AMC Theaters, the world's largest movie theater chain, is launching its own on-demand service (via New York Times) that lets viewers at home rent or buy movies, much like Apple iTunes and Google Play Movies.
"Our theater business is mature"
The launch of AMC Theaters On Demand is the latest sign of a new reality in which Hollywood views home entertainment as an equal or even more important part of their future business than theaters.
Netflix, who started the trend, is producing and releasing big movies from top filmmakers that are usually associated with cinema. And soon, Disney, NBCUniversal and WarnerMedia will be entering the streaming segment in earnest. AMC's president admits as much, saying that his "theater business is mature".
- "Our theater business is mature," AMC's president Adam Aron told The New York Times. "There is a high-growth opportunity in this digital expansion."
AMC Theaters On Demand is an on-demand movie service that lets viewers at home rent movies for $3 to $6 per title or buy movies for $10 to $20 dollars after they leave theater screens. In that sense it is similar to Apple iTunes, Google Play Movies, and Vudu.
However, AMC will add other components on top by letting viewers earn AMC Stubs points and other occasional perks such as a free digital version of a movie that viewers paid to see in the theater.
On Roku, Apple & other devices
About 2000 movies will be available at launch. Studios such as Disney, Paramount, Sony Pictures, Universal, and Warner Bros have already entered deals with AMC.
The company says that it is planning to support Apple, Google Android, Roku, and LG devices in addition to web browsers. It has yet to release a full list of supported devices.
AMC has not commented on technical aspects relating to video and audio quality. We expect the movies to be available in at least HD resolution but what about 4K HDR and Dolby Atmos? Without top-quality video/audio it will be harder to compete against more established players such as Apple iTunes. It would also run counter to the theater experience.
AMC Theaters On Demand will launch in the US on October 15. More information is available here.
- Source: AMC, NYT