AMC Joins the Streaming Business with On-Demand Movies

AMC Theatres is launching an iTunes-style digital video store today in the U.S. that will allow AMC Stubs members to rent or purchase movies for home viewing. Similar to the model introduced by Amazon, Apple and other VOD retailers, AMC Theatres On Demand will offer about 2,000 movies following their theatrical runs, despite the fact that chains have generally been at odds with online video. A major theater chain joining the expanding collection of studios, networks, tech companies and popular platforms already embracing this technology illustrates the impact of streaming video on entertainment media.

According to the release, AMC Stubs members “can rent or buy approximately 2,000 of the most popular digital movies from the top Hollywood studios at AMCTheatres.com as well as on the AMC Theatres mobile, connected devices and Smart TV applications.” 

Movies will cost about $3-$5.99 to rent and $9.99-$19.99 to purchase. 

“To celebrate the launch, AMC Stubs members who use their first transaction to buy or rent a movie distributed by Lionsgate or Paramount Pictures can choose an additional three movies from a selection of that studio’s films,” notes the release.

“The development is taking place as the moviegoing industry faces significant challenges from the explosion of content available through streaming,” reports Variety. “The North American box office is down 5 percent this year to $8.85 billion as of Oct. 13, according to Comscore.”

While “the movie theater industry has long been at odds with online video,” adds The New York Times, analysts believe that the traditional windowing of film releases “will become untenable as streaming services like Netflix gain clout.”

“Hollywood’s five biggest movie studios — Disney, Warner Bros., Universal, Sony and Paramount — have made deals with AMC for catalog and new-release movies,” reports NYT. “Although DVDs still account for billions of dollars in sales for studios, more profit now comes from digital downloads and rentals.”

“With more than 20 million AMC Stubs households, and with our website and smartphone apps already being visited hundreds of millions of times annually by movie fans, AMC Theatres is in a unique position to promote specific movies with greater personalization than has ever been possible before,” said AMC Theatres chief exec Adam Aron.