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  • May 10, 2014 @ 06:55pm

    Re: Something to Hide

    "It can be held certain that information that is withheld or
    suppressed contains truths that are detrimental to the
    persons involved in the suppression."
    -- J. Edgar Hoover

    "The individual is handicapped by coming face to face with
    a conspiracy so monstrous he cannot believe it exists."
    -- J. Edgar Hoover

  • Oct 09, 2011 @ 03:29pm

    Ha Ha Ha ROFLMAO...

    Re: ?To claim their business is selling concessions is to completely fail to view the business from the customers' perspective, which is a recipe for disaster.?

    ?Sorry?, ?perhaps? I should have used ?sarcasm? quotes? No not really, but I will do full disclosure and state for the record that I have turned fully to the cynic side as I've aged.

    Any business is in the business of making a profit and their primary focus will always be whatever it is that facilitates that.

    Do also you believe that Google and Facebook provide you with ?free? services because they like you? Do you think that Wal-Mart decides what to place on their aisle end caps based on what is most convenient for you? Or that Starbucks is better decorated than Waffle House because they have better design sense?

    Corporations exist for the purpose of creating value for shareholders, anything else they cause to happen is a by product of that goal. Human beings are nothing more than profit centers to corporations, and are subdivided into two types of profit centers - ?human resources? and ?customers?.

    This is not to say that Starbuck's design and layout is not meant to appeal to the customer's desire for a pleasant atmosphere, of course it is, but to think that they would go to the trouble if they could still charge three times the price for coffee that Waffle House charges without doing it is foolish.

    Marketing is nothing more than corporate psych-ops deployed to manipulate human beings in order to separate them from their money. The fact that you enjoy the experience and feel good afterward is, to use my earlier phrase, a ?necessary incidental function? which they would quickly drop for cost savings it they could do so while maintaining their profit margins.

    You seemed to have missed my main point, but that could be my fault for providing too much background information. The bottom line is this, improving the ?movie going experience? will not save the theaters from their emanate demise because the current film rent contract structure will continue to result in the demand for tickets being exhausted during the high rent phase of a film's run, therefore increasing attendance will mainly profit the studios and not the exhibitors if only box office receipts are considered.

    As a side note, I have been out of business for about ten years now but the last I knew most alternative movie theaters were in the ?second run? category. Those theaters that operate on a dinner theater or pub theater theme were not, in my experience, allowed to run new releases ?day and date? with traditional movie theaters. This means two things with respect to film rent and box office receipts. They generally paid much lower film rent because most of the demand for the film had been depleted and they charged much lower ticket prices in refection of this lower demand. Both of these had the result that second run theaters still saw most of their profit from the concession portion of their operations.

  • Oct 09, 2011 @ 12:43am

    Re: Re: Re: Huh??!!

    After spending 25+ years working in the movie exhibition industry, I have no more love for the movie theater business. However in fairness to the industry that kept a roof over my head and food on my table as well as, for a time at least, gave me an enjoyable way to spend eight to twelve hours a day, I have to speak in their defense.

    While it may be true that movie theater companies do not always do all that they could to provide an outstanding experience for their customers, to say that they fail to understand the business that they're in is unfair. Theater companies are in the concession business. The exhibition of feature films is a necessary incidental function of their business, albeit one without which they would have no business at all.

    If you think the film studios are putting the screws to the film viewing public, rest assured it's nothing like the treatment that they've been giving the theater companies over the last forty years. In exchange for providing film product to the theater chains, the theaters pay film rent to the studios through the film distributors.

    The way that the contract structure traditionally worked has undergone tremendous changes over the last forty years. Film rent is based on a percentage of ticket price. Forty years ago a film rent of sixty to seventy five percent would have been considered standard. Differences in this range would be a reflection of the anticipated drawing potential of a film based on genre, cast, and the director's past history. This rate of film rent would apply to the first two to four weeks of the films run, and again would vary from studio to studio and film to film. After the initial weeks of the film's run the film rent would be stepped down so that in the six to eight week period and then again in the ten to fourteen week period the movie theater company would make an increasing amount of each ticket sold.

    This meant that in the mid-seventies for a movie like ?Tootsie? staring Dustin Hoffman that had a run of about twenty six weeks in large to midsize markets, for the second half of the run the theater company could pay as little as thirty to forty percent in film rent rather than the initial sixty to seventy five percent.

    This scheme worked well for both the distributors and the exhibitors through the early eighties when movie theaters generally had one, two, or at the most six screens. Things changed for the worst in the mid-eighties when economies of scale pushed theater companies into a war of multiplex one‑upmanship. Once multiplexes had twelve to twenty four screens they soon found themselves in a catch-22 trap. They were given the choice of playing new releases in two to four of their largest auditoriums for the first four to six weeks of a film's release, and thus ?bleed? the film out during the high rent period, or not playing the film until it's sixth week of release ? if at all. This was coupled with an increase in the initial film rent from the 60-75% range to a range of 80-95% which left the exhibitors with no recourse but to raise the already high concession prices into the stratosphere that you see today.

