Why watch a movie when you can watch your corporate meeting? • TechCrunch

Theater attendance is down, largely thanks to the pandemic, but chains like AMC still need to make money. If meme stocks aren’t a reliable business plan, why not find another use for a giant room with a giant screen and plenty of seats?

In partnership with Zoom, AMC Theaters will launch a product called Zoom Rooms next year. Basically, you go to the movies to join a Zoom meeting with your company. Yes, you have to travel to the movies just to join a meeting with your colleagues from all over the country, who are also in an AMC theater. If your business is short on cash, you may even receive complimentary popcorn.

These theaters, which range between 75 and 150 seats, will be available to reserve in three-hour blocks.

“AMC has a plethora of attractive theaters in downtown locations in city after city, each with ample seating capacity, especially during the weekday when most meetings are held,” said Adam Aron, CEO. from AMC Theatres. “Zoom Rooms at AMC broadens our reach as we can now also participate in the multi-million dollar [dollar] market for corporate meetings and others.”

While the idea of ​​a person sitting alone in a movie theater on a Zoom call is amusing, that’s not what’s happening here. This technology is supposed to connect groups of people in different places; for example, a New York-based team might meet in one theater to catch up with a Los Angeles-based team in another theater. But it’s not clear how you can tell who’s speaking if you have dozens of people crammed into a theater. Movie popcorn aside, it seems like a technical nightmare to figure out how to run a meeting this way…and maybe working from home and sending your employees non-perishable bags of popcorn is a simpler alternative.

“As hybrid working has become more common in the United States, Zoom Rooms at AMC will allow businesses and other entities with decentralized workforces and customer bases to bring people from different markets together for events and meetings. virtual cohesive and in person. experiences,” says a press release from AMC Theaters.

It feels like someone put a handful of publicly traded companies in a hat, picked two at random, and challenged them to create some kind of new collaboration.

AMC floundered during the pandemic, as its core business was made moot by a once-in-a-lifetime catastrophe. But even as vaccines become more widespread, people aren’t returning to the movies as the company hoped. Even though AMC’s quarterly revenue rose, the company still reported a quarterly loss this week. Meanwhile, Zoom is trying to broaden its reach by adding features like email and calendar as its unprecedented growth slows.

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