A Melbourne couple decided to answer the prayers of many moviegoers with their newly-launched app, Choovie.
Shane Thatcher and Sonya Stephen noticed when they were heading into cinemas, most of the seats weren't being filled. Citing a statistic that only about 16 percent of cinema tickets in Australia are sold per year, the two decided to do something about it.
"I'm an efficiency nerd," Thatcher told The Huffington Post Australia.
"When I see something that's inefficient it bugs me. We'd go to the cinemas a lot and it would be empty, and from an economic perspective, when you're running something that has pretty much a fixed cost to it but there's nobody there, it seems a bit crazy to me."
Typically, two regular tickets to a movie can end up costing around $30, and that's not counting the copious amounts of snacks required to actually enjoy a film. Choovie plans to change all that. Except, you know... not the snacks part.
Using a dynamic pricing model, the app works with cinemas in an effort to offload tickets that would otherwise go unsold.
"We partner with a cinema and they have a portal they put their prices through, our algorithm provides recommendations to price tickets, which is what the customer sees," Thatcher said.
If that's all too confusing, basically the cinemas are in control with the ability to choose specific movie sessions that might not sell out, and how many seats they want to offer at discounted prices.
Once you're signed up with the app, it learns more about your viewing habits, what you're seeing, and the times and prices you prefer, and begins to tailor alerts to you with similar content. Think of it like if Uber took Netflix on a date to the movies.
Unfortunately the Uber comparison begs the question: With dynamic pricing models, would Choovie also force "surge pricing" onto customers?
"It'll happen pretty rarely, because it's pretty rare that a cinema is full. Cinemas also set their own outer parameters and all the cinemas thus far have just set their maximum price to an adult ticket. So the most you'll pay is what you pay now," Thatcher said.
"We think it's better to see a movie in the cinema, and if we can make that fit into people's lives a bit better, through price and technology, then they'll go more often and that's win/win for everyone."
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