First off: I’ve been an Orange/EE customer since I got my first phone, back in 2000. I had been given the phone as an early Birthday present, because I was taking a five day trip to London with my secondary school and my parents wanted to keep in touch. When Orange Wednesdays began ten years ago, I was thrilled, as I’m sure you’ve seen on the site: myself and Paul B are big fans of going to the cinema and our local cinema, The Plaza in Truro, was on-board with Orange Wednesdays two tickets for the price of one promotion. This year’s Guardians of the Galaxy is one of the many films I’ve seen using the promotion.
Then yesterday’s announcement that the promotion was ending in 2015 hit.
Does it suck?
For those of us who have put up with more costly phone contracts from Orange/EE, in comparison to other UK mobile networks, for the sake of having access to this offer, because there weren’t easily accessible similar offers in the area from providers or cinemas: yes, its end does suck. But in my particular case: time is ticking away on my contract, nearing its death when the promotion ends in February 2015.
Now, I’ll admit, I’m in a situation these days where paying for two cinema tickets is a lot easier than it was back in 2004. But I like a good deal. The scheme makes it a bit more feasible to go to the cinema multiple times a month during the height of the box office season. And for those whose nearest cinema charges for tickets that are several pounds more in price than the average seat in Cornwall: the scheme definitely offered some relief. Meanwhile, I’m one of those (apparent) cretins who likes something to drink and nibble while I’m watching a film, so the cinema makes money off of me in that regard and the fact that I still like seeing films on the odd Saturday.
However, in a statement released yesterday by Cinema First, through the Cinema Exhibitors’ Association, (Cinema First had been partly responsible for the Orange/EE scheme), there was a great deal of silver lining to the news:
“While Orange’s sponsorship of the 2-for-1 offer will soon come to an end, we will shortly announce a new partner for an enhanced cinema ticket promotion, building on the success of the current 2-for-1 in what promises to be an incredible year ahead for UK cinema-goers.”
I contacted the Cinema Exhibitors’ Association for further comment, however they said we’d have to wait for news as to who the new partner is. Meanwhile, I’ve had a “dialogue” with EE about my future with them (you can view the original conversation here and should that no longer work, an image of it here).
The language used by EE when they announced their side of this yesterday was interesting. EE said their customer’s viewing habits had changed. Of course the company does have EE TV now and it would be in their interest to try and suggest that people’s viewing habits are changing. In fact, that was one of the benefits that EE tried to sell to me over Twitter when I suggested I end my contract with them. They also pointed towards a scheme for getting cheap tickets to events at Wembley, which is about as useful as a wet towel when you live in Cornwall.
What I am now hoping is that another phone network, with reasonable coverage in Cornwall, is about to partner with Cinema First, and that my local cinema will shift to this new scheme in 2015. I’ll miss having Kevin Bacon chatting away to me before films, sure, but whoever the new partner for Cinema First is, I mainly hope the scheme will be accessible.