If Amazon and Apple got into the cinema business …

With the existence of cinemas as we know them under threat, news that Amazon might be considering a move for the world’s largest cinema chain, AMC, is enough to raise many an eyebrow. In a twist that could have come out of a movie, are the big tech and online streaming platforms that have arguably put cinema-going in jeopardy about to be its saviours?

Vertical integration

Writing on OneZero, Medium tech journalist Eric Ravenscroft points out the potential for vertical integration. Cinemas merged with Apple stores, where shoppers can attend limited run screenings for new Apple TV+ releases while, round the corner, a ticket to the Amazon cinema is paid via a Prime subscription and online purchases can be sent to onsite lockers. Obviously, if they choose to get involved, these producers of original content would need to be deterred from only showing their own films in their cinemas.

Owning a cinema chain or incorporating screening areas into stores opens up other new commercial opportunities, such as merchandise, food and hospitality, and allows the brands to work their way further into consumers’ lives.

Screening Amazon, Apple and Netflix releases in bricks and mortar cinemas also legitimises the companies’ film awards ambitions.

The big question now is, who’s going to do the lot, from content origination to cinema presentation to online purchase, rental or streaming for consumption in the home?

Update: 10 August

According to The Los Angeles Times, AMC lost £516m in its most recent financial quarter, a 99% drop in revenue compared to the same quarter in 2019.