Problem 1: Grandparents enjoy watching movies, but they don’t enjoy the hassle of going to the movie theater.
Problem 2: Grandparents want to see more of their families.
Problem 3: You feel obligated to visit your parents/grandparents but it can be mind-numbingly boring. And you don’t want to sit in the living room for hours listening to medical complaints.
Solution: Suppose the AARP (a seniors organization) worked out a deal with the major film studios to allow seniors to stream new movies to their homes on the same day the films are released to studios. And let’s say the price is high, perhaps $100 for a two-day streaming rental.
Now you have a situation in which the grandkids might want to visit the grandparents just to see the new movie that is out. That’s doubly true if the grandparents have a huge screen TV.
A typical grandparent would have twenty-or-so family members and friends who might be interested in a new movie. That brings the cost down to $5 per viewer if everyone wants to pitch in. Or grandpa could pick up the entire tab to sweeten the deal.
Professional movie theaters would still have a huge quality advantage over home theaters, especially for 3D. And some people simply prefer doing things with crowds because it makes the event more exciting. So theaters should continue to do fine. My guess is that the revenue stream from grandparents would more than compensate for lost theater attendance. And the grandparents would be happy to see more of the grandkids.
It would be easy enough to test this plan in a limited market. Pick one theater and draw a circle around it on the map. Market this new streaming service for seniors within the circle and see how the theater performs compared to its peers.
You’d have cheaters of course. Young people might add grandma’s name to their house deeds just to be able to watch new movies at home. But I think the cheating could be in the 10% range.
Would this idea work?