UGC Cinemas UK has announced that its cinema loyalty card is to undergo a massive price reduction in a bid to attract more cinemagoers - at the same time bringing it in line with its continental European equivalents.
The card, known as the 'Unlimited Pass', is the only subscription loyalty card on offer in the UK and currently costs Euros 31 (£19.99) per month (for a minimum subscription of 12 months). Now it is to be sold at Euros 20 (£12.99). Present customers already in the scheme will also have the use of the card at the reduced price.
In Spain, the only existing cinema loyalty pass, CAEC's Practical Card (Tarjeta Practica) is also sold on an annual basis, payable monthly at Euros 20.
In France, where there are three available loyalty cards: UGC's 'Illimite', Gaumont's 'Le Pass' and Pathe's 'Cine a Volonte' the cost averages out at Euros 18 per month.
UGC UK's outside-London version of the card (which allows patrons to see as many films as they like each month but excludes access to four London sites) will remain at Euros 15.50 (£9.99).
UGC already has approximately 100,000 pass holders in the UK, accounting for a substantial 20% of the company's audience. It now hopes to double this number by the end of 2003.
The company's own UK research also shows some arresting details. The loyalty pass appeals equally to all ages - with attendance as high amongst 25-34 and 60+ age groups as with 15-24 year olds - the largest audience demographic.
Commenting on the range of films the chain is able to feature, showcasing blockbusters, independent titles and foreign-language films side-by-side, Mike Thomson, commercial director UGC, said "The diversity and consistency of good quality films supporting the blockbusters enables us to attract customers to our cinemas every week or even twice a week."
UGC saw its admissions rise 47.6% year-on-year in the first four months of 2002, nearly double the UK's 23.5% rise, and has a market share of nearly 16%. The company is also a principal sponsor of this year's Edinburgh Film Festival.