    The sizes of drink cups, the sizes of popcorn bags or buckets, and the ounces in packaged candy were increased 25-50% and prices were doubled or tripled in order to make up for the lose of revenue from tickets sales that resulted from the double hit of increased film rent and shorter runs that became the norm in the mega-multiplex era. If every ticket holder that comes through the door were to bypass the concession stand each and every time they went to a movie theater, every national theater chain would be out of business within six months. Such is the reality of the economics of movie exhibition in today's market. You can't pay staff and overhead off of 5-10% of the box office plus diminishing concession sells on a six week film run.

    I think this should put into perspective why the exhibitors are so very sensitive to any movement by the studios and distributors to further weaken the one remaining area where they still have any advantage over home viewing ? the ever shortening window of exclusivity of availability of films in traditional movie theaters.

    No amount of increase in the movie viewing ?experience? will enable the exhibitors to offset the ever diminishing revenue available to them considering the vampire like combination of high film rents, multi-screen ?bleeding?, and ever shorter in theater film runs. The film studios will soon have bled the golden goose for it's last drop.

    I apologize for the length of the post, but I think you can see this subject strikes a nerve with me.

  • Aug 21, 2011 @ 10:54pm

    Do pot heads have lawyers?

    I know more than a few pot heads that better lawyer-up quick or else start saving their pennies for the royalties they owe the the estate of Humphrey Bogart.

    "Dude! Stop being such a Bogart and pass it on."

  • May 27, 2011 @ 11:27pm

    Re: Public vs. Private Goods

    Thank you for taking the time to clarify that you were speaking with respect to economic theory. My bad, I had assumed the intangible use of ?good? in the context of ?this promotes life, liberty and happiness and therefore serves the public good and that does not and is therefore bad? rather than the tangible goods of the marketplace.

    To summarize your explanation of the economic distinction between public and private goods, private goods lend themselves to the making of profits (capturing value) and public goods do not. The distinction seems to fall mainly to the market's ability to control access to the supply (excludable vs. non-excludable) and scarcity of supply (rival vs. non-rival).

    Public education helps society in general, not just poor people. I think public healthcare would likewise improve society in general. Calling it charity is like using entitlement in a pejorative manner to refer to Social Security. People pay into the system throughout their entire working lives, so , yes ? they're entitled to it.

    Considering that the provisioning of healthcare through the private insurance industry can only capture value by restricting itself to those who need minimal levels of healthcare, how is healthcare for the population in general not a public good? Once a public option exists, it would be difficult to restrict access to it and so it would generally be both non-excludable and non-rival.

    Libertarians have done a poor job of explaining what mechanism other than the free market they would employ to prevent racism that would be as effective as the blunt instrument of government. A hundred years of free market activity in the south did not eliminate Jim Crow. When it comes to fundamental human rights the inefficiencies of the marketplace in securing those rights is simply unacceptable.

    I recall all of the situations you mentioned. I also recall that few if any of the people responsible have been prosecuted and punished for their actions. If we never prosecuted murderers, murder would run rampant too. Remove the ?corporations are people and therefore have free speech rights? craziness and you'll go a long way to removing the money that fuels corruption through the influencing of elections as well as the tainting of the public interest by lobbyists. I don't deny the corruptibility of human beings, but to say we know of no way to keep people honest belies the intelligence that most of your reply demonstrates.

    Mostly, I'm reminded of John Kenneth Galbraith's take on modern conservatives.
    ?The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.?

  • May 26, 2011 @ 09:00pm

    Re: Shhh... the secret is a secret

    LOL,,, Recursive Secret, I like that for it's echo of the sad truth of where are these days.

    Take a lesson from the Queen of Secrets, someone who knew a thing or two about how to use them for and against those in power.

    "It can be held certain that information that is withheld or suppressed contains truths that are detrimental to the persons involved in the suppression."
    J. Edgar Hoover

  • May 26, 2011 @ 07:42pm

    Re: Healthcare and education

    Wait... Healthcare and education are not public goods??

    Is this the libertarian position? If so, then I'll have to add it to the list of why I can't call myself a libertarian along with "racism is okay".

    The idea that racism is okay because "the free market will take care of it" is the main reason I scratched libertarian off my list. Libertarians seem to place more faith in the mob of humanity than I'm comfortable with doing.

