|ArcLight Cinemas Sherman Oaks: Hunter Communications photo|
After 11 years of offering patrons a free ArcLight membership card to provide perks, discounts, and free tickets, the upscale cinema chain has moved to a paid VIP program that boosts the rewards but costs members $15 a year. The final tally won't be apparent for a while, but ArcLight spokespeople claim that the early response was ten times higher than they had expected. It remains to be seen if other entertainment and shopping affinity cards will follow suit and begin assessing an annual fee for their programs.
Hunter Communications Original News Source:
Los Angeles Times
Link to article:
ArcLight Cinemas Begins Charging Fee for Membership
Excerpt: "ArcLight Cinemas memberships are no longer free.
The upscale movie theater chain began charging new members $15 a year on Tuesday. Current members can continue without paying until Oct. 14, when they can either agree to the fee or opt out of the program.
The company, which lets members earn points toward buying tickets and concessions, is adding new benefits, including a free ticket for members' birthdays and a 10% discount at theater cafes. For those who sign up early, the company is offering a $5 discount at its cafes, gift shops and concessions stands.
'We wanted a more engaged program,' said Gretchen McCourt, the executive vice president of cinema programming. “We wanted to add benefits for our loyal customers.'
The membership program has been free for more than 11 years. McCourt said it was time for a change because members wanted more.
McCourt could not provide an estimate of how many members the cinemas expect to retain but said that the number of people who signed up for the new program Tuesday was '10 times' what the chain expected."