The purpose of this article is to examine US cinema audiences' reactions to advertising. Cinema advertising and other failures of customer relations management by movie exhibitors explains how consumers are discouraged from going to a cinema to see newly released movies. To avoid commercials, consumers increasingly turn to VCR rentals, DVD purchases and computer downloads, all of which feed production company profits at the expense of the movie theater owners.
Historical observations on the origins and growth of cinema advertising in the USA, coupled with notes on the overall decline of the cinema viewing experience.
Cinema advertising swiftly grew from “underused” to commonplace in the early 1980s, while losing track of theater owners' early concerns for potential harm to the viewing experience for ticket purchasers. The presence of advertising is not in itself the cause for consumer dislike of the theater experience, but the increasing quantity of messages are often poorly written or produced, previously seen by audiences ad nauseam on television and written for a small target group of cinema audiences while boring or offending the rest.
There are limits to consumer tolerance of ambush media vehicles, and a failure to take this consumer abuse into account contributes to a loss of customers. In a similar vein, over commercialization of over‐the‐air radio encourages consumers to use subscription systems, satellite radio or other forms of in‐car entertainment. Increasing television advertising clutter is a major factor in declining ratings for programs, as well as decreased attention to advertising messages by audiences that remain.
A call to action for movie theaters to see ticket sales as a function of factors other than the appeal of the latest blockbusters, with overuse of advertising discouraging repeat customers.
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