First, let me say that I love the movies and I love startups. So, qiiwhen I first learned of Dealflicks in 2012 I was very excited to see what Sean, Kevin, and Zachary were planning. TechCrunch covered them in February 2013, in their review of the recent 500 Startups class, and stated:
“Filling last-minute vacancies by offering discounts is a strategy that has worked well for other apps such as Priceline and Hotel Tonight, so this could really be one to watch.”
On top of this endorsement, I have been following Dealflicks on Facebook for some time, and they have a quirky, fun approach to how they engage with their audience, as evidenced by some of the screenshots at the end. In a sea of advertising dross on my Facebook newsfeed, Dealflicks always stands out. You can’t help but want to like these guys and the company they’re building. It’s a brand I and many like me can identify with.
So when I consider Dealflicks there seems to be a lot of promise. Discount or deal sites have flourished (and then fallen from great heights in the horizontal space, with Groupon being the poster child) and going to the movies, especially for the average American family, can be a pricey proposition — especially with the introduction of 3D, 48 FPS, IMAX etc.
This led me to start thinking about a blog post, and my hypothesis was that Dealflicks faced the problem of trying to sell inventory at a discount to a group of people that were not price sensitive. Movie theaters are not poorly attended at 11am on a Wednesday morning because the ticket price (usually already discounted) is too high; rather it’s because they have other things to do…like go to work.
However, I have checked the Dealflicks website a number of times over the last few days and have been pleasantly surprised at the number of evening offerings, and it’s a smart move to bundle concessions too. Popcorn and sugary beverages come at often eye-wateringly high prices, so it’s an astute move for the Dealflicks team to take a chunk out of these margins in an attempt to woo the marginal consumer.
The challenge for theater managers is to not release inventory for shows that would sell out – but that’s not hard to predict, given the enormous drop-off most movies experience after opening weekend. If you wanted to see The Hangover 3 on opening night (I hope you didn’t after the aberration that was The Hangover 2) then you’re out of luck…Dealflicks likely couldn’t help you there. But if you’re willing to wait a few days, or if you have, dare I say it, more discerning tastes, then the guys at Dealflicks are onto something.
By way of example, while not available in my local area (Palo Alto), the movies recently highlighted for me in Cupertino (the closest location to me) all look like high quality and good value (these were the four visible above the fold):
- The Company you Keep
- The Reluctant Fundamentalist
- Life of Pi
- The Place Beyond the Pines
Judged by quality, this seems a good selection, and maybe leans towards a more “mature” segment. But I suspect this is a product of many of the early adopters being smaller, semi-independent operators that show a mix of features. Much easier for the Dealflicks team to sell to these guys than your local AMC I suspect.
I am rooting for these guys to succeed, and encourage you to check them out. Guys, one plea – please add some theaters closer to where I live soon!