There is need for major changes in the cinema industry
Stabroek News
September 24, 2001

Dear Editor,

The cry from cinema owners explains a typical Guyanese mind-set - that reluctancy to make changes.

The cinema has been around for decades. In the days when entertainment relating to the viewing of movies was limited to rough, smelly and bug-infested cinemas, this was accepted because there were no alternatives. Remember the days of the jukeboxes? We accepted these because this was all that was there. Then came the stereo system. All jukebox owners had to adapt and make the cross-over.

Cinema owners have to wake up to change, competition and the free market system, where the most innovative and well-run business will survive. There is no going back to protectionism. Video houses and TV stations offer modern-day services that are being paid for - simple demand and supply. What cinema owners need to do is to come together, hire qualified persons to renovate and bring the cinema up to 2001 standards. Plan good and aggressive market strategies. People still want to view pictures on the big screen.

The image of the cinema as being a hang-out for hooligans must be addressed. In its present state even if the price is G$1.00 I would not visit a cinema. The rough image must be replaced by modern facilities, surroundings and staff. Those bullies that form part of the cinema's staff must go. Try for uniformed personnel like banks, etc. In its present physical and administrative state the cinema is dead.

People love the cinema and the big screen but over the years the cinemas were left back in the `60s. Why can't a cinema look like Guyana Stores or Courts? Why these ugly, smelly, rough stables?

It's time for monumental changes within the cinema industry or else they will fade into oblivion.

I still love the cinema but I have alternatives. Video houses which are air-conditioned and have pleasant, uniformed staff have lured patrons away from these anachronistic monuments called the cinemas. I say to cinema owners reorganise or fossilise.

Yours faithfully,

Peter Arjune