Regal to possibly end newspaper listings
posted by Michael Zoldessy on March 17, 2008 at 8:00 am
With the consumer moving more and more to the internet for information, Regal might end newspaper listings for its theaters.
U.S. movie theater company Regal Entertainment Group is seeing diminishing returns from the millions of dollars it spends on movie listings in newspapers as people turn to the Internet for the information, Chief Executive Officer Michael Campbell said.
Theaters pay for listing their schedules in newspaper entertainment sections, but the largest U.S. theater chain has begun questioning the value.
Read the full story at Reuters.
If they follow through with that, I can see half of the Movie Directory shrinking in the Washington Post. As naive as this may sound, I thought newspapers put movie showtimes as a public service. Also, the directories do not correctly advertise sound format and/or presentation format. For example, if a film is showing in a venues only THX cert venue, they don’t say “Movie Title in THX.” Some places do advertise digital projection but then again, they get lazy and just say “digital.” The average moviegoer doesn’t know if its digital sound or digital picture. Back in the day they had 70mm releases, there was a special icon to denote that and Spectral Dolby prints of films. They need to go back to doing that. It educates the consumer and for sound/picture enthusiasts, makes it easier to find the right venue to see their movie of choice.
One beef I have with them is that they don’t even advertise what movies they have on their own marquee. They stopped even that. You have to go INSIDE to look at the showtimes or call a number.
Yes, even ‘directory’ listings in the paper are paid advertising. Several years ago, Regal and other major chains greatly cut back on big display ads. The cost was simply getting to be to great.
Considering they bombard you with the same damn trailers in the lobby as you see umpteen billion times before a movie, there’s no need for the newspaper anymore.
Yet another twitch in the death rattle of the U.S. newspaper industry…
the newspaper ads in many areas are no longer needed….Older patrons use them all the time .
I think this could backfire on them—I usually rely upon the newspaper to find out what is playing at the theater. There’s a saying “Out of sight, out of mind.”
If they do this, I will not go to any Regal theatres anymore.
I used to go to a Regal cinema, the Hadley 16 over in South Plainfield. I went there to see “Hulk”, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”, back in 2003 and 2005. For “Hulk”, me and my respite group were very late for the show since the movie started on time rather than the previews, and this was before regal united with other chains to show the digital preshow now known as “First Look”. I was a bit upset. But after seeing “Charlie” at Succasunna first and then seeing it again at the larger Hadley theater, I didn’t mind at all. The only gripe was that the sound was Dolby and not digital and that the projection was so-so. I prefer AMC over Regal and I never been to a Cinemark theater since those places are far away. As for movie listings, Cinemascore keeps track of the showtimes for the local papers, and they are almost accurate. If a theater’s showtimes are not listed, then they tell you to call the theater for more info or go to the website. Nowadays there are fewer movie ads in the papers and one reason why the newspapers are going up in price. Why pay .50 to 1.00 when you can get it for free by internet, or if you don’t have it, by phone!!! For regal and loews theaters owned by AMC, dial 1-800 Fandango or fandango.com. For other chains, go to moviefone.com and/or movietickets.com. THat’s the way of the future. Even Cablevision has a somewhat accurate version of Hollywood.tv on its cable service.
This will result in Regal losing audience share to competitors who still advertise.
The real test of the money wasted on newspaper listings these days comes when they run the wrong show times by mistake and nobody notices. I have seen major films open in New York without a newspaper ad. Times are indeed changing.
I would recommend Regal run small generic ads for a while so people don’t think they closed.
In the New York Times, Warner Bros. and Sony Picturesmovie ads no longer have theater listings posted. They just say NOW PLAYING Check Your local listings for theatres and showtimes. Paramount, Fox, and Dreamworks have done the same thing, but their theatre listings are for Manhattan, Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island only. No LI, Westchester, Conn. or NJ.
Is it possible that the theatre ads and listings are different for copies of the NYTimes that are sold in New Jersey, Connecticut, and Long Island?
We don’t have much of a problem with listings here in LA. It’s Oscar season from October to February, more or less, so the studios and agencies usually pay for large ads, which incidentally tell the Academy members where the films are showing.
I know that in this area the theatre display ads in the newspapers are paid for but the small listings in agate are free.
In the Cleveland Plain Dealer, I have noticed the same thing with the movie listings and ads…some studios no longer list the locations of the theaters playing the films in their display ads, and Cleveland Cinemas no longer lists showtimes in the Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday editions of the PD. In most cases, the showtimes listed for Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday ($5 night) are valid for the rest of the week as well. Some other theaters don’t list showtimes in the weekday editions of the PD as well. If Regal Cinemas (which DOES list showtimes in the PD every day) decides to discontinue advertising daily showtimes, the movie section in the Plain Dealer will be pretty much down to only a few theaters. Regal currently has more screens in the Cleveland area than any other chain or operator. Many people still rely on the newspaper to look for showtimes for films…they are also not very likely to go to the internet or call the theater to find out what’s playing and what the showtimes are.
One issue with this is that it is important to keep advertising to remind people the theaters exist, and to get them to travl to a theater for a show. For example, if I were to be looking for a given show through google, I’d be inclined to go wherever is closest, since that would show up first, but seeing the other ads might remind me to go to a different venue because of what’s around it, or to travel out of my usual range on google for a show that isn’t playing particularly nearby. Also, with new venues it’s very valuable to know it exists; the Rosemont Muvico does not advertise, and it has taken them a long time to drum up business, as the first in the region.
They do have showtimes for the Muvico Rosemont in the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times. Putting the showtimes in the paper is a great way of people to see a movie in a theatre. Even though TV spots in the past used to say “Check newspaper for theatres and showtimes”, they don’t say that anymore.
At the rate Regal is quickly devouring other small cinema chains across the country, soon, they will be the only chain left of candy merchants showing films!
Wouldn’t it make more sense for the studios producing the films to pay for the newspaper ads? Where I am, and I’m just assuming it’s the same everywhere else, when a new movie comes out, they show the full ad for the movie and then right below it, as a part of the ad more or less, a list of area theaters where it’s showing at. Perhaps in those cases the studios do pay for the ads, or at least I would assume that. And that to me is good enough.
In New York the distributors have always paid for the newspaper display ads since media rates are high due to the international reach of papers like the New York Times. In the Times, only the specialty houses run directories and a free movie time clock runs once a week on Fridays.
Today’s NYT (Easter Sunday) has five pages of movie ads where five years ago it ran twelve pages. It has one single full page ad (“Stop-Loss”). There are no pre-opening ads at all for “21” or “Superhero Movie”, both due next Friday. This is further proof that the studios are finding newspapers increasingly insignificant to today’s moviegoers.
Even with other alternatives to find out what’s showing and where, there’s still something reassuring and useful about seeing the theater listings in the newspaper. And the newspaper display ads do indeed spur people to want to go and see the film. You can be paging through a newspaper with going to see a movie being the furthest thing from your mind, but the sight of that movie ad when going from the front page to the funnies grabs you. So you pause to look at the display ad and you look to see where it’s showing, meaning that your plans for that day suddenly have a new addition.
Can the Internet ever take the place of that? No, I don’t think so. So newspaper ads being “insignificant”? I beg to differ. If the newspaper ads are dwindling, it’s because the theaters are dwindling.
Moviegoers in the typical movie age range of 13-24 have no idea what the movie ads/times use to look like when i was that age.Some of the ads you actually cut out of the paper to keep.Today,if you can find them they are about 2 inches long.Who cares what Regal does.