Publishers Seeing Paid Subscriber Increase By Using Virtual Events – Meanwhile, Biggest Movie Theater Chains Remain Closed

Two important words for movie theater chain owners and studios: virtual events.

Recently I mentioned in a post (see: Duh – People Prefer Streaming Channels Without Ads – During Pandemic or Not) and a follow up comment that I wasn’t a fan of the New York Times blocking readers after a certain number of reads. One reader complained that it sounded like I had issues with paywalls.

I don’t.

Just don’t think this method is a business wise or most effective way to monetize by disrupting your website readers and potential subscribers. In my detailed comment reply I stated there were other creative ways to drive more subscribers to their site.

Enter virtual events.

“With the huge success we’ve had with virtual events — over a quarter of a million attendees have tuned in from over 110 countries — we’ve realized that a significant portion of our attendees were not current NYT subscribers,” said Jessica Flood, managing director, NYTLive. “We are working to engage that group over the long term in a variety of ways, including a new suite of subscriber-only virtual events launching in the coming weeks.” 

Publishers are tying virtual events to subscriptions – Digiday

By holding special subscriber-only virtual events, it drives more paid subscribers.

When we choose to monetize this site someday, virtual events will be on the menu. I’d love to watch movies with the most engaged and energetic readers and it ties into what we do on YouTube with our “just left the theater” movie reviews. One way to scale these virtual events is to do it behind a paywall.

The New York Times isn’t having movie watching sessions, no, but there are all different types of virtual events and, as the article states above, they are attractive to paid subscribers as an added benefit.

It’s all about the benefits.

Imagine if you’re the local movie theater and you want to get more people watching movies. How about holding a virtual event with a host, just like Sylvester Stallone did for Rocky recently on Facebook (picture at top) (see: WHAT TO WATCH THIS WEEKEND #21 of 2020 Movie and TV Streaming Picks – Netflix, Amazon, Facebook, Roku, Peacock, Shudder, DC Universe).

And it continues to bother me that movie theater chains feel like they can’t make any money while they’re closed in the pandemic. Ideas exist, but they’d rather just say “we’re waiting for the new movies to launch in July” — what happens if Tenet and Mulan are delayed? Does that mean they’d hold out on reopening in August?

Summer is going to come and go. Movie theaters need to reopen during the summer. At least one some sort of scale. Open your best performing theaters in major markets first, fine, whatever, just start reopening the locked doors.

In the meantime, I’ll keep hoping not to read more articles where the movie theater chains are whining about having no new movies to show (see: Florida Landlord Sues AMC for Rent – 7.5 million – Meanwhile, they won’t open until there are “new” movies to show?) and how they are making “almost no” revenue while closed.

Virtual events! Work out deals with studios and start hosting watch parties. AMC, Regal, somebody get on this. Maybe the independents will lead the charge (see: Independent Theaters Testing Virtual Screenings)

So many ideas for virtual events to draw people’s interest. Show us the creativity and we’ll be more willing to open our wallets.

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