AMC Theatres launches its own on-demand streaming service

AMC Theatres announced a new service today called AMC Theatres On Demand — a marketplace where members of AMC’s Stubs loyalty program can buy or rent individual movies to watch at home.

The launch of an iTunes-style, à la carte movie marketplace seems almost quaint at a time when all the major media companies seem to be following Netflix’s lead and readying their own subscription streaming services. But it’s a noteworthy bet on a slightly old-fashioned model, and it’s also interesting as an effort by the world’s largest theatrical chain to diversify, particularly as box office numbers decline.

In the announcement, AMC Theatres President and CEO Adam Aron argued that AMC has a particular advantage, because it can use its data about the movie-going habits of Stubs members to deliver targeted offers.

“The addition of AMC Theatres On Demand, which extends our movie offerings for AMC Stubs members into their homes, makes perfect sense for AMC Theatres, for our studio partners and for our millions of movie-loving guests,” said Aron in a statement. “With more than 20 million AMC Stubs households, and with our web site and smartphone apps already being visited hundreds of millions of times annually by movie fans, AMC Theatres is in a unique position to promote specific movies with greater personalization than has ever been possible before.”

AMC Theatres On Demand has more than 2,000 films, drawn from all the major studios, available at launch. (As an extra incentive, if you buy or rent a movie distributed by Lionsgate or Paramount Pictures, you’ll get an extra three movies from the same studio.) The company says the service will be available via web, mobile apps and smart TV apps — though it doesn’t mention specific devices.

AMC has already been experimenting with new business models, responding to the popularity of the (now-defunct) MoviePass with its own theatrical subscription, Stubs A-List.