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The Post vs. AMC Theatres

By Andy Alexander

A battle of wills is quietly being waged between The Post and AMC Theatres over local movie listings. Among those caught in the crossfire: readers who have come to rely on the listings in their daily newspaper.

It began a little more than a month ago when AMC stopped paying to list movies and showtimes in the Movie Directory that appears daily in The Post newspaper. A handful of readers initially complained to me (and other departments at The Post), but the numbers have been growing with each passing week.

Most readers believe that it was the newspaper’s decision, like The Post's recent move to cut costs by making TV week an opt-in insert. In fact, movie listings in the print product are paid advertising, and it was AMC’s decision to stop paying.

Justin Scott, a spokesman for Kansas City-based AMC Entertainment, Inc., which maintains roughly 300 theaters in the United States, including more than a dozen in the Washington area, suggested the decision was partly budget-related. “The expense required to maintain 365-day-per-year movie time ads limits our ability to advertise other important information, like value programs and promotions,” he said in an e-mailed response to questions.

But he said it also reflected the changing habits of consumers, who increasingly go online for information about movies and schedules. “In an era when many moviegoers are using alternative resources to access movie times, AMC has chosen to reallocate its movie time information methods,” Scott wrote.

Indeed, movie showtimes are readily available through a variety of online and mobile sources, including The Post's Going Out Guide, which receives local showtimes from an outside vendor, Tribune Media Services. Online, The Post pairs those listing with its movie reviews and enables readers to buy tickets at select theaters through Fandango.

Still, The Post is not ready to give up on AMC. Neither side would say how much AMC was spending on advertising in the print Post. But Post executives are worried about an escalating loss of ad revenue if other movie chains follow suit. And they are hoping that AMC will see a decline in attendance at its local theaters and resume advertising in the newspaper.

Kenneth Babby, The Post’s vice president for advertising, declined to answer specific questions about the standoff, but said: "We hope AMC will be back with us soon.”

Asked whether attendance at local AMC theaters had suffered since the company stopped paying for its print listings, Scott said in a telephone interview that “I don’t have stats to the positive or negative.”

By Andy Alexander  | July 28, 2009; 12:20 PM ET
 
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Comments

Mr. Andy Alexander, the Ombudsman is making us to believe that the most important issue with the reader is "The Post and AMC Theatres over local movie listings". Dear Ombudsman you should worry about Post management faces with restoring faith with disaffected readers.”
With having 90% neocons-a radical Fascist Zionist-, whom they die for Israel, no matter what, and have been stabbing America for a long time, on board of WP Opinion writers, do you really expect any different form your wise readers? The problem with your Fascist Zionist Opinion writer is; that they still think Americans are politically dumb. And they are still writing for bunch of Southern Baptist, and Evangelist whom they believe anything that this Fascist Zionist writes. I really do not understand why you have kept, kristol, Krauthammer, Gershon, Diehl, and even Samuelson on your Opinion Writers. They do not represent the view of majority of Americas and also Not the Jewish population of The U.S. (less than 5% of US population), They have very radical Zionist view which is not supported by majority of Jews let alone Americans. Is it because WP also supports the radical Zionist view? Please remember the world is getting familiar with the real fascist idea of Zionism. And Zionists by ruling Israel has hurt the interest of Americans for a long time now.

Posted by: thebullss | July 29, 2009 5:46 AM | Report abuse

Ha! You know someone didn't take their meds when they turn a blog entry on an advertiser/publisher dispute and turn it into a demented rant on "Zionists".

Thanks for making me laugh, thebullss. Now please call your psychiatrist.

Posted by: gth1 | July 29, 2009 8:43 AM | Report abuse

Amen, gth1.

Posted by: waterfrontproperty | July 29, 2009 9:50 AM | Report abuse

thebulls:

Mr. Alexander is responding to the criticisms and complaints of readers. That is actually his job. If he's reporting it here in his blog, he must have gotten many complaints. Get over it.

Posted by: Chasmosaur1 | July 29, 2009 11:02 AM | Report abuse

the bullss:

Get your meds checked.

Posted by: IronWorker | July 29, 2009 11:08 AM | Report abuse

BOYCOTT AMC THEATRES! For all the readers who still believe in the printed word, may I suggest that we vote with our feet and boycott AMC Theatres until they return to advertising in the Post!
I tried complaining on their web site, but there is no place to directly e-mail the customer service people.
Let's focus on the subject and tell all the crazies out there posting to chill out!

Posted by: journalist2 | July 29, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse

You might want to try contacting them through "Investor Relations".

After all, the IR department might want to know that their business stock will plummet if people can't find their listings.

http://www.amctheatres.com/contactus/investor.html

Posted by: Chasmosaur1 | July 29, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

BOYCOTTING is the way to go...

