The daily business briefing: February 7, 2023

AMC movie theaters to adjust ticket prices based on seat location, Google tests Bard artificial-intelligence service, and more

Movie goers leave the AMC Highlands Ranch 24 on August 20, 2020 in Highlands Ranch, Colorado.
(Image credit: Tom Cooper/Getty Images)

1. AMC movie theaters to adjust prices based on seat location

AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. said Monday it would start adjusting ticket prices in its theaters during peak showings depending on the location of moviegoers' seats. The Sightline AMC pricing scheme will charge a premium for prime, central seats. The traditional ticket cost will cover "Standard Sightline" seats, while Value Sightline, mostly in the front row, will cost less. The change comes as theaters seek to increase revenues now that crowds are returning after the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions, but attendance remains stuck below pre-pandemic levels. Sightline took effect immediately at some locations, and is expected to be expanded to other theaters for shows starting after 4 p.m. AMC shares rose as much as 6 percent Monday.

Deadline The Wall Street Journal

2. Google testing Bard AI service

Google is set to begin testing of a new conversational artificial-intelligence service called Bard ahead of an expected broader launch within weeks. Bard draws from information on the internet and generates textual responses to users' questions, Sundar Pichai, chief executive of Google parent Alphabet, said in a Monday blog post. The push to introduce the service is part of Google's effort to catch up with rivals such as OpenAI, creator of popular chatbot ChatGPT. Google rival Microsoft last month announced a multiyear, multibillion-dollar investment in OpenAI, a San Francisco startup. Microsoft plans to announce "progress on a few exciting projects" at a Tuesday event, The Wall Street Journal reported.

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The Wall Street Journal The Verge

3. Scandal-plagued 'National Enquirer' sold

A360 Media has agreed to sell the National Enquirer to WIP Ventures, the companies announced Monday. The two sides didn't reveal the price of the cash deal. The Enquirer has come under intense scrutiny in recent years after a series of scandals, including its arrangement to pay $150,000 to former Playboy model Karen McDougal, who claimed to have had an affair with Donald Trump, to keep her quiet during Trump's 2016 presidential campaign. After buying the rights to her story, the Enquirer didn't publish it. WIP is a joint venture between the digital media company Vinco Ventures and the newly created Icon Publishing, founded by former MoviePass chair Ted Farnsworth. It also will acquire the National Examiner and Globe tabloids in the deal.

The New York Times

4. U.K. health service workers stage massive walkout demanding higher pay

Thousands of nurses and ambulance service staff walked off the job in the United Kingdom on Monday in the largest strike in the 75-year history of Britain's National Health Service. The state-run health service's medical director, Stephen Powis, said more walkouts were expected in "the most disruptive" week the NHS has ever faced. The NHS strike is the latest in a massive wave of protests in the U.K. in recent days, as public sector workers demand higher pay to help them keep up with the rising cost of living. Teachers, train drivers, airport workers, border officers, postal workers, and others have participated in the wave of strikes.


5. Stock futures struggle ahead of Powell comments

U.S. stock futures were little changed early Tuesday ahead of a speech by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell that could provide clues about the central bank's next moves on raising interest rates. Futures tied to the S&P 500 were nearly flat at 6:45 a.m. ET. Nasdaq futures were up 0.1 percent; Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were down 0.1 percent. The Dow and the S&P 500 fell 0.1 percent and 0.6 percent, respectively, on Monday. The tech-heavy Nasdaq dropped 1.0 percent. Powell will speak at the Economic Club of Washington on Tuesday, possibly helping to clarify comments he made about disinflation after last week's 25 basis-point rate hike. The remark fueled hopes the Fed would soon stop raising interest rates.


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