A year after movie theater chain AMC Theatres announced that it would attempt to reverse its flagging performace by revamping and doubling down on its Stubs loyalty program, the company has something to cheer about - it has more than tripled its AMC Stubs membership year-over-year since the start of last summer. With so many movie-goers now given the opportunity to enter a deeper relationship with the theater chain, AMC now has the opportunity to differentiate itself in the ultra-competitive market for movie-goers' leisure hours.
By Rick Ferguson
Hollywood's lackluster 2016 box office, full of poorly-reviewed superhero epics and under-performing sequels, hit hard the fortunes of theater chains such as AMC Theatres, which saw disappointing financial results. To turn around the chain's flagging performance, CEO Adam Aron announced plans to reinvest in the customer experience by doubling down on AMC's Stubs loyalty program.
The revamped program moved from offering a single paid tier to a paid $15 per month tier and a free tier. Existing paying Premiere Stubs members saw a host of new hard and soft benefits added to the program, including a richer funding rate for points that can be redeemed for discounted tickets, Premiere-only lines, and reserved seating. Meanwhile, non-renewing Stubs members were migrated to the free program. Money quote from Aron courtesy of Deadline:
"'We were losing half of our Stubs members because they weren't renewing,' Aron says. Now those who don't pay will be moved to the free service. As a result, 'we could very easily double the activity base of AMC Stubs over the next two to three years' to about 40 percent - closer to airlines and hotels where more than half of customers belong to loyalty programmes. That will give AMC 'a much enlarged consumer database... to whom we can market.'"
The chain also launched a new mobile app that included such customer-friendly features as the ability to order concessions from your seat. A year later, the move seems to have paid off: AMC Theatres announced this week that it now has more than 8 million AMC Stubs member households, adding more than 1 million members over a period of less than 2 month and more than tripling its AMC Stubs membership year-over-year since the start of last summer. Money quote #2 from Aron:
"The continued brisk growth of the AMC Stubs program membership base during the past year has been remarkable and a testament to the successful relaunch in the summer of 2016. This year-over-year growth of our AMC Stubs database continues to provide significant benefit to our entire marketing strategy as we're able to reach more movie-goers with greater efficiency and precision."
The true success of the program, of course, will lie in AMC's ability to derive actionable insight from the program data, including segmenting moviegoers by viewing proclivities, consession purchases, demographics, and other drivers of behavior that will allow AMC to deliver rewards and recognition that get them to the theater more or consolidate their entertainment spend. Using the data, AMC can devise new benefits, experiences, and even business models to cater to their loyalty best customers.
By casting a wide net via the Stubs program, AMC is poised to differentiate itself in the quest to capture consumers' leisure time. We're excited to see where they take the program next.
Rick Ferguson is CMO and Editor in Chief of the Wise Marketer Group.