The other night i went to see ‘Inception’ with my girlfriend in our local cinema (Monaghan cinema). It’s 10.10pm on Saturday, the movie starts on schedule… the usual trailers and ads etc… we then see some sand and Leonardo Di Caprio on a beach and then darkness… but still sound… “hmm… this is a pretty crap introduction” i’m saying to myself as the screen is black for about 30 seconds. A look up at the back of the room (Monaghan cinema has old style projectors) told us the projector was dead. Great….
So after a few minutes of nothing, elevator music comes on as if to say ‘yes, this isn’t part of the film, we have a problem’. Eventually the lights go up and we’re informed the bulb can’t be lit and they’d have to replace it but to do so could take half an hour or more. The movie itself is over two and a half hours long, at this stage it’s around 10.30pm so it would be touching 2am by the time we’d (and the staff) would get out. We were told we’d get a refund though and with that all of the fairly crowded cinema got up and queued up outside for a refund and that was pretty much that.
Here’s where i turn this blip in to something more serious though… in the exact same cinema room (no.3), a couple of years ago we were in the middle of watching some movie when suddenly the screen started ‘melting’ before our eyes. Like a piece of paper being set on fire. Obviously this was a projected image of the film reel itself melting and eventually the projector went dead. Took a while to sort out but eventually they got it sorted and we got to see the rest of the movie.
Needless to say, when i’m talking about bulbs and old school projectors, we don’t have 3D No online booking either… just a small, old school cinema. First come, first served. However there’s ‘classic’ old and then there’s ‘neglected’ old. Failure to invest means the place is gaining a bad rep and losing out to other cinemas who do have 3D for example.
It’s pretty easy for me to sit here and criticise… i have no market research to hand, i have no knowledge of the expense involved in running a cinema, let alone kitting it out with the latest gear. Then if you were to invest heavily, you’d want good PR and marketing… online revamp.. it all costs cash and *may* not be worth it if the demand isn’t there.
But doing nothing is always the easiest option plus it’s the least time consuming & least expensive. Or is it??? Can you put a price on reputation? on bad PR? on custom being lost due to it? Not really. All i know is that it cost €9.50 to get in and i’d hazard a guess there was maybe 80 people there. So you’re looking at €760 lost in sales but more importantly, a mystery figure lost in bad rep & experience. People have friends, people have blogs 😉 These days reputation can be built fast and teared down faster…