Be Kind, Rewind

March 30, 2008

Local cinemas really ought to learn to be kinder to its patrons.

The prices of Cathay’s movie ticket prices rose on January 31 this year, leaving a rather rancid taste in my mouth, given my personal opinion that their cinemas are equipped with the better facilities in Singapore (ranging from complicated matters like their surround sound system to their seats). For the uninitiated regarding the new prices of Cathay’s movie tickets, the following table just about sums it up:

Revised Cathay Ticket Prices
*Click to Enlarge (Source: http://www.cathay.com.sg/cp_ticketprices.html)

The hike of Cathay’s cinema tickets is needed to “offset exceeding operational costs”. I recall newspaper reports, in the wake of the brouhaha over the hike, mentioning that “the other cinema organisaions currently have no intention to increase movie ticket prices”. The revelation that Cathay was not running a very much profitable business was somewhat baffling.

However, less than two months later, in a kneejerk reaction I suppose, Golden Village has followed-up with Cathay’s price increment by going through the “monkey-see monkey-do” motions typical of Singaporeans. The reason they provided was, quoting the CNA website, “a result of the current market situation and rising costs”. Could GV possibly have used the past two months to observe the successes of Cathay’s price increment, and noting that there was no significant decrease in movie patrons, decide to follow suit as well?

The following table sums up the prices of GV movie tickets currently:-

Golden Village Revised Ticket Rates

  *Click to Enlarge (Source: http://www.gv.com.sg/promodetails/gv_promotions_916.jsp)

The ironic thing is that, similarly, the other movie organisations have proclaimed to have “no plans to increase ticket prices” (yet again). We shall see how long they remain plan-less before they get tempted to join in the act.

On a side issue basis, I shall take this opportunity to highlight a boo-boo on the ChannelNewsAsia.com’s 26-Mar released story regarding the issue, Golden Village to increase ticket price by 50 cents“.

Channel News Asia Boo-Boo

Cathay Cineplex, of course, has no plans to increase ticket prices, given that it had just done so barely two months ago!

Perhaps in a bid to be more attentive to the tight pockets of the young and the elderly, given that they’re not part of the workforce and are thus unlikely to have any active or passive income, the cinemas have also opted to practise third-degree price discrimination by lowering the ticket prices for students and senior citizens. How brutal, the real world is, that these groups of people get concessions for everyday entertainment like movies and are able to enjoy the same movies as commoners like us for a much cheaper price! 

While I concur that concessions should be allowed for these groups of people for necessities such as transportation and food, as well as at tourist attractions etc, it really gets quite absurd when senior citizens get to watch two movies at a cheaper price than regular people watching one.

Anyway, the tactics used by two prominent movie organisations – Golden Village and Eng Wah to address the issue is extremely contrasting.

Golden Village is apparently opting for an appeasing tactic, trying to play down any furore or disappointment or disgust it could have imbued in the public by attempting to minimize any attention made to the issue on its front page. In a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it-liner, GV merely mentions the issue head-on in a one-liner at the top of the page: “GV’s New Ticket Prices. Find out more HERE”. They even try to sidetrack this sticky issue by glamourising the entire price hike, placing the issue under the Promotions segment, focussing on special deals consumers may use to offset the price hike instead. (If you’re lucky, you’d get to see the promotional banner at the top of the page when you visit)

Comparatively, however, Eng Wah opts for something much flashier as its marketing strategy:-

Eng Wah Movie Ticket Rates

 

*Click to Enlarge  (Source: http://www.ewcinemas.com.sg/)

Nevertheless, if only movie ticket prices could be rewinded back to the good ol’ days when cinema tickets merely cost $5 apiece… … …..

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