> > > >

1947-48 Theatre Catalog, 6th Edition, Page 548 (532)

1947-48 Theatre Catalog, 6th Edition
1947-48 Theatre Catalog
1947-48 Theatre Catalog, 6th Edition, Page 548
Page 548

1947-48 Theatre Catalog, 6th Edition, Page 548

Sales Promo'l'ion

While most patrons who patronize extra-profits facilities in theatres do so of their own free will and accordasubtly allured, perhaps, by the availability of these refreshment items, set forth in accordance with the management principles just discussedathe possibility of increasing this buying should not be overlooked. After all, there is no business so completely good but what it could be better!

The questionnaire did not directly question its recipients on means of promoting extra sales, but in the space provided for additional comments some ideas were set forth, a few of which may be mentioned here.

The first sales booster, of course, is the obvious one: that pleasant odors can "do things, to a person, even to create desires to satisfy a longing (albeit unrealized) for the article effecting the aroma. Recognizing that sound psychological fact, some observers urge that corn be popped at the theatre, and made fresh one or more times every night. The aroma sells!

Prize packages are nothing new, but at least one theatre man has played to that human weaknessathe desire to get itsomethingii for finothingiiaby inserting theatre passes in a number of the popcorn boxes. He finds the increased sales to people, whose supreme passion is to "see the moom pitchers for free," far exceeds the value of the admissions thus given away.

A feat of promotion somewhat more difficult to accomplish is the idea of setting a 25-cent ffCandy Treat of the Week," where each week a new item is made available-with the proper. advance and continuing ballyhoo.

During that period when only the scantiest quantities of name brands of candies were being delivered, and when the available bars (particularly of the type adaptable to machine vending) showed little alacrity in the transfer to the buyers, hands, one theatre man got a great idea-and one which might be worked even in days of more plenteous supplies. Recognizing that, however innocuous it may be, most people have a liking to gamble, especially if they think they have a better-than-average chance to win. Accordingly in one, two, or three spaces in his vending machine, he replaced every second, third, or fourth package of a slow-moving item with a name-brand bar. Then, to create interest among the customers, he labeled the windows with such teaser gags as ifTake a Chance!" "What Next?" ffWhat Have You?" He found that these columns were played like a slot machine, and emptied many times to one of the others.

Even in extra-profits merchandising, there can be Showmanship!

Future Indications

It is quite true that, as the poet, Thomas Campbell, stated a century ago, "Coming events cast their shadows before." But the future of extra-profits merchandising is no ethereal adumbration: it is definite that such merchandising will go on to bigger-and, it is to be hoped, better-selling on a more and more expanded basis, not only in volume but in the number of items sold.

The whole history of this businessin

a-business points to that future, as do the comments on the filledsout extraprofits questionnaires. While the actual number of returns revealing the anticipations for the future are few, the trend is uniformly the same: where candy is sold, popcorn will be added; where popcorn is sold, candy will be added; where 5- and 10-cent items are now sold, the line will be expanded to include $1 to $1.50 items; where edibles are sold, such items as cigarettes, records, and star stills will be added.

Nor is the expansion program limited to the theatre and the items sold over the candy counter or beverage bar, but it also includes the expansion of these facilities into theatre-operated stores, designed to serve the street trade as well as that of the theatre.

While, as it will be seen a little further on, some theatre ceased operations in the extra-profits field because of lack of an adequate supply of items deemed suitable to theatre selling, no theatre in this present survey indicates that it will cease this manner of customer service.


That this discourse has been devoted to the factsemaybe a few fanciesaand the data pertinent to the actual theatre merchandising of various items is, of course natural. And while it was more or less assumed that, from the nature of the questiOns asked, non-selling theatres would ignore the form, a representative number did reply*and a generous proportion offered an explanation.

The surprising fact revealed by a tabulation of the comments was that more than a third of the theatres-35.3 percent, to be exactawere seriously con: sidering adding facilities for extra-profits merchandising where either equipment or products, or both, would again become available.

The next group included those theatres militantly outspoken in their opposition to turning theatres into stores, with 29.4 percent being in this class. It is interesting to note that into this category fall the 119 theatres operated by Loewis, Inc. athe one major theatre circuit not having succumbed to the extra-profits lure.

Theatres formerly in the selling group, but which abandoned the practice amount to 17.6 percent. About one-third of these theatres gave up extra-profits merchandising when it developed that the fiextra" referred only to the headaches induced by scarcity, and even absence, of good saleable items and "profits" was a word found only in the dictionary. However, these theatremen are not discouraged, for, when times were good and supplies plentiful, extra-profits selling was a paying adjunct to theatre operation, and, accordingly, they are all for trying it again.

The two-thirds in this discontinuation group represent those who took out the facilities after long and concerted complaints from patrons that the noise from wrappers, bags, and boxes were too distractive. Here, however, there is a ray of hope on the part of the theatre man, for he, with his selling brothers, looks to the time when science and industry shall develop silent wrappers and containers. When that time comes, he says, he will be right back again in the candy and popcorn business!

The last part of this group*17.6 per cent, the same as the preceding grouprepresent those theatres which have made other arrangements for these activities. One group of theatres is located in public buildings where such selling is not allowed. Another portion represent theatres rented in business buildings where the owner, to protect an earlier established candy store, refuses to. allow the theatre to sell. And yet other theatres have working agreements with candy and refreshment stores in proximity to the lobby. Even in this whole last group, while most of the theatres do not of themselves do any selling, they nevertheless are in situations where patrons have such facilities available.


The 1947 Extra Profits Survey, as the results from reports of the extrasprofits theatres have been tabulated and presented herein in a regional breakdown, may be summarized on a national basis as follows.

(1) The estimated percentage of theatres selling extra-profits items is 94.4, While the non-selling theatres is 5.6 percent.

(2) Among the selling theatres, 60.4 percent claim to be first-run and 39.6 subsequent run. For the non-selling theatres, these percentages are, respectively, 47.3

and 52.7.

(3) The number of shows a day in the surveyed theatres range from one to eight (continuous), with an average number 2.8 shows.

(4) Theatres selling extra-profits items classify themselves 46.0 percent as of main stem location and 54.0 percent as of residential areas. Similar figures for nonselling theatres are, respectively, 57.2 and 42.8 percent. A

(5) Seating capacities of the surveyed theatres range from 156 to 2731, with an average of 600.

(6) The extra-profits items sold, with the percentage of the theatres reporting such sales follow: Candy, 84.4; popcorn, 88.2; beverages, 19.0; gum, 41.5; cigarettes, 10.1; magazines, 0.7; star stills, 0.7; records, 0.5; song sheets, 0; ice cream, 5.7; potato chips, 1.5; pretzels, 0.3; music box, 0.3; automatic photograph, 0.3; hot dogs, 0.2; nuts, 0.5; and cookies, 0.2.

(7) From one to seven items are included in theatres, with most theatres selling one, two, or three items, or an average of 2.4 items.

(8) Nearly half of the reporting theatres (46.0 percent) sell candy, popcorn, and other items, while 11.6 percent sell only candy, 16.3 percent sell only popcorn, and 16.9 percent sell only candy and popcorn. Theatres selling candy and other items but no popcorn amount to only 5.9 percent, while theatres selling popcorn and other items but no :andy amount to 1.6 percent.

(9) Eighty percent of the theatres operate lobby stands or counters, with 31.6 operating vending machines.

(10) Theatres operate 72.0 percent of the extra-profits facilities, with 21.9 percent of such facilities as concessions.

(11) Where the facilities are theatre THEATRE CATALOG 1947-48
1947-48 Theatre Catalog, 6th Edition, Page 548