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TOPIC: An informal studio survey

An informal studio survey 23 Mar 2008 11:07 #18007

  • JMovies
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There has been some recent discussion on the issue and I am curious how the community of theatre owners, and film bookers feel about this. Now, this an informal survey not sponsored by any studio and there is no guarantee that a system like this will be implemented. I ask only because there has been discussion in recent months about the feasability and need for an alternative payment method among some studio departments. while this survey is not sanctioned by my employer I will share the results and comments with the principles involved. Again, no promises here just curious.

Now to the actual question...

What would you think about a secure website where you could pay advances, and film rental on-line by entering a credit card, or checking account information? How about paypal? Do you think there is a need for this? Would you take advantage of this service? What if there was a small service fee to cover the cost of operating this system? What suggestions do you have for a system like this?

Thank you in advance for your feedback and responses.
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Re: An informal studio survey 23 Mar 2008 12:27 #18008

  • Transit Drive in
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I approve of the use of an electronic funds transfer system to make funds transfers to studios. Right now, my booker sends me a statement, I mail the checks to my booker, the booker mails my checks to the studio cashier, and the studio deposits the funds. Just the interest income alone from speeding up the funds transfers would pay the full cost for implementing this system, then add on the payroll savings from automating much of the cash transfer process.

Right now, I make my Federal Tax Deposits in much the same way, through their secure payment system which is online at wwww.eftps.com, also known as the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System. I can specify the exact date the transfer will take place, so that if I receive a statement on May 1, I can designate the date for the transfer to occur exactly when it is due, on May 10, or any other date I choose.

What would really be great is if I could use one payment system to make scheduled funds transfers to all the studios, and not have to use individual systems for each studio. That would be so much more uncomplicated, and would make sending film rental payments to the studios a breeze from a bookkeeping standpoint.

Rick Cohen
Transit Drive-in
Lockport, New York
"As long as there are sunsets and stars at night, there will always be drive-in movies."
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Re: An informal studio survey 23 Mar 2008 12:39 #18009

  • BurneyFalls
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I have often thought about just adding their payments to my no-fee bank bill pay. I pay almost everything else that way. Why would that not work for the distributors?
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Re: An informal studio survey 23 Mar 2008 13:40 #18010

  • slapintheface
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Rental fees should be paid by electronic systems..As far as a fee i would think it would save the studios thousands in paperwork.I would still pay a small flat fee.

How many states still have ADVANCES?
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Re: An informal studio survey 23 Mar 2008 14:30 #18011

  • rufusjack
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YESSSSSS!!!!!!

I have often thought that Rentrak could be a centralized payment processor for the studios. Smart folks at Rentrak who could get it done if the studios want to.

No fee should be charged as they will get their money so much faster.

[This message has been edited by rufusjack (edited March 23, 2008).]
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Re: An informal studio survey 23 Mar 2008 16:54 #18012

  • JMovies
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Coordinating one payment protocol for all of the studios would be a nightmare of politics, red tape, and poor implementation IMHO. The idea of utilizing a third party to take the payments, manage them, and ditribute them to the proper recipient studio sound like a good idea to explore, the only problem I can see is that a third party company is not going to want to do this for free and I doubt the studios would be willing to foot the bill. What if there was a third party that would do this but charged a small fee for the service? Would you prefer to pay a fee to be able to do everything all at once or would you rather not have to pay extra and do each studio seperately? I can't speak for any other studio so I don't know if they would even be interested in this. As far as advances I should have said deposits which we typically require from new theatre owners that have no history with us.
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Re: An informal studio survey 23 Mar 2008 19:34 #18013

  • leeler
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I would just be happy to have it added to the various studios exhibitor relations websites. Far too many times I have heard months later that I have a credit balance for some reason or other. I would like to go in and see my account and what payments I've made and right there be able to make a payment. Seems like it could work.
"What a crazy business"
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Re: An informal studio survey 24 Mar 2008 09:00 #18014

  • dsschoenborn
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Yes we would use this service but I would not if there is a fee. It would save the studio so much money and time in misplaced paper work that they should want this. I know everyone has had a studio say a bill was not paid because their manual process placed the funds in the wrong account. It would also mean we could take our credits faster so that would help keep their books correct and in balance thus saving them more time and money. I would not pay a fee to save the other company I was paying money.

Wish list:
1) central place to pay all film co's plus review our account.

2) if not one then go to a secure page on the exhibitor relations site for a film co.

3) No fee

4) Be able to use this site to see our stantments and account balances at anytime

5) submit out Boxoffice reports here too. Now I email them to most film co's but uplaiding to a site would be better because the reps loose the emails and I have to resend them again a couple of months later.

[This message has been edited by dsschoenborn (edited March 24, 2008).]
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Re: An informal studio survey 24 Mar 2008 10:10 #18015

  • JMovies
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Very good points. I appreciate all of the responses. I will wait until Wednesday at noon to print out this thread and pass it along to some of the bigshots
that way there will be some time for more people to comment on this. I really appreciate the constructive and helpful comments and ideas hopefully I won't lose my job for posting this here and we will be able to use this forum for the purpose of getting feedback from theatre owners again in the future. Thank You!
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Re: An informal studio survey 24 Mar 2008 10:55 #18016

  • Transit Drive in
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The ideal situation for an Electronic Payment System (EPS) would be for an individual entity which would collect and dispurse payments, such that theatre operators would not have to manage multiple EPS platforms from the several different studios.

There is precedent for the studios partnering together for their mutual benefit, such as with MPAA and DCI. The goal would be to make the EPS secure, simple to use, and cost efficient. The technology for this is well tested and accepted in many industries.

I currently pay my natural gas, electric, cell phone, regular phone, home mortgage, cable, high speed internet, and credit card balances through various EPS networks. Some are automatic payments where I simply receive the standard monthly bill which dispays the scheduled automatic payment date with the amount of the invoice, and others require manual authorization to push the payment through. I would prefer to make studio payments using an EPS which facilitates manually authorized fund transfers.

If multiple studios were to use the same EPS network, it would also encourage more theatre operators to participate in the program.

Rick Cohen
Transit Drive-in
Lockport, New York
"As long as there are sunsets and stars at night, there will always be drive-in movies."
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Re: An informal studio survey 24 Mar 2008 13:13 #18017

  • NSCInemas
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FWIW, even though I don't own my own theatre yet I think this is a great idea. I am afraid that the studios will not want to partner together, and it seems like no one is willing to pay a service charge for a third party company to manage it. I wonder if we could get the studios to foot the bill or maybe the studios could form the third party company with each studio having equal shares like i think was done with fandango or something like that?
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Re: An informal studio survey 24 Mar 2008 18:30 #18018

  • Mike
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a few distribs used to take credit cards until they saw the 3% deduction it cost them for handling the transaction cia card services!

Michael Hurley
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Re: An informal studio survey 24 Mar 2008 21:04 #18019

  • Mill
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CC fees and that there is the rub...

I've often thought that some aspects of film booking was kind of stuck in the stone age too. Lots of room for improvement there too.
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