Studio C to Launch Cinema Subscription Program

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In-house subscription among U.S. cinemas continues to grow with today’s announcement of a new plan from Studio C and Celebration Cinema, which will offer guests discounted ticket rates (including IMAX & 3D showtimes) for a monthly fee.

The Michigan-based circuit will launch its “C Rewards VIP” program as part of its revamped loyalty scheme, deploying the plan across its 12 Michigan locations later this year. A pilot program with an initial 5,000 ‘C Rewards VIP’ memberships will enjoy a beta test run before the service expands to all consumers.

“C Rewards VIP allows us to offer a program that provides even more value to our loyal moviegoers,” said JD Loeks, President of Studio C, in a press release. “We have been considering a subscription program like this for a while, but we wanted to be sure ours was sustainable. Our company has a reputation for early, smart risks, always with the goal of elevation and sustainability of the theatre experience,” he said.

The subscription program will include movie perks and offer entertainment incentives such as an exclusive early ticketing window and waived online fees for concerts at other Studio C entertainment destinations like the Listening Room, the company’s first music venue scheduled to open in Grand Rapids this fall. 

“Our revamped C Rewards program will offer members even more ways to earn and redeem their rewards,” said Eric Kuiper, Chief Creative Officer for Studio C, in a press release. “As our company offers more entertainment and dining experiences, we want our rewards program to grow as well. Considering  the intimate nature of our concert venue, early access to tickets will be a major perk.” 

Subscription has been a hot topic in U.S. exhibition since the rise-and-fall of Moviepass, a third-party service that helped popularize the concept among American consumers. Moviepass helped open a path for competing third-party subscription players like Sinemia to enter the U.S. cinema market. Sinemia failed to gain traction as a direct-to-consumer service, shuttering its subscription plan earlier this year.

While third-party subscription has faltered, in-house plans major players like AMC and Cinemark have helped shape a positive impression. In recent months, a spate of additional exhibitors have launched their own in-house subscription schemes, including Showcase Cinemas, Studio Movie Grill, and Megaplex.

Third-parties entering the U.S. cinema subscription space have shifted their strategy to offer exhibitors in-house subscription solutions instead of attempting a risky B2C launch on their own. Atom Tickets recently announced its own white-label solution for interested exhibitors, while Influx announced plans for a cinema subscription network in the United States.

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