Audiences More Likely to Stream a Movie if it Has a Theatrical Release

Photo by Addy Ire on Unsplash.

Audiences More Likely to Stream a Movie if it Has a Theatrical Release

By Allyson Vannatta, Staff Writer

According to a new survey by Ernst & Young, audiences are more likely to stream a movie if it has a theatrical release.

“A theatrical release creates more of a conversation,” said Phil Contrino, director of media and research at the National Association of Theater Owners, which paid for the study.

The study questions the idea that people are forgoing theaters, choosing instead to stream entertainment at home.

The findings come at a time when many studios are raising the white flag and dedicating funds and resources to create their own streaming services. However, the future may not lie exclusively in streaming.

The survey polled 2,015 people who saw at least one movie in a theater over the last year as well as 505 people who didn’t step foot in a theater over the last year.

The results concluded that 62% said if the movie appeared in a theater, they were more likely to stream it at home. A mere 3% said they were less likely to stream a movie if they knew it had a theatrical release.

The moviegoers who went to the theater nine or more times in a year streamed more content than those who only visited a theater once or twice. Those who visited the theater more than nine times averaged 12 hours of streaming content a week. Consumers who only saw a movie on the big screen once or twice a year averaged seven hours of streaming content a week. Finally, of those people who didn’t spend any time at a movie theater, almost half didn’t stream any content.

This survey diminishes the popular belief that people would rather stay home and stream from the comfort of their couch rather than visit the cinema.

“The disruption talk is overstated,” said Contrino. “What’s being disrupted is the way people consume content in the home.”

He believes the disruption is actually affecting broadcast television, not full-length theatrical movies. Since most everything broadcast on a network is now available the day after, or all at one time a few months after the latest season ends, it encourages viewers to cut the cord from their cable company.

One conclusion the study suggests is that younger viewers aren’t just staying at home and streaming content.

Actually, teenagers between the ages of 13 to 17 saw the most movies on the big screen (6.8 movies) and streamed the most content a week (10.5 hours). People between the ages of 18 to 37 went to the theater the least (5.6 movies) and streamed an average of 8.5 hours a week. Consumers between the ages of 38 to 52 watched 9.5 hours of streaming content a week while they saw 6.1 movies in theaters. Finally, respondents in the age group of 53 to 72 streamed 6.9 hours of content and saw 6.1 movies in theaters.

Corino said, “It’s just lazy to say younger viewers are abandoning movies.”

Parents of teenagers, which was the age group that went to the theater most often, should continue to encourage their children to practice media wisdom. Parents should ask questions that prompt their teen to process through the movie’s elements. For a list of questions, click here.

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