The End of Orange Wednesdays and What it Means for UK Cinema

Today marks the last day in which EE (and previously Orange) allow users of their network to receive a two for one offer on cinema tickets.

Goodbye date night.

For so many, Orange Wednesdays were the only reason they visited the cinema. The younger generation and students are almost priced out of the market as they can use their computers to access pirated copies of cinema releases without paying a penny. So, rather than an extortionate £8.90, (or more in certain cities) plus whatever size loan your bank is willing to provide for popcorn, it’s much easier to lay in bed, spend that money on a pizza and watch American Sniper on your laptop. That way making tea, eating Doritos and having a cigarette becomes perfectly acceptable and almost encouraged by the management.

So now that the promotion is coming to its demise after ten years of service, there will be no incentive to go to the cinema on Wednesdays, or at all. There will be no incentive to actually text your Nan for the first time in six months to get a code off of her. And there will be no incentive to not run the UK cinema industry into the ground.

It seems a promotion like this benefits cinemas and EE, so why discontinue it? It could be because EE are planning to have another feature on Wednesdays, which would be cool. If it was for a restaurant, or maybe, hmmm… let’s say cheaper cinema ticket? However, here’s a statement from EE:

“Our brand has changed and our customers’ viewing habits have also evolved so it’s time to move on.”

I can almost guarantee it will have something to do with either: downloading a film from the EE store, or some kind of entertainment promotion where leaving the house isn’t necessary. #NetflixNation

We are constantly told by cinemas that they make “next to nothing on cinema tickets so rely on huge percentage returns from snacks and beverages.” Cool, I understand that. So why completely alienate half of your demographic by increasing cinema tickets which will deter their snack and beverage purchases all together?

I mean of course other providers could do this, and of course this isn’t just limited to telecommunications. Any company that includes a contractual sign-up fee can (in theory) utilise this marketing technique. But they haven’t. Orange did, for which I think they are owed a huge credit. Not just from the cinema-goers but the industry and theatres themselves.

So how can we move on from this blow? Well, we either carry on watching features, buying popcorn and pretend that this never happened. Or, we will simply stop going to the cinema as much, which in turn would hopefully raise Odeon, Cineworld, Vue, Empire’s eyebrows, leading to a promotion similar to this one being implemented by individual Cinema chains.

I bloody hope so, because this tiny Indie theater in Canvey Island, Essex screens movies for £2.50, so Wednesdays used to be very Orange.

Sam Bambury, Film writer at Seroword

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  1. Nice read! You may want to check out my review on The Grand Budapest Hotel!

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