Blog Details

  • Home
  • How a Lack of Agility has the Movie Theater Industry Facing the End of an Era

How a Lack of Agility has the Movie Theater Industry Facing the End of an Era

How a Lack of Agility has the Movie Theater Industry Facing the End of an Era

Recently streaming giants like Disney, Netflix, Amazon, Apple, HBO Max, Paramount Plus, etc., have come under fire by the Movie Theater Industry; accused of driving consumers to streaming and eventually eliminating the nostalgic movie theater experience.

While movie theater brands like AMC, Regal, etc., look to new streaming competitors to embrace a sense of social responsibility in preserving the “in-theater-movie-watch experience”, streaming brands appear to have their sights set on the future of home box office and the continuous need to innovate.

This is where I agree with streaming giants and take issue with the lack of agility in the traditional movie theater market.

I believe the streaming giant’s desire to take advantage of new opportunities on the table vs. the movie theaters inability to see, accept and act on change will eventually lead to the end of an era as we knew it and the beginning of a new chapter.

Simply put, streaming giants saw where the market was headed, listened, and responded.

Streaming giants not only witnessed the change in social relevance, they also moved quickly to accommodate new consumer behaviors and its growing demands to have ‘early-anytime access’ to content, while movie theater executives did little, if any, to prevent this inevitable take over.

What we call a lack of Business agility and the “Blockbuster Effect”, which happens when a dominant industry player gets so comfortable in its current market position, they fail to innovate and see where, or what the next opportunities are.

To begin with, I’ll explain what is meant by Business Agility, and as a Principal Enterprise Agile Consultant & creator of the Accredited Agile Transformation course, I’ll go on to explain how the Movie Theater Industry may have used Agility to seize the opportunity, scale and survive amidst turbulent times.

For starters, when I refer to Business agility, I mean the ability of an organization to adapt quickly to market changes – internally and externally, and respond rapidly and flexibly to the needs of its customers, a necessary component for business survival.

For companies who want to grow, scale, and survive, Business agility is not negotiable, it’s a necessity.

So, you might be wondering what Business agility looks like actualized, particularly for the movie theater industry:

Below I outline 5-ways Business Agility could have been used in the Movie Theater Industry

  1. Listening to the pulse of social relevance: This refers to an organization’s ability to act in accordance with what’s happening around the world and respond to these global events in a meaningful way. With the disruption caused by COVID and its lockdown requirements, theaters closed across the nation to meet mandates, yet what they didn’t do was introduce new ways to connect with existing customers.
  2. Surveying and screening the market for trends: This refers to an organization’s ability to notice and analyze what the market is doing including new and trending consumer behaviors. Pre-Covid, the market was signaling its love for streaming across every media medium, from movies, TV Shows, record releases, music videos to live concerts, events and so much more. Just look at the long successful run of Netflix. This wasn’t a fluke, and the movie theater industry should have seen the writing on the wall.
  3. Analyzing the opportunity: Oftentimes in business, we are programmed to look for the problems while neglecting the opportunities, all those things we could be doing yet aren’t because there’s nothing wrong with the way things are today. The movie theater industry may have considered an early membership-driven subscription model to create early brand loyalty from movie-goers, later converting those members to its streaming model. Movie theater Executives could have also introduced an indie film model exclusively committed to debuting the indie films of up and coming filmmakers who struggle to get seen on streaming sites creating loyalty with indie filmmakers who need the exposure. Reinvention and repurposing when necessary are both a part of innovation and introducing agile practices help companies to do this faster.
  4. Understanding who has the potential to be your biggest threat: This likely needs very little explaining; let’s just admit that Netflix was allowed to have their reign for far too long with very little competition. They were able to become a multi-billion-dollar enterprise for years until other networks and conglomerates got smart and took notice. A proper early analysis of consumer behaviors would have indicated the market was trending toward streaming across every medium, far before now. This point is important because it teaches us that change isn’t just about necessity yet also about maintaining a competitive advantage.
  5. Creating Value over Delivering Value: This refers to an organization’s ability to not only deliver or enable value yet create value. This can happen in several ways, namingly-so by understanding your customer. Being hyper-curious about your customer’s current behaviors and habits. For example, it would have been critical to know how many movie ‘theater goers’ also use a streaming app, how often and what they like most about the experience. Capturing the right information and using data and predictive analytics can help organizations anticipate what their customers want before they ever have to ask.

These are just a few ways I would have consulted the Movie Theater Industry to be more Agile if they were my client.

In a nutshell, I believe the Movie Theater Industry has re-imagined how their theaters could be used amidst the pandemic, they are ultimately a great candidate for a largescale Agile Transformation.

There are many other strategic options I intentionally didn’t mention in this article, such as leveraging brand partnerships and so much more. The potential to innovate is immense.

My main point is, if organizations desire to grow, scale and survive in our fast-evolving world, they’ll need trained experts to help them see new opportunities, understand their hidden potential, and ask the right questions to create more value! An experienced Agile Consultant can do this.

For questions about this article, or getting started with agile ways of working, contact us @ , or to learn more about my teachings and accredited Agile Transformation courses check out



Leave Comment