I have long regarded Cineplex Inc. (TSX:CGX) as being one of my top dividend-paying stocks, and I think it should be a part of every portfolio. The company not only has a great dividend that has increased throughout the years, but it’s posted fairly positive results and showed strong growth.
One of the main reasons for my recommendation on the stock, however, has nothing to do with the dividend or results. It has to do with how the company has reinvented itself over the years and continues to do so, adding new sources of growth and revenue in the process.
Is the popcorn-and-movie model dead?
At first glance, you may think Cineplex might be in a dying business. The movie business is not exactly unique anymore, as most people have smartphones and fast internet connections that can stream the latest Hollywood blockbuster to our phones in seconds.
Cineplex has moved beyond what is on the screen to be more of an experience offering. Theatre concession areas are now more like shopping mall food courts with a number of different options. Game rooms and seating areas keep customers engaged and, more importantly, on Cineplex’s property, where more concessions can be purchased.
Two of the latest growing trends from Cineplex are the Rec Room and VIP sections, which take the “stay on property” concept and push it up a few levels.
The Rec Room is a reconfigurable multi-purpose room that can be used to host any number of catered events from holiday parties and birthdays all the way to corporate-catered events. Cineplex has been gradually rolling out the Rec Room to more locations with an Edmonton location opening this past month.
The VIP experience is even more unique. With larger, premium recliner seats and a chef-inspired, full menu available, this is the epitome of what a top-notch movie experience should be. While this comes at a higher price point than traditional seating, customers enjoy the show and the food, and stay longer.
The other side of Cineplex
Cineplex has even expanded into areas over the past year that can be labeled as nothing short of sheer brilliance. When Cineplex purchased a majority stake in World Gaming last year, investors were wondering what the potential upside of that would be.
Hosted gaming events are very much a new type of experience in Canada, but they have a massive following in other parts of the world, where thousands of spectators watch gaming matches on screen and live. Cineplex can now host these events in theatres and, once again, benefit from customers staying on site and purchasing concessions.
Moving outside the theatre, Cineplex has a digital-media segment that places the large digital menus that have become the norm in fast-food outlets around the country. This is an additional revenue stream for the company that is not only profitable, but completely unrelated to the core movie business of the company.
Recently, Cineplex noted that the digital media segment grew year over year by nearly 44% with $13.94 revenue in the most recent quarter. Cineplex is clearly no longer just a movie company, but rather it’s an entertainment company.
In my opinion, Cineplex is a great investment that should be part of any portfolio.