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1947-48 Theatre Catalog, 6th Edition, Page 549 (533)

1947-48 Theatre Catalog, 6th Edition
1947-48 Theatre Catalog
1947-48 Theatre Catalog, 6th Edition, Page 549
Page 549

1947-48 Theatre Catalog, 6th Edition, Page 549

operated, 11.7 percent are vending machines/75.4 percent are counters and stands, and 12.9 are both. Where the facilities are concession-operated, 19.6 percent are vending machines, 56.0 percent are counters and stands, and 24.4 percent are both.

(12) Counter attendants are paid a commission or bonus in 18.8 percent of the theatres. In 2.1 percent of the houses, the manager receives the cut.

(13) Of the stands used in extra-profits merchandising, 35.8 percent are open stands and 64.2 are closed counters. The stands in the theatres are, in the 34.2 percent of the cases, served from the front and, in 65.8 percent of the cases, served from the back.

(14) The percentage of theatres giving preference in various wrapping material or containers are cellophane, 37.3; paper, 31.9; cardboard, 37.4; novelty box, 9.5; and other, 0.3.

(15) The percentage of sales made at various price levels follow: five cents, 60.0; ten cents, 41.6; twenty cents, 10.1; 25 cents, 9.7; 50 cents, 3.3; and $1 and over, 7.3. Similar data are revealed from theatres merely indicating a preferred price level, but without volume-sale figures.

(16) The number of items sold for each 100 admissions is 59.6, and at an average unit price of 7.9 cents.

(17) Under theatre operation, the average unit sale through vending machines only is 7.6 cents; through counters and stands only, 8.1 cents; and through both, 8.1 cents. Under concession operation, the average unit sale through vending machines only is 5.2 cents; through . counters and stands only, 8.6 cents; and through both outlets, 6.6 cents.


With a current average $303,000,000 income a year, over and above the annual gross from the sale of admission tickets, American theatredom, having become introduced to relative easiness of extra-profits merchandising, will continue to develop this facet of theatre operation and to widen its scope.

Candy has long been an adjunct to the theatre, first in the legitimate houses and then in the cinemas, and popcorn, long associated with circuses and summer amusement resorts, but once started in theatres, has come up strong to a point where, in the national picture, it actually has top sales billing over candy.

Just as the theatres can hardly overlook the possibilities of the added source of revenue, neither can the manufacturers, jobbers, and dealers ignore the potentialities of this field. And especially in the light of the fact that this additional revenue represents new money, not nickels, dimes, and quarters spent in the theatres rather than at other establishments. The record shows no case of an established candy shop that has been hurt by the establishment of extra-profits selling in theatres. Indeed, one needs only to walk a few blocks in any city until there can be found candy stores, smack dab against a theatre lobby (and even with an entrance to it), doing- a land.


oHice businessaand in the theatre a candy counter doing a splendid business.

As one takes an over all view of the situation, there seems to be three major problems. Since the theatres have proved that they want to sell and that they can sell, these problems are more on the doorstep of the manufacturers than with jobbers, dealers, or theatres. First of these problems is one that time will unquestionably solve: the appearance in generous supply of nationally-known brands. Given an ample supply of sugar and the other raw material going into confections, the name-manufacturers will be only too glad to have their products available in quantities to meet the demand.

Second problem is that of quantity and quality. As in the first problem, the present one of quality will reSOIVe itself as the passage of time brings more ample supplies of raw materials. The quantity aspect is important. The public hates to be bothered with pennies, especially when it has become accustomed to an even nickel, and, therefore, it resents having to shell out six cents for a nvecent candy bar. And what has made matters even worse is that the public has not felt that it has been getting even a nickells worth for its six cents! Thus, the problem resolves itself into making a bar that can retail for live cents-and be worth five cents.

While the first two problems are concerned, directly or indirectly, with the theatre patron as an individual purchaser, the third involves him as as one of a theatre audience. This problem refers t0 the wrapper for the candy bar, and the demand for a material which, above and beyond all other necessary considerations-such as the protection of the bar itself-shall be silent as it is being folded and crumpled as the bar is being nibbled into nothingness. The

problem is not hopelessaorganic chemists, particularly in the field of transparent plastics, have done magnificent jobs in developing special material with special characteristics for special needs. Surely the manufacturers profits out of a quarter of a billion dollar business could instanteraor, at the most, in a very few years-wipe out all the charges of research, development, and commercialization of the new material. And such a material would, of course, result in increased sales, particularly by the bars so wrapped going into theatres now not using candy bars on account of the noise factor.

Granted that the time is not far distant when the industry shall have solved all three of these problems, there will probably yet be problems for the theatre, and problems on which manufacturer, jobber, and dealeraand the theatre architect-will have to cooperate. The theatre is willing to sellaand can do a good job of itabut merchandising methods can be improved, better methods of handling extra-profits items devised, and better display and operational techniques designed. And all of these things will have to be backed by better equipment, equipment not only designed to do a better job, but also designed to fit the location in the particular, so that all natural advantages can be realized and any disadvantages minimized. Then, too, there are matters of storage, inventory, and other strictly intra-mural matters to be better adjusted.

But extra-profits merchandising is, so far as the theatre is concerned, hardly out of its swaddling clothesaand as theatredomls newest (fprize babyii it has shown tremendous development and even greater potentialities for the future. With the cooperation of all concerned, extra profits might even become the nations ,next major industry!

FRONT-SERVICE COUNTERS, such as this one at the Lee Theatre in Lee, Massachusetts, are to be found in more than a third of the country's theatres. While most stands of this type are serviced from the front, some are so constructed as to employ rem- service. This iype of stand is designed to be closed and locked, with a minimum of demanding, when the attendant goes off duty at the day's end.
1947-48 Theatre Catalog, 6th Edition, Page 549