On-Demand Hotel Room Movie Provider to File for Bankruptcy

Photograph ©istockphoto.com by Catherine Yeulet.

LodgeNet Interactive Corporation — which provides movies in hotel rooms for a fee — is expected to file for bankruptcy protection this year, as it reportedly has not earned an annual profit since 2006.

Meanwhile, Colony Capital LLC — a private real estate firm — will become the controlling shareholder of LodgeNet through the bankruptcy process. Also, DirecTV will operate with LodgeNet as strategic partners within the hospitality and healthcare markets, according to Bloomberg.

This news does not surprise me one bit — nor should it surprise FlyerTalk members, who apparently portended this news as far back as 2.5 year ago.

I personally have never once purchased a movie to watch in my hotel room during the years in which I have traveled. The reasons include that I am not typically a person who watches movies for free, let alone for a cost of up to $20.00 per movie.

The advent of portable electronics — such as laptop computers, “smartphones” and tablets on which movies can be played at any time — certainly did not improve matters for LodgeNet. It is even possible to download movies for less cost than to purchase a LodgeNet movie — and if you are able to download the movie in your hotel room, then you must have Internet service available to you. I would certainly much rather check e-mail messages, work on the Internet or catch up on FlyerTalk than watch a movie, but that is simply my preference.

The direct and indirect competition for your entertainment dollars does not stop there, as there are kiosks at airports which sell and rent movies so that you may watch them during your flight or in your hotel room. Many hotel rooms equipped with a high-definition television offer dozens of channels to watch free of charge. When I am in the mood to watch some television, it can take me a significant amount of time “channel-surfing” just to find a program which captures my interest. Who has time to watch a movie?

LodgeNet attempted to take advantage of the latest technology by offering users of mobile technology an application — I abhor the term app as much as the term meds — which includes such services as front desk click-to-dial for housekeeping, wake-up and room service; weekly recommendations specific to your travel location; searching an extensive list of local events, concerts and games; and reviews of top restaurants and attractions in the area in addition to ordering and controlling the movies you watch in your hotel room. FlyerTalk members generally seem to like the idea — but is it too little, too late?

For me, it simply never was. Sorry, LodgeNet. I wish all the best for you. Nothing personal…

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