In other words, AMC is no longer rewarding people who keep coming to the movies despite sky-high ticket costs, ridiculously priced popcorn and excellent home-theater systems. It's now rewarding only those who don't avail themselves of the company's own discount-ticket program.
Vanitha Swaminathan, a marketing professor at the University of Pittsburgh, observed that rewards programs can cut into a company's bottom line. Many companies, she said, crunch the numbers and decide it's not worth buying people's loyalty with discounts.
Apparently, that's what AMC has done.
When I first reached out to the company this week, AMC spokesman Ryan Noonan asked for some idea about what I'd like to know. I said I'd like to discuss the rationale for the contract change and whether, as Bean had inferred, this was a sort of bait and switch.
A day later, Noonan said by email that AMC was "going to pass on participating." I asked why. He didn't respond.
A real profile in courage, these guys. It's hard to imagine a company being more contemptuous of its own customers.
At the very least, AMC could have changed the terms for new Stubs members, but left things as they were for current members — who already have shown their loyalty to the chain.
AMC was bought in September by China's Dalian Wanda Group for $2.6 billion. Wanda now plans to invest an additional $10 billion in at least one more U.S. theater chain, the company's chairman said, plus department stores and hotel operations.
Maybe businesses don't have to be accountable for their actions in Beijing. But things are a little different on this side of the Pacific.
Bean, for one, said he knows what he's going to do. He's already looking into the rewards program for Regal Cinemas.