cinemark.jpgAs we've been discussing ad nauseum for the past twelve months, you are not going to the movies anymore. You'd think that theater owners, knowing this, would be going out of their way to appease customers. So what genius plan have they come up with? You got it - more ads! According to an article in USA Today, theater owners have spent an estimated $150 million on attracting more pre-show advertisers. A good deal of that cash has apparently been sunk into ad-only digital projection systems that allow exhibitors to rotate their promotion materials in-house. Most theater chains now employ some form of the technology, but by the end of next month, the top three chains – Regal Cinemas, AMC and Cinemark – will have joined forces in a 10,000 screen network designed specifically to attract big-name, big-money advertisers like Wal-Mart.

There is a silver lining of some sort: at a current running time of 20 minutes, theater owners would be hard pressed to make their ad programs any longer without cutting back on showtimes. But since you're not going to the movies anyway, I guess the exhibitors can probably make more money showing more ads before fewer films. If Wal-Mart's footing the bill, why should they care about empty houses?