concessions at a normal price(like the prices from Walmart-That sells the same candy).” Collect the $2 per ticket each night at box office and the theatre only needs to make $1 at concessions per ticket. This will influence more patrons to buy concessions because they are priced normally, and there will also be less food snuck it.

Lets look back at that $45 dollars spent. Now they are paying $12 per ticket ($24 dollars total at box office). But only spending about $6 – $7 dollars at concession. Now the theatre made their $3 per ticket ($2-Box Office $…Concessions) and will probably bring in more concessions as patrons see the prices are now competitive. Now the price per couple is $30. Down $15. It’s a win win for both theatre and patrons.

Time for a business model change? Ya Think! The extra money can be brought in to pay the low paid employees more and get better service, or even hire more employees because the concessions lines are always so long.

shameless plug says:

we listen to our customers ideas/feedback and we are off to a great start but again we are non-profit theatre we offer “bring your own (any size) bowl/bag” up to our largest bag of popcorn for only 2.50$ this helps us cut down on our clean up time and amount of trash. so you win and we win. and we offer healthy drinks because our customers wanted them. http://www.magiclanterntheatre.org/

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