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   제목: Amazon is reportedly thinking about buying the Whole Foods of movie theaters. Is that a good idea?

Amazon is reportedly thinking about buying the Whole Foods of movie theaters. Is that a good idea?

By Steven Zeitchik

August 16,2018

Landmark Theatres operates 53 theaters in 27 cities, specializing in the kind of art-house fare that crosses over to mainstream audiences.

Currently showing at the Mark Cuban and Todd Wagner company뭩 New York outlet, for instance, is a mix of hit documentaries, gentle British dramas, Sundance winners and one studio title (밠amma Mia! Here We Go Again) not mass-market but hardly experimental, either.

In other words, Landmark is the movie theater version of Whole Foods, the grocery giant bought by Amazon.com last year.

Now, according to Bloomberg News, Amazon is exploring a purchase of Landmark Theatres, too. An Amazon spokesman declined to comment on the report. (Amazon뭩 chief executive, Jeffrey P. Bezos, owns The Washington Post.)

The acquisition would appear to offer tantalizing benefits to the company.

밒 absolutely expect this to be used as a gateway to Prime, said Stephen Beck, the founder of management consultancy Cg42, referring to the company뭩 $119-per-year loyalty program. 밠ovies and TV shows are some of the biggest reasons people sign up, and once they do their spending habits totally change.

Amazon could bundle movie admissions with subscriptions for Prime, similar to the way it packages the latter with Whole Foods purchases offering discounts on salmon, peaches and more. That could help drive Amazon customers to theaters and drive moviegoers to Prime.

Meanwhile, as tech companies such as Netflix and Hulu compete for prestige content (and the awards with which they come) for their streaming platforms, owning a theater could help give Amazon an edge with voters, who favor physical theaters.

But while having another physical way to reach customers might seem attractive a la Whole Foods, it뭩 far from clear that a Landmark buy would offer the same benefits the grocery chain does. That뭩 for a simple reason: Amazon doesn뭪 need a physical presence in entertainment, a sector that is existentially (and increasingly) digital, the way it does in the supermarket business.

Whole Foods allows Amazon to warehouse and ship groceries, making the company more nimble at the mail-order food-delivery game. But Amazon doesn뭪 need to do that for movies and TV shows the firm already is as nimble as one can get, zipping a movie or TV show to you and your device in two seconds flat, no warehousing required.

Amazon doesn뭪 really need theaters for awards, either, for another simple reason: It can simply do that in chains it doesn뭪 own. The company had no problem doing just that with 밠anchester by the Sea, its multiple-Oscar winner from a couple of years back. If you have an awards-worthy movie, theaters will program it.

The larger idea that it would stock the theater with its own movie titles doesn뭪 completely add up, either. The company is likely to exit the art-house-theater business for which a small upscale chain such as Landmark is built, informing Hollywood뭩 creative community in recent months that its 밠anchester-esque ambitions under Amazon Studios executives Bob Berney and Ted Hope are likely to shift to a more broad-based commercial business under new overall content chief Jennifer Salke. Essentially, Amazon is moving out of the Landmark business and into the AMC and large-chain business.

As for whether Amazon needs movie theaters for Prime, well, it certainly couldn뭪 hurt. But the company has many ways of building its membership it didn뭪 exceed 100 million subscribers with movie theaters, and it뭩 not clear a few dozen theaters will significantly move the needle.

Selected articles from The Washington Post

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