WWW--You think they'll take ads for unrated movies now? I mean it, really. Who's laughing now? Me, and all the indie filmmakers the newspapers have screwed over the years. Good riddance, die already, will yah?
Kansas City-based AMC helped shine a spotlight on the trend last month when it pulled its listings from The Washington Post, prompting the newspaper's ombudsman, Andrew Alexander, to deflect readers' ire in his blog.
"Most readers believe that it was the newspaper's decision," Alexander wrote, comparing it to The Post's recent move to cut back on the newspaper's television listings. "In fact, movie listings in the print product are paid advertising, and it was AMC's decision to stop paying."
The Post declined further comment, and Alexander wrote in his column that the newspaper wouldn't tell him either how much revenue the AMC ads provided.
AMC spokesman Justin Scott said daily movie listings are expensive and the theater chain believes that that money would be better spent promoting its value programs or other theater events.
"In an era when many moviegoers are using alternative resources to access show times, AMC has chosen to reallocate its show-time information methods," Scott said.
Scott wouldn't say where else AMC has cut its listings and how much it has saved. But he said "so far we've seen no impact on attendance."
Regal, based in Knoxville, Tenn., said its in-theater and online surveys found 60 percent to 80 percent of respondents saying they received their movie listings online. ("Movie theaters cut print show times as Web gains," AP, 08.22.2009)
And you, Hollywood: there's something called the Internet. You can't keep people from watching independent cinema like you used to, not anymore. People can and do watch movies on iPods, laptops, and their own home cinemas. Soon, very soon, most people will be able to download what they want to watch and bypass what they don't want to watch.
DVDs have opened-up most of the history of cinema to young people and many of them know where the movies have been and what's possible. When they look at the usual Hollywood fare, they're unimpressed, unmoved by it, because it generally sucks. The party's over, welcome to that brave new world you boors knew was always coming, a viewing public with considerably more savvy. Let's be honest: that was always the case, but you had a captive audience. That's over.
You used the newspapers to keep foreign film and indie cinema from competing at all; you got legislation passed that subsidized your bottom-line, shut-out the smaller distributors, and got you subsidized advertising in foreign markets. People are tired of most of your product, they want more. Eventually, you're going to have to deliver or go away, like the rest of the corporate monoliths that are toppling right now. With the rapid death of the newspapers, media conglomerates are going to keep taking major-hits. This can only be a good thing. Does consolidation sound so good now? All fall down.