• Latest Ernst & Young Study Shows Movies With Theatrical Push Are More Likely To Be Streamed

    News Reel Blog   

    For the third year in a row, NATO commissioned a study through Ernst & Young to look at consumer habits related to moviegoing and streaming habits. You can download the full report here and the executive summary here.

    Survey results presented here include 2,191 respondents who indicated that they were, in some capacity (rarely, sometimes, usually, always), aware of whether the movie they streamed was released in a movie theatre.

    ► Respondents that were aware of movies’ in-theatre releases were more likely to stream a
    movie when they knew it was released in theatres. Of those who were always or usually
    aware of movies’ in-theatre releases, 62% reported they were more likely to stream a movie if
    they knew it was released in a movie theatre. On the other hand, only 3% of these respondents
    reported they were less likely to stream a movie if they knew it was released in a movie theatre.

    Conclusions from last year’s study:

    EY QUEST conducted a survey of 2,500 respondents, 80% of whom saw at least one movie in theatres in the last 12 months. The primary data collected in the survey was: (1) movie theatre attendance in the last 12 months, (2) streaming consumption in the last 12 months, and (3) demographic characteristics of the respondents.

    • Those who attended movies in theatres more frequently also tended to consume streaming content more frequently. For every race and age demographic, average streaming hours per week was higher for respondents who visited a movie theatre 9 times or more than respondents who visited a movie theatre only once or twice. Moreover, respondents who visited a movie theatre only once or twice in the last 12 months reported an average of 7 hours of streaming per week versus 11 hours of streaming per week for those who visited a movie theatre 9 or more times.
    • Those who did not attend a movie in a theatre in the last 12 months were more likely to report less streaming activity than those who did attend at least one movie in the same period. Of those who didn’t visit a movie theatre in the last 12 months, nearly half (49%) didn’t stream any online content. Of those who did not visit a movie theatre at all in the last 12 months, only 18% streamed online content for 8 or more hours per week.

    Download the executive summary here and the full report here.

  • NATO Surveys Young Members Committee On Present, Future of Exhibition

    Reel Blog   

    This year, NATO conducted the first survey of our Young Members Committee (YMC) in order to gain a better sense of how the industry is viewed by the next generation of exhibition industry professionals.

    We received 45 responses from a diverse range of YMC members. Some respondents have only worked in the industry for one year, while others have been working in exhibition for 16 years. The responses were spread out pretty evenly among employer size: 14 from companies with 500+ screens, 19 from 75-499 screen companies, and 12 from 1-74 screen companies.

    In terms of the respondents’ involvement in NATO events, 25 out of 45 have been to CinemaCon and 14 have been to the Fall Summit/General Membership meeting.

    The 39-question survey focused on a range of topics relevant to exhibition: from opportunities and risks to the theatrical-viability of certain genres to attracting younger moviegoers.

    If you are a NATO member, please use log in to view the full report.

    Here is a brief rundown of key takeaways:

    When asked to rate different significant opportunities for the industry on a scale of one to five, one meaning not significant and five meaning it is a big opportunity, NATO’s young members found alcohol service to be the most significant opportunity on the list with an average score of 4.44. Automation and artificial intelligence, increased diversity in front of and behind the camera, and recliners and reserved seating also received high ratings. Not far behind those were major studios focusing on creating films that play well globally and the increased use of green technology and sustainability practices in cinemas. Surprisingly, lowest on the list with average scores hovering around a neutral score were E-Sports and virtual and augmented reality.

    Later, the survey asked, “What do you think is the best way to create a love for cinema in audiences under 12 years old?” This open-ended question generated a range of responses aimed at maintaining the industry’s popularity in the years to come. “Experience” was one of the words that popped up the most in responses. While every answer was slightly different, the majority of answers focused on the fact that what is being shown on cinema screens will be the ultimate attractor to audiences under 12 years old, but the experience provided at the cinema is also vital.

    Many respondents encouraged creating new, fun experiences for younger audiences by providing activities that are exciting and engaging, ranging from giveaways, concession offers, movie-related photo opportunities, crafts, and arcade games. Playing content that can be enjoyed by adults and children was also a frequent part of responses, as the money for tickets and concessions ultimately comes from the adult parents or guardians. As one respondent remarked, “We must offer something that is completely or at least relatively unattainable through the handheld devices that kids interact with daily.”

