On Oct. 15, AMC Theatres — the world’s largest movie exhibitor — launched “AMC Theatres On Demand,” a transactional platform enabling its A-List members to purchase or rent studio (notably Paramount, Lionsgate) movies in the home on their retail release.
Key to AMC’s push into home entertainment is the exhibitor’s leverage of its 19-million Stubs A-List loyalty membership base in the same way Amazon Prime entices more than 100-million Prime members with access to movies, TV shows and third-party SVOD services via Prime Channels.
As the retail market embraces transactional VOD and electronic sell through in place of DVD and Blu-ray Disc, media companies are using pre-existing customer loyalty to jumpstart digital success.
When packaged-media kiosk operator Redbox launched Redbox Digital in 2017, its initial marketing thrust was to its 27 million Redbox Perks members.
Indeed, Redbox claims that nearly half (48% ) of all Americans find out what’s new in home entertainment from its kiosks. The company recently enhanced the Perks program to reward members for each rental night instead of per title.
“The updated loyalty program increases the value of each Redbox experience,” Ash Eldifrawi, chief marketing and customer experience officer at Redbox, said at the time.
Last spring, Fandango launched a loyalty-rewards program — Fandango VIP+ — offering monetary credits for every four movies tickets purchased on its platform. VIP members also have 21 days to use their credit to stream movies and TV shows on FandangoNow.
“We needed to seed the system … to give customers an array of options to redeem their points,” Fandango chief marketing officer Adam Rockmore said in an interview.
While Fandango has not released data on VIP+ signups, Michael Pachter, media analyst at Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles, believes AMC has the upper hand.
“AMC may have a competitive advantage over Fandango and others delivering in-home entertainment given the reach of its rewards program, loyalty of millions [of] A-Listers and studio partnerships,” he wrote in a note. “We see little downside to AMC’s new on-demand offering, given its reach to loyal customers.”
Then again, FandangoNow is part of Movies Anywhere, the movie marketing platform (supported by Warner Bros., Sony Pictures, Universal Pictures, Disney/Fox) directing its 8 million registered users to buy and rent titles from its retail partners, which include Apple iTunes, Prime Video, Walmart’s Vudu, Comcast’s Xfinity Store, Google Play, Microsoft Movies & TV — and just recently: Verizon.