It’s been around for over 10 years, and in the face of rising ticket prices it’s provided many a person the opportunity to split the cost of a big-screen outing with a friend. Sadly EE has announced that the Orange Wednesdays deal that has provided us with 2-for-1 cinema tickets every Wednesday since 2003 will end on 25th February.
According to EE the offer is ending because it could not work out a deal with Cinema First, its promo partner in the deal. That means no more discount tickets, and no more discounted meals at Pizza Express. It’s not all bad news though, EE has promised that its customers will get another exclusive bargain sometime in the future. Sadly we have no idea what that is, or when we’ll be seeing it.
It is, however, a serious blow to EE. Orange Wednesdays was a big thing, and while it was possible to go online and obtain a code without being an Orange/EE customer, it was one of those things people mentioned when explaining why they didn’t switch networks. The little things are why people are loyal to their networks, and since cinema tickets have become really quite expensive in recent years (especially if you go at peak times) getting two tickets for the price of one gives people an incentive to go. Why spend £20+ on cinema tickets when you can stay at home and watch Netflix, or worse pirate, for a fraction of that cost?
So what have we got left? The world of network exclusive deals certainly isn’t a big one, with O2 Priority Moments being the most prominent competitor to Orange Wednesdays. Sadly, Priority Moments isn’t all that great for cinema going. There’s an offer on right now that gives you 45% off Cineworld tickets, but that’s only useful if you actually live near a Cineworld. Plus, as older deals offering free/discounted tickets for Odeon showed, Priority Moments offers don’t last very long at all.
But what about the other networks? Well, Vodafone offer 6 months of free Netflix with its Red 4G plans, but that isn’t even in the same league. You can’t use that subscription to go out and watch the latest Hobbit movie on the day of release. Don’t bother trying to get your film fix from Three either, the only exclusive deals its customers get are things like unlimited data and free 4G.
On the whole, we’re pretty sad about the demise of Orange Wednesdays. In a world of identikit phone networks, it was a useful way to differentiate – and losing it will be a blow to cinemas and filmmakers alike. Hopefully EE’s replacement deal will be just as good, but somehow, our cynical hearts kind of doubt it. Watch this space.