Cineworld Unlimited Cards

..are great for shareholders but bad for audiences. I found that out today.

Imagine dad, mum and two kids being told there are no tickets left for a film. They’re friends of mine and I just happened to bump into them in the foyer. I’m feeling a bit guilty at this point as I just got my ticket for the same film and was told mine was the last seat. I even offered to give my ticket to their son as he wanted to see the film so bad. Their plan was to drive to another cinema to try and see the film together as a family.

So… You can imagine my reaction when I sat down among all those empty seats. I’m not just talking about a few either. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that Unlimited card holders are booking tickets and then not using them. I understand why the model is so attractive to Cineworld financially. Massive base of customers paying a £17.40 subscription (regardless of usage), like Netflix, or that gym you pay for and don’t go to. The difference is at my gym people aren’t being turned away because people book but don’t use treadmills.

I know Cineworld say they are doing everything they can to avoid this from happening (I had that conversation with staff at the cinema – Yasmin is lovely by the way) but it obviously isn’t working. No one wants empty seats at the cinema. Not shareholders, not film makers, not audiences, and certainly not the people being turned away.

Next time you’re at a Cineworld cinema and you are surrounded by empty seats – Spare a thought for the people being turned away in the foyer.