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Theatrical Group Doesn’t Fear Digital Downloads

7 Oct, 2009 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Despite the plethora of home entertainment options, including disc rentals, video-on-demand and physical and electronic sellthrough, the movie theater business is hardly losing sleep over the burgeoning competition, according to Dave Kuplec, executive director of the Cinema Advertising Council, which represents more than 82% of U.S. theater screens.

Kuplec Oct. 7 told Advertising Age the movie-going experience remains a draw to the average consumer as underscored by an 8.5% increase in ticket sales this year during the recession.

He said the TV, VHS and the DVD all failed to negatively impact the theatrical business.

“Netflix, Redbox, all of these things have been touted as … going to destroy the movie-going experience and attendance,” Kuplec said. “[Yet] those same core elements that have been true for a 100 years about going to the movie theater are still more powerful than the option to watch it at home, no matter how big your big-screen TV is.”

He said the appeal of talking about opening weekend new releases Monday morning at work or watching a comedy in a filled theater magnifies the impact and can’t be discounted.

“Watch that same comedy by yourself in your living room and tell me how much different the experience is,” Kuplec said. “When 300 people laugh, every joke seems funnier.”

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