    Based on all the complaining that you hear from HR departments every Oct.-Nov. when group health insurance policies have to be reviewed and renewed, reason would have indicated that the public option should have sailed through Congress at the insistence of the Chamber of Commerce. But the idea of removing healthcare as a ball and chain on employee mobility was too much for the corporations to ever consider giving up in the name of good business and the public good.

    Like healthcare and prisons, public education is now a prime target for conversion into a profit center by the GOP (God Of Profit ?). One of the few remaining distinctions between D's and R's is the idea that somethings should be beyond the influence of the profit motive.

  • May 26, 2011 @ 05:17pm

    Re: It will always be so...

    Very well said. As you stated it has and always will be thus... note the life spans below the quotes.

    "Give me three sentences written by the most innocent man, and I will find a reason to hang him"
    Cardinal Richelieu (1585-1642)

    ?Laws: We know what they are, and what they are worth! They are spider webs for the rich and mighty, steel chains for the poor and weak, fishing nets in the hands of the government.?
    Pierre-Joseph Proudhon (1809-1865)

    "There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws."
    Ayn Rand (1905-1982)
    (Sorry for referencing Ayn Rand but on this point she was correct.)

  • Apr 23, 2011 @ 07:22am

    Been there, Done that, Happy to NEVER go back.

    Having worked in the ?film exhibition industry? from the mid ?70s to the early ?00s, I can sympathize with much of what you have said. I would not work in that industry again for ?all the money in the world? as they say.

    I"ll spare you my personal observations on the decline of the general public?s ability to behave in a civil manner while in public, especially on Holidays when they?ll pay anything for two hours where they have to neither look at nor speak to members of their families.

    The only thing that I?ll say in the defense of the theater owners is that in first run theaters, they have no choice but to gouge their customers at the concession stand. The film rental, i.e. what theaters pay the film studios, can range from 60% on the low end to 90% or more on the high end. And while these figures decline over the run of the movie, if you don?t agree to play the film in your largest houses for the first weeks of the release - you won?t be playing the big releases. Thus, it?s a catch 22. Play the movie in four large auditoriums for the first month for an 80% plus film rent, or don?t you won?t be playing the movie until weeks after it?s initial release.

    Shed no tears for the film studios, their greed has run deep for decades and their fear is the same as that of traditional print media. Their days of living fat and happy are coming to an end. They?re very much like the blood starved vampires depicted in the film ?Daybreakers?. Crazed and driven by desperation to find a way to continue to feed their blood sucking habit. The movie theaters operators are like the paperboys - under-appreciated and soon to be unemployed and out of business.

  • Apr 11, 2011 @ 04:06pm

    Here let me do it for you...

    Trademark, copyright, and patent rights apply to the ?MARKETPLACE? ! ! !

    Two hundred years ago, you could invent a new plow, patent the design, and either manufacture and sell them or license the right to do so to another. I could then buy one of your plows to use on my farm. If I were a blacksmith as well as a farmer, I could make a plow based on the one I bought and put my son to work plowing a second field while I used the ?store bought? plow in my first field. Because I did not sell the plow I made and thereby did not enter the marketplace you had no legal claim over me or my actions.

    If a friend comes to my house and brings a book of poetry to read over wine after dinner, that reading is beyond the reach of copyright restrictions because it is not a public performance. If I am moved by a particular poem, my friend can pass me the book and I can use pen and paper to copy the poem. If I am very skilled and have the right type of pen and paper, I may even make a copy using elaborate calligraphy that I'll frame for my wall. Because I and my friend are not participating in the marketplace, our actions are entirely beyond the reach of copyright law and restrictions founded on copyright law have no force in that situation.

    If while I'm copying the poem, my friend asks me to pass her a Kleenex has she committed a trademark infringement because the box of tissues were manufactured by a competing company?

    If while I'm doing my calligraphy thing, my friend stands to admire the art print on the wall above the table, I may suggest that she photograph the print so she can print a smaller version for her desk in her home office. Depending on the type of printer she has, she may even be able to print a copy large enough to hang on her wall. Again, even though I do not own the copyright to the painting from which the art print was reproduced, our actions are beyond the scope and reach of copyright law because we have not entered the marketplace with any of the copies we have made.

    Now, you may argue that once my friend and I move from around my table to the internet all bets are off. But I will only yield ground to the extent that we enter the marketplace. The fact that we both have internet service from a commercial ISP is insufficient to establish that we have entered the marketplace for the same reason that my purchase of pens and paper did not render my private copying a market activity.

    This is the same reasoning that applies to the singing of the happy birthday song. Sing the song at a private party and copyright is a non-issue. But if you own a restaurant and your employees sing at a customer's table, then you had better make up your own song or be prepared to hear from one of the music licensing agencies. Again, the difference is actions in the marketplace and actions outside of the marketplace.