Yesterday I went to the Art Cinema Theatre - The Loft - in Tucson, Arizona.
Just as I experienced at the art cinema theatres in Madison and New Haven, Connecticut, the audience was mostly Baby Boomers like myself. The film was the sci-fi "I Origins." So, I anticipated a more heterogenous group.
The question, then, is if the art cinema theatre can hold on during this era of low-cost, convenient services like Netfix et al., free film videos available at the public library, and film videos which can be purchased for peanuts and played over and over again?
In short, why should a Millennial or member of Generation Z pony up almost $20 "to go out" to the movies? That $20 would cover admission, a beverage and snacks. That would not include the gas required to get to the show.
The Loft certainly has developed an impressive model for branding and generating revenues.
Throughout the area it is known as the place to go for this particular kind of group cultural experience. That's being promoted through everything from word of mouth to events calenders in media to fans' coverage of it in social media and weekly tabloids.
In terms of bringing in the bucks. the physical building can be leased for special events. The inside is a bit art deco. The outside has a patio with small tables. There is plenty of free parking.
Instead of just the usual Diet Soda and bottled water, there is an array of alcoholic beverages. That makes for a nice stream of revenue.
In addition, its monthly print film guide has advertising. The August 2014 edition has ads from companies such as May's Counter, GEICO, Razor Edge, Bookmans and Cox Communications.
Also, The Loft sells memberships with perks ranging from steep discounts on admission to free viewings. These are also tax deductible. (Contact Mahala Lewis Mahala@loftcinema.org.)
In addition, there are corporate sponsorships, underwriting and naming opportunities. (Contact Zach Breneman at firstname.lastname@example.org).
Donations are tax-deductible.
Talk to people in the area representing all generations. They want The Loft to succeed. But, as the young struggle to find jobs which pay a living wage here they probably can't put their money where their good will is. Just in my small part of a apartment complex, one Millennial is working full time retail, another is working part-time retail, and a third grabs cooking work when he can.