Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Multiplex Labs

Reading Mark Cuban's response to his own call for suggestions on how to make going to the movies better has renewed my interest in an idea that I tossed around a few months back (but I don't think I ever included in my blog).

At one point, I thought this might be an interesting way to see if it would make more people go to the movies, but I don't think the difference in price will actually make it so that attendance is affected significantly.

But anyway, the idea is this: What if everything about a movie-going experience was sold at a variable price. The quality of the movie, the time, the distance you sat from the screen, the amount of time you actually sat in the movie. Even if this idea didn't serve to bring in more people, I think it would be totally interesting to see answers to the following:

-if people could pro-rate their experience would they cut their losses during movies they didn't like and try a different movie?
-if people could exercise more control over their situations, would they generally be happier?
-would the selections of the people in this setting be a truer indicator of box office success (or maybe DVD sales projections) than current metrics?
-would the pricing for movies that people walked out of halfway through eventually eat into ticket sales that are currently sunk costs when people walk in the door?

(I suppose another interesting extension of this would be to find a way to tally a box office figure minus the people who would have wanted their money back - maybe the intersection of people who watched the movie, but didn't buy the dvd, or the people who bought the dvd, but then sold it -- come to think of it, that's a really good idea. Do people track this? This could probably be done more accurately by selling DVDs along with the movie.)

Just to note, this would be very hard (but very cool) to set up. I envision a card reader in every seat that marks your personal data-card of some sort with all of the day's viewing history. This info would be useful for countless other things... I must have written about this before.

If I ever get to be in charge of a theater, the mad scientist in me just might make a showing.


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