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Consumers Hungry for Movies in 2010

Market Force Information announced that, even before the blockbuster success of Avatar, consumers were bullish on seeing movies this year.

According to a consumer survey conducted by Market Force, when asked in December 2009 if they planned on going to the movie theatre in the first three months of 2010, nearly 70 percent said yes, and one third of those said they planned on seeing three or more movies by the end of March.

When asked why they would go to a theatre instead of watching a movie in the comfort of their own home, one out of two pointed to the experience of viewing a movie on the big screen. One third of respondents said they did not want to wait to see the latest release, and one quarter also listed that they liked going to the theatre with friends. Another reason cited was that the theatre is a good venue for a date. The total experience – including movie, concessions and seating – rounded out the list.

These results support the emphasis that studios and exhibitors alike are placing on the overall theatre experience, from focusing on comfortable seating and clean facilities to investing in the latest in digital effects and sound quality.

But, as everyone in the industry knows, people do not just go to movie theatres to watch the latest films. They are also looking for alternative ways to watch them on their own schedules and at a lower price, driving movie consumption even higher. In this area, the biggest growth story is the explosion of kiosk movie rentals. More than four in 10 consumers reported they are using in-store or mall kiosks such as RedBox to rent the latest movie on DVD, surpassing the 36 percent that rent from physical stores.

Even more telling is that 26 percent of consumers said they will increase their use of kiosk DVD rentals, the highest percentage of any of the movie rental options. Less than half – only 12 percent – said they expect to rent more frequently from stores, while almost one in five expect to rent less frequently from stores in the future. Online rentals such as Netflix and Blockbuster Online are being used by 27 percent of the consumers surveyed, and 21 percent said they expect that to increase.

Fifteen percent of consumers said they watch movies from their cable TV subscriptions, with 18 percent saying they expect to increase that practice in the coming year.

When asked what drives them to seek out a new movie, more than 70 percent of consumers said television ads, followed by movie trailers that they see in-theatre. Recommendations from friends and written movie reviews were also cited by three in 10 consumers.

The survey was conducted in December 2009 among the Market Force network of more than 300,000 consumers. The pool of 3,000 respondents ranged in age from 19–72 and reflected a broad spectrum of income levels, with approximately half reporting incomes of more than $50,000 a year. Approximately 75 percent were women, the primary household consumer purchasers. Half had children at home.

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