UPDATED: Entertainment has since found a buyer. We wrote about it here: http://www.canadiandealsassociation.com/entertainment-coupon-book-acquired-saved/
An institution since my childhood has come to an end it seems. Many Canadians and Americans have grown up fundraising door to door and using the coupons and savings within the Entertainment Book. Those deals on movie tickets and 2 for 1 restaurant specials were the main reason why most used these books. Unfortunately though, they have announced that their parent company is going bankrupt and selling off assets. I was very sad to hear that such a decision was made as opposed to selling the business to another fundraising or deals service. It seems there is internal turmoil at the equity company that owns them.
These books were the defacto coupon savings that most students and their parents used throughout elementary and high school. The bread and butter of the Entertainment Book’s model was their distribution through schools. They dominated the landscape. “Did you get your coupon book?” was always the question at the beginning of the school year. It is hard to believe that such a dominant enterprise could have lost their way. But they did. They got blind sided by a revolution in coupon and deals over the past 5 years or so. First came online coupons and deals, then more and more local savings cards and programs. Then the BIG hurt; Groupon and the daily deal revolution happened. Once that happened, Entertainment Book could not adapt fast enough. As such, their demise is not that surprising actually, given that they did not mature, change or lead in the deals revolution. They remained complacent and took their fundraising distribution model for granted. Sure, they tried their hand at a savings card and even daily deals. But both did not take well.
What parent would want to pay $35 for a deal book when they can receive an incredible amount of deals using some of these new deal services for free. Services like Fandango had better movie deals than the Entertainment book and the bread and butter 2 for 1 Restaurant deals in the Entertainment Book, although good, were not as liberating or exciting as getting 50% off the entire restaurant menu from daily deal sites or Restaurant.com. The remaining 2 for 1 offers that the Entertainment Book had on local merchants were simply not enough to sustain interest and sales from consumer who have an abundant of choice nowadays.
Also, in an age of email marketing, where consumer contact is king, Entertainment.com did a poor job accumulating consumer emails or leveraging the emails they did have in order to adapt their business model to the vibrant competition of the time.
So what happens now?
- Well, I doubt that Entertainment.com will simply shut down. They will try and sell assets to the highest bidder. For some companies, those assets are worth plenty, especially to a fundraising company or another local merchant service. Heck, their url alone will fetch millions of dollars.
- I would highly recommend that Canadian Deal providers try and contact the local account or regional rep for Entertainment.com and hire them. They have proven to have solid merchant relationships that can be of great benefit to deal providers.How do you find them? Look on Linkedin. Several are there, you just have to know what to look for.
I have reached out to the parent company of Entertainment.com in order to discuss their Canadian Assets. In turn, I also recommend that other deal providers in Canada try and reach out to them. Some of these Canadian assets can be very valuable; merchant relationships, school relationships and certainly any consumer lists they may already have. Once Entertainment is sold off, it will most likely be sold to a a US based firm with little need for the Canadian assets. These Canadian assets and relationships will simply fade away. Which is a shame.
I believe that Entertainment.com is not unlike any other business in a competitive consumer focused industry; a connection and social relationship with consumers is a must nowadays as is the leveraging of technology in order to offer better services or better experiences. Ignore those and the road to success is difficult. It seems that Entertainment.com did neither very well over the past few years.
R.I.P Entertainment.com. Now let’s focus on those in the industry that execute well. There are many who do.