Resources > Articles

[Dynamic Pricing] An Example of Failed Price Segmentation

Failed-Price-Blog_20180410171151_0

According to an article in The Mercury, Village Cinemas in Australia tested dynamic pricing, and it did not go well.

It implemented a $1 increase in ticket prices and has increased prices on many concessions after 5 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays—the busiest times for the movie theaters. And, many moviegoers went to social media to complain.

What did Village Cinemas do wrong?

From a price segmentation point of view, the idea is spot on. People who go to the movies on Friday or Saturday night likely have a higher willingness to pay than people who go at other times, and the movie theater should try to capture it. However, its implementation could have been improved.

An internal memo from the cinema was shared on Reddit. If a customer asks about the new pricing, employees should say, “Village Cinemas have commenced a pilot investigating dynamic pricing models at different times at selected sites across the summer period. Village Cinemas is committed to provide affordable cinema options through our Vrewards offers and discounts, promotional pricing and tailored-screening programs.”

For many moviegoers, it sounds like a profit grab, and it will make anyone who hears it mad, obviously.

 

What should Village Cinemas have done?

I’ve written about this before, but there is only one reason people will accept a price increase: Your costs went up. If it is going to increase prices, it should say it’s because costs went up. “We haven’t had a price increase for a year and we’ve been absorbing the increased costs. We didn’t have a choice; that sounds so much nicer.

But that doesn’t address the “dynamic pricing” goal.

For that, Village Cinemas should have a single list price and offer a discount for buyers who come during off-peak times.

Don’t talk about it as dynamic pricing, like Uber, where we charge more when demand is higher. Instead say: “We want to offer a discount during our slow times to incentivize people to come then.”

This could be implemented in two distinct steps or even all at once. Imagine someone asks, “Why is popcorn more expensive now on Friday nights?” The answer: “Our costs went up so we had to raise prices, but we are trying to attract moviegoers during our off-peak times so we started offering an off-peak discount.”

People hate price increases. People hate being cheated. Yet pricing is so powerful. With power comes responsibility. Use it wisely.

 

How did Village Cinema respond to the criticism?

After making headlines, the theater suspended its trial. 

In  their statement to news.com.au, 

“Village Cinemas confirms that we were running pricing variation trials over the summer period which we appreciate may have caused angst and concern to our customers, we can now confirm that all pricing variation trials have been stopped effective immediately.”

 

The Conversation for Surge Pricing at Theaters isn’t Over

While Village Cinema put a pause on its dynamic pricing trials, other theaters are beginning to test the approach in an effort to stay open.

In March 2022, AMC began experimenting with variable pricing by charging more for the latest Batman Movie. Cinemark is also testing this approach by offering different prices based on the time and day of the week.

But unlike Village Cinema, their experimentation is happening as a response to a steep decline in profits during the pandemic. As a result, the public hasn’t seen this approach as greedy, but as innovative and creative.

Now, we can wait and see if these more recent experiments will stick around. 

Author

Author:

Other Resources in this Series

Most Recent

Is Your Training Budget Going to Waste?
Article

Is Your Training Budget Going to Waste? How to Calculate Training ROI 

The latest report from Training magazine has some news – U.S. companies have, for the first time, spent over $100 billion on training.  So, why the big spend? In the fast-paced, competitive business world, companies...
: OpenAI's ChatGPT Enterprise Takes Center Stage
Article

How ChatGPT Enterprise Addresses Key Concerns in Generative AI

OpenAI just released ChatGPT Enterprise, a business-oriented upgrade of its popular AI chatbot—make no mistake, this is a big deal. 
AI and Product Management
Article

AI and Product Management: Navigating Ethical Considerations 

Explore the critical aspects of AI product management, its challenges, and strategies for ensuring responsible and successful implementation.
How to learn AI for Product Managers
Article

How to Learn AI as a Product Manager: Start Here 

As a product manager, harnessing the power of AI can be a game-changer for your product. Whether automating mundane tasks, providing personalized experiences or making data-driven decisions, AI has many applications that can propel your...
Category: AI
Article

Beyond SEO: Driving Customer Attraction, Retention and Top-Line Growth

Does your website speak to your customers and fulfill your business objectives?

OTHER ArticleS

Is Your Training Budget Going to Waste?
Article

Is Your Training Budget Going to Waste? How to Calculate Training ROI 

The latest report from Training magazine has some news – U.S. companies have, for the first time, spent over $100 billion on training.  So, why the big spend? In the fast-paced, competitive business world, companies...
: OpenAI's ChatGPT Enterprise Takes Center Stage
Article

How ChatGPT Enterprise Addresses Key Concerns in Generative AI

OpenAI just released ChatGPT Enterprise, a business-oriented upgrade of its popular AI chatbot—make no mistake, this is a big deal. 

Sign up to stay up to date on the latest industry best practices.

Sign up to received invites to upcoming webinars, updates on our recent podcast episodes and the latest on industry best practices.

Subscribe

Subscribe

Training on Your Schedule

Fill out the form today and our sales team will help you schedule your private Pragmatic training today.