It turns out the war between theater exhibitors (ie. cinemas) and streaming services (eg. Netflix, Amazon) is being fought over nothing according to a new study commissioned by the exhibitors themselves reports Variety.
The National Association of Theater Owners (NATO) recently hired EY’s Quantitative Economics and Statistics group to do a study with the aim of finding out how many people are forgoing the theaters in favor of streaming content.
The erosion of potential business to options at home has always been the main fear of exhibitors and, outside of the profit motive, has been used as the main justification for the continued enforcement of the 90-day minimum theatrical window.
Well NATO got a surprise when the survey has instead revealed that movie fans just like watching movies, no matter where as the people who watch the most movies in theaters are also the same people who watch the most streaming content, while those who visit the cinema the least also don’t watch much streaming content.
The study spoke to 2,500 people in November with 80% of those people having visited a movie theater at least once in the last twelve months. Of those people, those who have seen nine or more films in cinemas are streaming approximately 11+ hours of streaming content weekly.
Those who have only seen one or two films in the last year stream far less, at around 7 hours per week. Of those who haven’t visited a cinema at all in the last 12 months, nearly 50% of them don’t stream anything either.
Then there’s the issue of teenagers. The prevailing belief has been that kids today, having been raised in a time of constant screens around them, are the ones mostly forgoing cinemas. The study found that’s not the case at all – 13-17 year olds go to the cinema 7.3 times a year and stream 9 hours of content per week – the highest of any group on both counts. In fact, it’s those above them, the 18-37 year olds, who are going to the cinema the least out of any age group.
Phil Contrino, director of media and research at NATO, says: “The message here is that there’s not a war between streaming and theatrical. People who love content are watching it across platforms and all platforms have place in consumers’ minds.”
The study also indicates the area where streaming has mostly been disruptive is in the areas of broadcast television and very much in the basic cable arena.