Posted by: journalist2 | July 29, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

I called AMC Corporate Headquarters to complain a few weeks ago. In response, last week I received a letter from their Guest Services office. While most of it was CorporateSpeak about "reallocating our efforts" to their online and phone services, they did make the good point that other entertainment options such as television and professional sports have their schedules printed free of charge by The Post.

Posted by: richmurphy | July 29, 2009 7:33 PM | Report abuse

This is idiotic. Hollywood is going broke and now it's Post vs. AMC. GM is the new AMC and you get what you pay for and nobody owes you a thing. You are fired.

Posted by: Dermitt | July 29, 2009 7:39 PM | Report abuse

The Washington Times movie listings includes all the area theaters -- even way out in Annapolis or Hanover, Maryland. Yes, even the AMC chain. Is the TImes publishing these listings as a public service or are they paying a much lower rate to reach a much smaller circulation? Also, the TV listings are not paid ads so why should movie theater listings be paid?

Posted by: MrRamsey | July 30, 2009 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Who gets the movie times from the newspaper anymore anyway? Go to Google, type a movie title & zip code, and top results are local movie listings. Total time to get an up-to-date movie listing: 3 seconds; price: FREE.

Total time to get a listing from the newspaper: 20 minutes to go buy a paper + 5 minutes of shifting through sections & ads; price: ~$1 for newspaper + ~$.25 for gas + local & state sales tax.

Using a newspaper to even get movie listings anymore is a waste of time & money. Not to mention the resources required to chop down a tree, process it into paper (burning oil & creating toxic waste), creating ink (burning more oil & creating more toxic waste), printing ink onto paper, and delivering (burning yet MORE oil & creating air pollution) to a place for purchase.

AMC's move saves money & the environment. And for consumers increases convenience, and saves them money. It's win-win-win-lose (AMC: win, Consumer: win, Environment: Win, Newspaper: lose).

Posted by: alangerow | July 31, 2009 12:23 AM | Report abuse

thebullss: If you don't like the Post you are perfectly free stop reading and pick up a copy of that other paper in town, then you'll know what REAL Fascist/Zionist writers are like. It's a free country, people and newspapers can do and say basically whatever they want when it comes to OPINION pieces. The Post is by far the less Zionist of the major papers in this market, which is what makes your whole rant so laughable. I know people on the far right who would call the the Post a socialist paper. Anyway, if this far out Zionist thinking and writing is so out of date and touch with Americans, then you have nothing to rant about. I think it might be you who is underestimating the intelligence of the Post's declining readership, because when I need my fix for Zionist talking points, the Post is not my first stop.

Posted by: Standardman76 | July 31, 2009 2:02 AM | Report abuse

1. not everyone uses a computer or pda to get information on showtimes. for those of us born before 1980, we like to actually read the paper and get our information. 2. i am in total favor of boycotting the amc theater chain and told them so. i am now going to another movie chain that is still listing their showtimes in the post. 3. the number to amc corporate/customer service is 1.877.262.4450. they are tracking the complaints they get on this issue, so they will ask you for your name, address, phone number, etc. 4. i have passed this on to all of my movie loving friends, and we have let amc know they are indeed lossing business by not running their ads.
5. finally, several people have made the point of compairing tv listings to the movie listings. this is comparing apples to oranges. the post has done away with a good portion of their daily tv listings. they served a greater population (almost everyone has a tv, but only a percentage of the population attends movies), than the movies, therefore it stands to reason that movie ads would be paid revenue versus tv listings.

Posted by: bdpl | July 31, 2009 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Good for AMC. I'm surprised you have readers still looking for factual information in the Post. Go out of business already.

Posted by: hellslittlestangel1 | July 31, 2009 5:02 PM | Report abuse

The Post is having trouble keeping readers, keeping revenue, and remaining relevant. Choices, choices. Shall they strong arm advertisers to pay-up, while alienating readers, or will the Post think twice and consider reducing their advertising rates to provide a REAL service to readers.

Posted by: las100 | July 31, 2009 7:55 PM | Report abuse

I never realized theaters paid to be listed to begin with! These listings are a service and I assumed you made your money by selling ad space that reached the people who looked for that service. This is left-over strong-arm BS from a paper that could charge for the listings before because, as a virtual monopoly, you could. But times have changed. Papers only hang on because you can't fold up the internet and take it into the bathroom (yet).

You people are idiots! Count the pages in the classified ads...Craigslist has killed it. I haven't looked at the Post's TV listings in 10 years, because of Tivo and cable. And I guarantee you, if the movie listings in the Post aren't complete (as I discovered the missing AMC theaters a few weeks ago), people will do the same thing I do now: Never look at the Post's movie listings again.

Posted by: joebanks | August 3, 2009 9:26 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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