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Empirical Analysis of Metering Price Discrimination: Evidence from Concession Sales at Movie Theaters

Author

Listed:
  • Ricard Gil

    () (University of California, Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, California 95064)

  • Wesley R. Hartmann

    () (Stanford Graduate School of Business, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305)

Abstract

Prices for goods such as blades for razors, ink for printers, and concessions at movies are often set well above cost. Theory has shown that this could yield a profitable price discrimination strategy often termed “metering.” The idea is that a customer's intensity of demand for aftermarket goods (e.g., the concessions) provides a meter of how much the customer is willing to pay for the primary good (e.g., admission). If this correlation in tastes for the two goods is positive, a high price on the aftermarket good allows firms to extract a greater total price (admissions plus concessions) from higher-type customers. This paper develops a simple aggregate model of discrete-continuous demand to motivate how this correlation can be tested using simple regression techniques and readily available firm data. Model simulations illustrate that the regressions can be used to predict whether aftermarket prices should be above, below, or equal to their marginal cost. We then apply the approach to box office and concession data from a chain of Spanish theaters and find that high-priced concessions do extract more surplus from customers with a greater willingness to pay for the admission ticket.

Suggested Citation

  • Ricard Gil & Wesley R. Hartmann, 2009. "Empirical Analysis of Metering Price Discrimination: Evidence from Concession Sales at Movie Theaters," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 28(6), pages 1046-1062, 11-12.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ormksc:v:28:y:2009:i:6:p:1046-1062
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mksc.1090.0494
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Wesley R. Hartmann & Harikesh S. Nair, 2010. "Retail Competition and the Dynamics of Demand for Tied Goods," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 29(2), pages 366-386, 03-04.
    2. Ricard Gil & Evsen Korkmaz & Ozge Sahin, 2014. "Optimal Pricing of Access and Secondary Goods with Repeat Purchases: Evidence from Online Grocery Shopping and Delivery Fees," Working Papers 14-10, NET Institute.
    3. Joan Calzada & Tommaso M. Valletti, 2012. "Intertemporal Movie Distribution: Versioning When Customers Can Buy Both Versions," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 31(4), pages 649-667, July.
    4. P. Belleflamme & D. Paolini, 2015. "Strategic Promotion and Release Decisions for Cultural Goods," Working Paper CRENoS 201508, Centre for North South Economic Research, University of Cagliari and Sassari, Sardinia.
    5. Anita Rao & Wesley Hartmann, 2015. "Quality vs. variety: Trading larger screens for more shows in the era of digital cinema," Quantitative Marketing and Economics (QME), Springer, vol. 13(2), pages 117-134, June.
    6. Michael Rushton, 2011. "Pricing the Arts," Chapters,in: A Handbook of Cultural Economics, Second Edition, chapter 49 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    7. Xu, Jun, 2013. "A two-sided market model of optimal price structure for instant messenger," MPRA Paper 62960, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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