Say it ain’t so Star gazers—but it is!
I went to the library recently to look over some older editions of THE KANSAS CITY STAR from the 1980’s and 90’s. I just wanted to wanted to see what the Friday movie sections used to look like during the high profile summer movie seasons.
Sure enough, there would be two to four pages of giant movie display ads from the likes of Warner Brothers, 20th Century-Fox, Paramount, Universal—from every studio.
And if the advertised film was big enough, there would be full page ads—-even the so called two page, double-trucks.
All that plus plenty of up to date movie fillers and local reviews.
Then one by one the movie ads began to shrink in size.
I remember one particular weekend years ago when a film company decided to open its movie here without a display ad altogether.
It was unheard of.
Then a second distributor went printless—except for placements in major markets and just like that, we were no longer part of their plan.
At least the local theater circuits like AMCTheatres continued to run directory ads with showtimes.
However those ads began to shrink too.
And finally AMC threw in the towel. Its weekend directory ads disappeared earlier this year.
So who is left?
Three art houses. Only the Tivoli and the Fine Arts Group still post small, one column by one inch and two inch directory ads respectively.
And every so often an independent distributor will post an ad for its small film opening here.
Ironically with these drastic print ad cutbacks, movie marketing costs for the studios are at an all time high.
However monies today are being targeted to where their audiences are and can be best reached—and, of course, online.
All of that said, Kansas City, on a per capita basis, remains one of the best movie going markets in the entire country. No thanks to the Star.
You’d think the local newspaper would run some kind of a Movie Clock in its weekend editions. You know, as a public service to readers?
But no, even though the Star still posts a lame TV TONIGHT grid benefiting its DIRECT COMPETITION for ad dollars!
What about the local professional sports franchises which are all big money generators for their ownerships.
Look at the huge, free print space those cash cows are getting in the paper.
It boggles the mind.
In the meantime, it’s a new day for entertainment marketing.
Some people may not like it but in the long run the general public doesn’t seem to miss it much.
This much is certain, the absence of those big movie display ads—or directory ads—sure hasn’t impacted the box office.
2016 was one of the best years EVER with total domestic ticket sales of $ 11.4 BILLION!
How about a moment of silence please for the remaining survivors at 18th and Grand…