Movie Piracy and Why It Makes Sense

Monday, March 28, 2011

Let me set the scene: I watch dozens upon dozens of movies a year. I've been a member of the AMC MovieWatcher program for as long as I've had a wallet. Imagine how often it would come in handy for both of us, when I would get a coupon for a free popcorn and decide to take advantage of it by going to the theater. You get a few bucks of my money for the ticket, some more for a drink and other candy, and then the same for people I'm with that don't have that coupon. Eventually, I'd get a free movie ticket. This of course would result in me paying for my concession stand stuff and the people that I'm seeing the movie with, again, paying for everything full price. Sweet deal, win/win.

Today, I get a notice in the mail saying that they're ending that program and replacing it with something new: something they claim will offer me MORE rewards. Awesome! Oh wait a second...the MovieWatcher thing used to be totally free, and now they're charging me $12? Wait, that's not a reward. Oh, and now, it takes $100 spent to get $10 back in rewards? Seriously? That means you have to spend $200 in a year at the theater just to see a grand saving of...you guessed it, 8 dollars. Holy shit, what an awesome reward!

This is the type of thing that is hilarious to me. We're in a crippling economy where literally the only trend is that people have less money so they're spending less and looking for bargains, and these companies think they can make up for it by UPPING their prices. And yes, that's on a regular basis, too. A few years ago, AMC used to charge $5 a ticket. Then it was $5.50. Now it's $10. What does that mean? That means now, I don't go see movies out anymore.

A note to all businesses that are struggling right now: if people aren't buying your product because they already think it costs too much to justify, charging MORE is going to result in LESS customers. What's better, selling 1 ticket for ten bucks or selling 2 tickets for 8? Or selling 3 tickets for 7? Or what about getting a family of 4 for 5 dollars a piece so you're getting $20 out of them just for the tickets alone, plus each person wanting popcorn and candy and drinks?

This is why people use the internet to pirate movies and music. There's no justification to spend that much money when you have an alternative which, albeit illegal, is totally free. You want to build up a better customer service relationship and get me to come back and spend more money at your place? Show that you give a shit about my business and not that you're trying to screw me over because you think I'm an idiot that can't count. If all you see is dollar signs and you care nothing about the customer satisfaction and just want them to empty their wallets, then the response is going to be the customers doing the same. They'll start looking at you through their own dollar signs and how you're taking it away from them. Fair is fair. If I'm nothing but a money plus to you, then you're nothing but a money minus to me. What's the only thing better than a boycott when you're upset with someone? Getting the product without paying for it - which is exactly what people are doing when it comes to intangible purchases like this. In one fell swoop, AMC went from being my favorite of the chain theatres to being one I completely have lost respect for. You know what else they've lost? My ten bucks the next time I want to see a movie.

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