Sunday, March 22, 2009

Cinema woes, BBC radio 1 adverts and "premier seating"

I like going to the cinema now and again. However increasingly the cinema companies seem to be trying to sabotage my happiness.

Firstly we have the adverts. 20-30 minutes of being annoyed, though in fairness I resent the forthcoming movie trailers much less then the generic car, government, orange and bbc adverts.

Speaking of the bbc, the last few times I've gone to the cinema, I've had to sit through what must of been a 2-3 minute ad for radio 1! DEAR BBC, DON'T WASTE LICENSE FEE PAYERS CASH ON EXCESSIVELY LONG, EXPENSIVE AND BORING CINEMA ADVERTISING. Basically the problem here is that the bbc won't admit the reason few people listen to radio 1 is because its mostly rubbish and completely out of touch with all the generations. It tries to appeal to teenagers, but fails. It tries to appeal to the highly sought after 18-35 group (which I'm in) but fails. So rather than accepting radio 1 is always going to have a small market share of delinquent social misfits, they are blowing huge amounts on expensive cinema campaigns, when they could, for example, spend the license fee on creating quality programming, employing new people and contributing to society as best they can to help everyone through the recession. Throwing money at cinemas (who have increased visitor numbers) helps nobody.

Anyway, back to the subject at hand. Carlton Screen Advertising thinks that it is earning itself some recognition by repeatedly blasting the screen with its trashy, outdated, unpleasant logo. I think it is a headache inducing waste of time. I have not once, ever, bought something I've seen advertised at a cinema which I wouldn't have purchased anyway as part of my normal life.

Then there are the adverts before the adverts. I've only seen this once thankfully (at an Odeon), but honestly how desperate to make money do you have to be to put adverts on the screen as people as sitting down?

Now lets turn to the latest attempt of cinema companies to make life worse. Premier seating. Whenever I used to go the movies, I'd buy a ticket, get into the auditorium and hunt for the best seat still available. I've always felt there is a real atmosphere in a cinema when a film has recently been released, and the cinema is full up of people ready to see and enjoy a film they are keen on for the first time. With premier seating, the numer of seats available has fallen, the best locations have been reserved for those willing to pay more and it introduces a class system which was never needed before. Suddenly there is an "us and them" situation. Those who are willing to pay an extra couple of pounds to have a more comfortable chair and a bigger popcorn holder and a better view and people like me, who don't appreciate cinema profiteering and therefore get a seat on the front row next to a speaker.

My opinion is cinemas should be upgrading all their seats, not just a select few. Moreover if I want to enjoy a high quality cinema experience I'll either travel to one of the Leicester Square cinemas or go to a specialist cinema that might, for example offer 3D. When I go to my local cinema, I just want a comfortable, enjoyable experience. The real question is: why pay to go out and see a film if the cinemas are unpleasant places to be, when you could just as easily download it or view it online for free?

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