Did you know that on the same day that the big four cinemas responded to questions asked of them in relation to their application for exemption to Disability Discrimination Complaints Hoyts released their profit figures? Last year Hoyts generated box office takings of $1.1billion dollars. Revenue for Hoyts from this turnover was $400 million.
Here in Australia the Cinema Industry is bucking world trends. It’s profits are increasing. Yet still they think that providing .03% access for deaf and vision impaired customers is good enough. As my cockney grandfather would say – YOU’RE ‘AVING A LEAN (You have to be joking.)
In defending their application for exemption the cinema industry went as far as saying that the lack of growth in cinema access was our fault. Yes! Apparently they provide the access but we don’t go to the movies. Average attendance is 12. This apparently shows a lack of demand on our part.
Forget the fact that we only have one movie to choose from. Forget the fact we have limited times to choose from and only at certain cinemas. Forget the fact that we might not even like the movie that is captioned. Forget the fact that we may have to travel considerable distance to get to the one cinema where the film is showing and at considerable expense. Forget the fact that if you are not deaf or vision impaired you can attend multiple sessions at multiple venues. It’s our fault because we cannot plan our lives around the access the Cinemas are willing to provide. OUR FAULT! Bad us! YOU’RE ‘AVING A LEAN!
And if it is not our fault, it’s everyone else’s fault. It’s our advocacy organisations’ fault because they advised and agreed with the cinema Industry that .03% was progress. They agreed that spending .00125% of the cinema industry’s profits to make a venue accessible is generous and fair. It’s the advocacy organisations’ fault that this is happening because it was from the advice of the advocates that the Cinema Industry developed their proposal. The cinema industry will have you believe that they offered what they did because it was the advice that they had received. YOU’RE ‘AVING A LEAN!
And then, of course, 3 to 4 million Australians who have a hearing loss and a probable 5 million associates do not represent a significant market worth investing in. Yet Hoyts show no less than 16 Bollywood movies a week at selected cinemas throughout Australia and at multiple time slots. The Indian population of Australia numbers just 239 000. (Source: Living in Australia.)
They even advertise three Asian movies that are shown in Melbourne and Sydney. These movies are marketed extensively on their website. Yet nowhere on the Hoyts website do they encourage the deaf to attend captioned sessions even though the market is tenfold bigger. Yes they are most definitely ‘AVING A LEAN.
The Cinemas waxed lyrical about how they were losing their market share. They claim that home theatres and video pirates are making people stay at home to watch movies. They say that this is costing them $18.2 billion a year worldwide. Yet statistics show that the average Australian attended the cinema almost four times last year. A total of 80 million tickets were sold in Australia. That ranked Australia 13th in the world in terms of attendance. Per capita Australia fared even better. They ranked fifth in the world. A drop in attendance – what drop in attendance? A drop in profits? – not bloody likely. They are ‘AVING A BLOODY LEAN I tell ya!
The Cinemas are really fond of spouting figures. It’s going to cost them $500 000 to make 35 cinemas accessible. Let me see now – 80 million attendees spending an average of around 20 bucks every time they go to the movies (food, drinks etc),that’s $1.6 billion. $500 000 is such a small figure in comparison that it’s laughable. If they are so worried about the cost why not put a levy on tickets? If they charged 20 cents per ticket to cover access costs they would get an extra $16 million to subsidize the access needs. YET they cry poor – MUUUHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHHAHAHA … if they lean any more the Tower of Pisa will fall over!
In all of their calculations they have not even put forward a figure as to the profit they will get if they provide REAL access for the deaf and vision impaired people of Australia. They have no market analysis, nothing! Yet they are willing to invest in 3D technology. Technology that is largely obsolete for all but a few special movies like Avatar. What is more, 3D movies are largely considered to be little more than a fad. The need to wear cardboard glasses puts people off after the novelty has worn off. 3D movies are considered a risky venture yet cinemas all the world over are prepared to invest billions in this technology. (source: http://www.technoworld.com)
In the same breath the cinema industry in Australia will tell you that $500 000 is a sign of their undying commitment to providing access. In their response to the Australian Human Rights Commissions questions they reiterated their commitment on nearly every page! MUHAHAHAHAHAHAHA – OH DEAR! OH DEAR! I have tears in my eyes and not just from all this mirth.
In the article “How Con Artists Work” by Ed Grabionowski he defines a con-artist as a person who gets our money through deception. As a person who convinces us we are onto something good while making all the profit themselves. A con-artist preys on the weak, the lonely and those in need. The only thing more important than the CON to the con-artist,says Grabionowski, is perfecting, “…a total lack of conscience.” And so it seems this is exactly what the cinema industry are doing now.
Don’t be fooled by their spin. They are out to commit as little money to the cause as they possibly can. They are immensely profitable but are trying to make us all think otherwise. Like the best of con-men they are trying to convince you they are sincere. The reality is closer to my grandfather’s favourite phrase and in his memory I have to ask of the cinemas; ARE YOU ‘AVING A LEAN?