Who needs dividends when you can get free popcorn? AMC announced Investor Connect today, a membership program available exclusively to stockholders. Benefits of the program include a free large popcorn, direct communications with the AMC CEO and access to exclusive promotions and discounts.
AMC has been a significant beneficiary of the memestock rally that pitted individual investors from places like r/WallStreetBets against institutional short-sellers such as Melvin Capital. The individual investors also targeted GameStop, BlackBerry and Nokia.
Since the start of 2021, AMC stock has risen more than 2,900%. Most of this growth took place after the initial memestock debacle in January and February of 2021 — in fact, within the last month, AMC rose from under $10 per share to nearly $70 as of this writing. Trading on the stock was halted earlier today by the New York Stock Exchange due to volatility.
As part of the Investor Connect announcement, AMC disclosed that over 3.2 million individual investors owned a stake of AMC as of March 11. The company also said Invest Connect was part of its efforts to take "innovative steps to communicate directly with its retail shareholders," which owned 80% of the company as of that day.
AMC is taking an unprecedented step in treating its shareholders as a customer base for a Costco-like membership program. However, it is similar to the GameStop NFT expansion in that both companies are attempting to capitalize on their memestock status, albeit in different ways. The moves from GameStop and AMC represent a new paradigm in the retail investor frenzy — companies are no longer just getting memestock'd, but actively shaping and responding to retail investor sentiment generated on online trading forums.
Hirsh Chitkara (@ChitkaraHirsh) is a researcher at Protocol, based out of New York City. Before joining Protocol, he worked for Business Insider Intelligence, where he wrote about Big Tech, telecoms, workplace privacy, smart cities, and geopolitics. He also worked on the Strategy & Analytics team at the Cleveland Indians.