Economic concerns don't inhibit moviegoing

Reel Blog   

Hot on the heels of Interpret LLC’s survey suggesting consumers are cutting back on moviegoing because of economic worries comes a report from the NPD Group asserting exactly the opposite.

NPD’s “Entertainment Trends in America” reports that nearly 80 percent of frequent moviegoers plan to go to the theater the same amount or more often than they did last year, despite news about a declining U.S. economy. Even among infrequent moviegoers (those who attend movies once or twice within three months) 57 percent plan to hold steady, or even increase, their attendance this year. (emphasis mine)

Taken from a sample of more than 11,000 consumers, the report notes certain factors that drive consumers to the movies:

The top reason cited by consumers who intend to go to the movies more often this year is the social experience of going with family, friends, or significant others (73 percent). Nearly half (48 percent) pointed to the overall “movie-theater experience” (e.g., large screen, sound systems, etc.) as a primary reason they like to watch movies in the theater.

Makes sense – and it’s something we’ve been saying here quite a lot. Something else we’ve been saying – home entertainment technologies are not a threat to moviegoing. Movie theaters and home entertainment are complementary. People who love movies are promiscuous. They’ll watch movies over and over and in many different ways.

According to NPD’s report, frequent moviegoers are 20 percent more likely than the average movie-ticket buyer to purchase DVDs of recent theatrical releases. They are also 60 percent more likely to rent a movie downloaded from the Web, and 40 percent more likely to purchase a movie as a digital download.

We don’t expect frisky movie-goers to confine their love solely to the movie theater. But we do believe in serial monogamy – the preservation of the theatrical release window

To sum up, the sky is not falling, movie theaters continue to not die. Will the Wall Street Journal report it? “Buehler…? Buehler…?”