Will cinema advertising kill theaters?

There’s a report out today from MediaDailyNews that cinema advertising growth is outpacing all other forms of media, including the Internet. I was just thinking about this the other day after my latest venture to the Opry Mills multiplex, for I just don’t believe “consumers” should have to endure advertising after paying $30 for tickets and popcorn to watch a movie, and I don’t think I’m alone. Don’t media types get the idea that people don’t want to be forced into viewing messages that they don’t want? After they’ve just PAID for the seat? I guess not. Why is TiVo such a threat? Why are people building their own home “theaters?” Holy revelation, Batman, could it be that they’re RUNNING from such crap?

Here’s another thing: I don’t know about you, but my bladder can handle a 2‑hour flick, but the added 30 minutes of previews and ads pushes me to the restroom at a critical point in the film. Speaking of restrooms, how about the story this week about placing video screens above urinals in men’s bathrooms?

Professional sporting events are so clogged with advertising that it interferes with the experience of the game.

All of these entities want us to believe that their costs justify the need for unwanted messages. Ticket prices have been raised so high already that they don’t dare touch them, so advertising becomes a nice revenue bonus. One ad leads to two. One billboard leads to a rotating billboard. From the hats of golfers to the britches of jockeys, we’re bombarded by sell, sell, sell. I wouldn’t mind any of it if I wasn’t also required to PAY to be exposed.

Isn’t it just like most of mass marketing America to kill the goose that laid the golden egg, over and over and over again? Thankfully, technology is coming to the rescue of captive people, and efforts like these will only hasten the death of mass marketing. The entertainment industry sees greed in the minds of consumers who “steal” their films and copy DVDs, while its own greed is the source of the problem. What goes around, comes around, as they say.

It’s killing theaters just as surely as it’s killing broadcasting. And you know what’s really sad? I can count on one hand the worthwhile films I’ve seen in the past five years.


  1. I’ve ranted many a time that movies can’t keep getting more expensive as more commericals (not previews but ads) get added before the previews even start. You don’t pay for network TV since they pay their own way with ads… I’d like to see a deal made with tickets reduced given the success of ad sales, though I doubt it will happen any time soon.

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