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TOPIC: on screen ads before show?

on screen ads before show? 17 Jan 2013 14:35 #39678

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We are a small town, one screen theatre that shows ads before before the start of each show. Since we are reliant on customers coming to our theatre because they like staying in town, rather than drive 1/2 hr., I'm working to create an atmosphere they like being in. My hope is that by doing that they will want to see what we have showing first, even if its a week or 2 later, and wait for it. I've started playing music before the ads start, classical mostly, nothing with words, I think people like it.

I'm considering dropping ads altogether, so that music leads right up to trailers, then the movie. I personally think that helps create an overall atmosphere that feels like they get away from the rest of the world for a couple of hrs., & that customers like that, & want to come back.

Bad idea, or good idea?
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on screen ads before show? 17 Jan 2013 18:38 #39679

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Theatres ran successfully for decades without any pre-show ads. Some today will say they need the added revenue. IMO they need to do something else with their programming. I'm hoping to return to the business and I will never use any pre-show advertising and never did when I owned my single -screeners. People can get all the advertising they want from their TV.
Bob Allen
The Old Showman
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on screen ads before show? 17 Jan 2013 18:55 #39680

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I disagree, Bob.

We offer a pre-show advertising program and it is extremely affordable ($25/month) and it is very popular. People like it and come early to watch it. We have over forty advertisers which translates to $1000 a month. Without that revenue we wouldn't make it.

Where else can a local business go to get their advertisement out there for so little? Certainly not TV nor radio nor newspapers.

Theaters ran for decades without pre shows for many reasons, such as lower terms and less competition from everything else under the sun (no video games or TV). Now, in order to remain proftiable, theater managers need to think outside the box with respect to their screens and do what they can to make it a viable business. In short, it's harder to make it then it used to be....
"What a crazy business"
Last Edit: 17 Jan 2013 18:55 by leeler.
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on screen ads before show? 17 Jan 2013 20:54 #39681

  • Bob Nash
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Filmack has been providing local screen advertising for theaters for decades. I've seen old local advertising footage going back to the 1950's. ("These local merchants wish you a Merry Christmas...")
www.filmack.com/
It has always been a great source of revenue for small town and neighborhood theaters.
Bob
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on screen ads before show? 17 Jan 2013 21:13 #39682

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Running ads is really great for a small town. If it's done in a powerpoint type presentation there is a uniform look to the ads. Possibly 3 pics per business and some comments. The town needs the businesses and you need the revenue. Consider playing music from the period of the building's opening. Consider playing some theatre organ music which is never heard at the multiplexes. Something different will possibly work. One theatre I know of runs historic photos of the town and it's specialities, especially during certain holidays.
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on screen ads before show? 17 Jan 2013 22:37 #39683

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I would argue that if you have to run ads then you're not running the right type of pictures for your community. Have you surveyed the community to see what your demographic will be or do you just run the films the distributors promote heavily on the tube? Do you do local advertising and promos? It is still my contention a small town theatre can operate profitably if the owner/manager will get off hi/her butt an do the work.
Bob Allen
The Old Showman
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on screen ads before show? 17 Jan 2013 22:46 #39684

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Bob,

I would love to live in a world like you describe but it just isn't like that. You need to play the product the public wants to see. Throwing something they may or may not have heard of at them just isn't going to work in my opinion. Competition from TV, to video games, to facebook, to video stores, to high school sports etc etc etc is the new reality and you have to work to give the people what they really want, not what you or anybody else thinks they want.

And for the record I work my butt off trying to keep this joint a reality... and I have the highest grossing single screen in my state.
"What a crazy business"
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on screen ads before show? 18 Jan 2013 00:06 #39686

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Good for you leeler. I wasn't directing that post specifically at you but I'm sure glad you are doing so well. Perhaps you can share some of your "secrets" with the OP. With any luck I'll be able to open a small cinema in my town and I'll run it my way. WE'LL SEE WHAT HAPPENS.
Bob Allen
The Old Showman
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on screen ads before show? 18 Jan 2013 05:40 #39687

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$25 ads makes a lot of sense for the area we are, very rural, & not so prosperous. Currently we have ads through 1better.net, great company, puts nice ads together,but a little costly for the average business here. I am sure many local business's would be interested in a more affordable option.

We have redesigned & painted the front exterior, are in the process of auditorium renovation (we are non-profit, so I write grants, only way we could do this), and working hard to have the local community feel connected to the theatre. It is working. Local, affordable ads I look at as being part of that.

Leeler, I hope you don't mind me asking; do you do these ads yourself, have someone do them for you...?
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on screen ads before show? 18 Jan 2013 15:03 #39688

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we do the ads ourself on powerpoint. It is super easy and then I convert the presentation to a video file. then I use that converted file to make a DVD and burn one every week.

We do the same for our six screen but charge $125/month there. We're still building up clients for that presentation but it seems to be working there, too.

The nice part is you can then put it on screen using your movie projector and just schedule it before the show starts.
"What a crazy business"
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on screen ads before show? 18 Jan 2013 15:19 #39689

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revrobor wrote:
I would argue that if you have to run ads then you're not running the right type of pictures for your community. Have you surveyed the community to see what your demographic will be or do you just run the films the distributors promote heavily on the tube? Do you do local advertising and promos? It is still my contention a small town theatre can operate profitably if the owner/manager will get off hi/her butt an do the work.

Bob,

Please give me some titles of movies that you in your long career had success with that no one heard about. What would you book in a 3-4 screen theater this month? Remember no "r-rated movies".

I am pretty much a newbie. I only have 25 years of video store ownership/management experience and 6 years of theater operations. My experience was that it was difficult getting people to watch movies they have not heard of even if you offered to them for $.99 or free. There might be one movie a year that would add some nice profit but no where near what you could rely on. Probably the most successful movie for us based on what our customers had not heard much about (please do not laugh here) was Winter's Bone. Yes most of my customers had not heard of it and this was a Oscar nominated movie. (I am pretty sure that was heavily promoted by the studio, ooops!)

Plus the years it would take to even build that type of business would be huge.
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on screen ads before show? 18 Jan 2013 15:25 #39690

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I guess my question to Bob is:

Can you give an example of a theater that has succeeded bringing in movies this way?

Because I haven't heard of it....I've been at this ten years now and I've scouted out lots of other theaters to see what they're doing and if it would work for me and I haven't come across one like Bob talks about.
"What a crazy business"
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on screen ads before show? 18 Jan 2013 23:28 #39693

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Gosh guys, I'd have to go back decades to tell you about one I had great success with. It was "Your Cheating Heart" (the Hank Williams story) with George Hamilton. I ran it with another film starring Marty Robbins and packed out the 600 seat house for an entire week. This was after I promoted the house as an all country music venue. Boxoffice picked up the story and ran it. This was in Portland, Oregon. I think you can find little known films in Boxoffice or Film Journal.
Bob Allen
The Old Showman
Last Edit: 18 Jan 2013 23:29 by revrobor.
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on screen ads before show? 19 Jan 2013 00:21 #39694

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well, I guess what I want to know is if anybody is currently operating in this fashion. If so, I'd love to visit and see how well that works.
"What a crazy business"
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