A newly commissioned research study of nearly 4,000 moviegoers finds that an overwhelming number of people across all age groups have fully adopted digital technologies and increasingly depend on them to gain information about new movie releases and help with their decisions about which films to see.
The study, titled "Moviegoers: 2010," is intended to provide film marketers with actionable insights into how best to reach movie consumers over the next decade.
The study found that the Internet and word-of-mouth are gaining in importance (closely following in-theater trailers and TV commercials) as a way that moviegoers discover upcoming film releases and now rank ahead of traditional methods of advertising such as billboards and newspaper ads. The importance of peer group feedback (social networking, face to face interaction, texting) in the decision-making process was also a key finding of the study, with teens and young adults especially influenced by this consumer voice. 75% said they trust a friend's opinion more than a movie critic, while 74% of respondents said they like to share thoughts and opinions about movies with others.
Key study findings include:
- Virtually all moviegoers (94%) are online; this is true across all age groups.
- 86% of moviegoers across all demo segments go online via computer or mobile device at least once a day.
- In a given week, the average moviegoer spends more time going online (19.8 hours) than they do watching TV (14.3 hours).
- 73% of moviegoers surveyed have profiles on social networking sites; 69% watch video content online.
- Mobile phone penetration has reached 90% across all ages of moviegoers; 32% of moviegoers (44% of the 18–29 demo) no longer use a landline phone.
- 52% of moviegoers (61% of the 30–39 demo) have DVR devices, with 71% reporting they fast-forward to skip commercials; only 17% of respondents say they watch live TV.
- 93% report that they use internet search to find information about new movie releases.
- 62% of respondents said they get their movie review information online; this was consistent across all demos except the 50+ group, which still also relies on newspaper reviews.
- Peer group feedback trumps critics: 80% say positive reviews from other moviegoers makes them more likely to see a movie (vs. 67% who say a positive review from professional critics does); 40% say negative reviews from other moviegoers makes them decide not to see a movie (vs. 28% who say a negative review from professional critics would keep them from going).
- 84% of moviegoers said that when they make up their mind to see a movie, it doesn't matter what critics think about it.
The importance of "group think" emerged as a key factor with consumers. Moviegoers interviewed in theaters indicated that the fact that someone else in the group wanted to see a particular movie (55%) was as important in the decision-making process as the movie's storyline (57%). 46% of those surveyed were attending in groups of three or more. 91% of parents with children 12 or younger said they decide to see movies that either the child asked to see of that they equally want to see.
Another key finding of the study focuses on segmentation. Rather than base the data on the traditional four-quadrant system currently used by most movie marketers, the "Moviegoers: 2010" survey was compiled using a segmentation approach that considers both age and stage of life, taking into account that people's moviegoing habits evolve as their time and priorities change.
The teen years of 13–17 are focused around customization of entertainment and maximizing socialization; this group is all about sharing information. They like to multi-process while doing homework and are more likely to text than to have a phone conversation. Social networking is a critical communication tool, and they are heavily influenced by audio-visual materials (both online and offline) and friends opinions. They like to attend movies in groups.
The years of 18–29 are populated with "digital natives" who have grown up with technology. They have free time and non-traditional media consumption habits, using the Internet for every type of information. They are more likely than all other moviegoers to go online for movie information and to share what they think about movies via social networks. 44% of those surveyed from this group don't own a landline phone, and they place a high value on online consumer film reviews and review aggregation sites.
The ages of 30–39 are marked by time constraints. Parenthood and work dominate and they are "weekend warriors" attending movies primarily during the weekend. This group spends the highest number of hours online and represents the highest usage of technology, as well as the highest DVR penetration and most recorded TV viewing.
The ages of 40–49 are marked by a high usage of technology but also embrace traditional media such as newspapers and magazines. Ages 50–59 is the heaviest TV-viewing demo and represents an uptick for traditional media and a slightly lower penetration of technology.
"Moviegoers: 2010," conducted by consulting firm Stradella Road, September 30, 2009. Website: www.stradellaroad.com.