AMC Theaters, the largest cinema chain in the US, offers an on-demand video service, according to The New York Times . With this service, customers can borrow or buy movies, much like Apple's iTunes Store and Amazon Prime Video have been doing for years.
AMC Theaters on Demand, as it is called, will be released tomorrow as an online store with about 2,000 available movies. After a standard cinema show new publications are added. Unlike the direct-to-consumer subscription streaming services that companies like Disney, Apple, Comcast (NBCUniversal) and AT & T (WarnerMedia) are preparing, AMCs are specifically Video-on-Demand (VOD ).
Studios such as Disney, Warner Bros., Universal Pictures, Sony Pictures and Paramount have all signed contracts with the theater chain to sell and rent films ̵
The idea behind AMC Theaters on Demand is to strengthen the chain's core business: the theater visit. The company wants to take advantage of its AMC Stubs members, including its A-List subscribers, who now pay about $ 20 a month for general access to new films. This model was powered by MoviePass.
However, there are also more than 20 million households subscribing to AMC's more general stub loyalty program, according to the Times. Offering additional benefits to these members, including a free digital version of a movie they have paid for admissions, is one way to introduce more people to AMC's theater-on-demand service and encourage the same consumers at the same time to actually visit a theater shows.
More than 6 million tickets to Disney's The Lion King were acquired via the Stubs program, which adds Times . These people "will all receive a personalized message from AMC stating that they can now enjoy them at home through AMC Theaters On Demand" when the film is released digitally on Tuesday, said Elizabeth Frank, AMC Chief Content Officer. Although this is a new practice for AMC, other theatrical chains have practiced it. Cineplex, one of the best theatrical chains in Canada, has been offering a similar program for years. However, AMC is the first major American chain to offer the program.
The streaming service comes at an interesting time for AMC and other Hollywood studios. The theater chain has a headache with Netflix when it comes to running the original Netflix films, including Martin Scorsese's latest film The Irishman . Netflix and often other companies like Amazon do not want to comply with the AMC guideline for cinema windows for 12 weeks. The rule says that Netflix (and other streaming services) can only stream a movie when it's in theaters for 12 weeks. Netflix has never agreed to the terms and has used smaller theater chains to play his films in cinemas with shorter windows from a few days to a few weeks.
The introduction of a video-on-demand streaming service with the support of major studios helps AMC enter the digital market, while ensuring the ongoing relationships with the five major studios and the value of a ticket stub remain.