    When asked: “Do you think the growth of easily accessible short-form content has a negative impact on the desire of moviegoers under the age of 12 to consume feature-length films?,” only five respondents said yes. The other 39 responses were spread evenly among Maybe, No, and Too Soon To Tell. This topic will be increasingly important for our industry in the years to come as many social critics are sounding alarms about decreasing attention spans and the impact that will have on our culture.

    When it came to risks, shorter theatrical windows were perceived as the most threatening, with directors and actors creating content for streaming services instead of theatrical distributors coming not too far behind.

    In terms of which genres are viewed as the most viable long term, Action and Animated scored the highest, while Low-Budget Independent and Documentaries scored the lowest. Related to that: only 12 respondents answered Yes to “Is the reliance on franchise films by major studios bad for the overall health/public image of our industry?”

    When it comes to the factors that drive younger audiences to the movies, the respondents rated Social Media Buzz the highest, and Awards buzz/nominations/film festival wins the lowest. Rotten Tomatoes/Metacritic score finished in the middle. The lack of interest in movie awards should come as no surprise considering that the Oscar telecast has been struggling to retain viewership in recent years.

    At NATO, we plan on surveying the YMC on regular basis for the benefit of the entire trade body.

  • NATO Executive Board Approves Resolution to Begin Exhibitor-Led Testing of Digital Cinema Technologies

    Reel Blog   

    (Beverly Hills, Calif. – October 1, 2019)  The Executive Board of the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO), at the association’s annual Membership and Board Meetings at the Beverly Hilton, 23-24 September 2019, approved a resolution (attached) laying out aspects of a digital cinema technology evaluation program.

    “Digital cinema has opened up the door to a wide range of technological advances,” said NATO Technology Committee chairman John D. McDonald, Executive Vice President, Operations at AMC. “Exhibitors – the primary consumers of these technologies – along with other industry stakeholders, need an open, rational testing program to determine which of these technologies will work in the cinema space.”

    In the early days of the digital cinema transition, major film distributors formed Digital Cinemas Initiatives, LLC (DCI) to establish a standard architecture for digital cinema systems known as the “DCI Specification”. Its mission was to create a uniform level of security, technical performance and quality.

    DCI member studios subsidized the purchase of digital cinema equipment through Virtual Print Fees (VPFs). With VPFs in most cases ended, or nearing termination, in the domestic market, the costs of new technologies will fall on exhibitors. The pace of technological advance has increased. It is, then, necessary and proper for exhibitors to take the lead in evaluating the impact of light levels, contrast and colorimetry on their patrons and the exhibition environment.

    NATO seeks to create an open process to understand and evaluate digital cinema technologies and create metrics to analyze future technologies, and to open this process to include various stakeholders including filmmakers, distributors, manufacturers, service providers and exhibitors.

    NATO’s Technology Committee, led by NATO’s technology consultant Jerry Pierce, have already begun initial measuring to prepare for industry-wide testing. The Technology Committee will report its initial findings to membership at NATO annual meetings in 2020.


    The National Association of Theatre Owners is the largest exhibition trade organization in the world, representing more than 33,000 movie screens in all 50 states, and more than 32,000 additional screens in 103 countries worldwide.

    Headquartered in Washington, D.C., with a second office in Los Angeles, California, NATO represents its members in the heart of the nation’s capital as well as the center of the entertainment industry. From these vantage points, NATO helps exhibition influence federal policy-making and work with movie distributors on all areas of mutual concern, from new technologies to legislation, marketing, and First Amendment issues. www.natoonline.org



    Patrick Corcoran
    Vice President & Chief Communications Officer
    [email protected]

  • John Fithian Delivers 2019 State of the Industry

    Reel Blog   

    During his annual speech at CinemaCon, John Fithian celebrated a record, year in 2018, the importance of moviegoing, and directly addressed the dynamic between theatrical and streaming.

    “We understand that some movies will continue to go straight to the home and skip theatrical. There is nothing revolutionary about that idea. All we ask is that powerful movies in all genres, made by content creators who want their work on the big screen, be given the time to reach their full potential in theaters before heading to the home. Theatrical exhibition is the keystone of this industry, and there is no replacement—both artistically and commercially—for the impact of a break-out hit.

    Theatrical and streaming are two completely different experiences that have their time and place. A recent study by Barclays looked at the value of opening streaming titles theatrically before releasing them to the home, and plenty of other financial analysts and content creators stress that the two should exist peacefully.

    Read the full speech here.