Cinemark CEO Says Studios Are No Longer Discussing Premium VOD

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Cinemark CEO Mark Zoradi

Mark Zoradi told an investors conference that better movies and a superior multiplex experience has halted talk of shortening theatrical windows.

Cinemark CEO Mark Zoradi on Wednesday said Hollywood studios are no longer talking about creating a premium video-on-demand window for popular movies.

"PVOD isn't even discussed anymore," Zoradi told the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference in San Francisco during a session that was webcast. The Cinemark boss instead argued a better Hollywood movie slate and a superior theatrical experience on the seating and concessions side had convinced more consumers to leave their homes for the local multiplex.

"The theater is not dead. It's gone through VHS, through DVD and through streaming and people want to get out of their house and want to be entertained," said the exec. During earlier talks between exhibitors and the major studios on their premium VOD plans, threats to attendance at the multiplex from shrinking VOD releases, compared to the traditional first window, surfaced.

But Zoradi said talks that started in 2017 took place when attendance at the multiplex "was off 5, 6 percent." Attendance rebounded in 2018, both for the industry and Cinemark, he added.

"Release windows will always be discussed," Zoradi told the investors conference, but formal talks on PVOD have ceased. "I'm not so concerned about it, because the studios and exhibition have a mutual interest in having studios create a great event. It's our job to create a great experience," he added.

Zoradi was also asked about Movie Club, his circuit's theater subscription service, which has around 560,000 members. The $8.99 service, which launched in December 2017 as an alternative to MoviePass, includes the ability to reserve seats and buy tickets in advance with no online fees.

Unused tickets roll over for active members. Zoradi reiterated that Cinemark is considering a first-ever price increase for Movie Club.

He also said the economics favor not only his circuit, but the Hollywood studios as the average ticket price shared with movie producers is $9.75, due to upgrades to 3D, Imax and other premium screens. "People come into the theater feeling like they didn't pay right then. They have a higher propensity to upgrade," Zoradi said.