Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Americans prefer to watch movies at home, or how long did it take to figure this out?

The Pew Research Center has released a new survey (warning PDF) revealing that "three-quarters of all adults say they would prefer watching movies at home than a theater." Now, I am not trying to be flip with the title, but readers may already know that I fall within those three-quarters. Heck, I would rather be quartered alive than to be found in a movie theater. Back in January I wrote about why I stopped going to the movie theaters. So, upon seeing the survey results, I cannot help but get the feeling of "what took you fellows so long?" It is pretty common knowledge that between the less than stellar product that Hollywood is putting out, the expense of going to a movie theater with minimal value for your money, and the fact that going to the theater means being exposed to just about every form of rudeness known to man that most people prefer to watch a movie from the comfort of their homes. Add to this that movies come out on DVD fairly soon, and you get the picture. Interestingly, however, the survey reveals that the most popular way to watch movies is via network, cable or satellite, not on DVD, which I will admit runs a little counter to my initial intuition. Then again, it makes sense. If you plunk down the money for a good satellite package or for cable that is more than basic, you may as well be using it. The survey also points to services like Netflix and use of devices like TiVo.

Now, this does not mean that people are necessarily abandoning theaters. The survery found a decline, but the study has mixed results. For instance, the survey found that people who have great viewing equipment at home and tend to watch more movies are also more likely to go to the theater. "Movie buffs, in short, tend to watch a lot of movies, no matter what the venue." On the other hand, those who hardly go to the theater in the first place display a much stronger preference for watching movies at home. The significance for the movie industry is that the decline in theater attendance is ocurring among the young, the affluent, and the well educated, which are key demographics for the movie theater business. Also interesting, one of the reasons that usually keeps me out, the bad manners, is very low on the reasons people list in the survey for not going to the theater.

Another interesting finding is that, from those who don't watch more movies at home or in the theater, 77% would prefer to do other things with their free time.

Overall, an interesting survey to look at. In my case, I am still going to wait for the DVD to come out, if I can get away from my PS2 or the Internet, or better yet, some quality time at home.


Reel Fanatic said...

I agree that this study warrants a resounding duh!, but with this summer so far, the movies themselves are also to blame .. just last weekend came two complete stinkers, "Poseidon" and "Art School Confidential" ... oh well, it can only get better, I hope

Angel, librarian and educator said...

Reel Fanatic: When you see something like a remake of "Poseidon Adventure," you just have to wonder what the heck they are thinking over in Hollywood. Then again, bad remakes seems to be the order of the day. Thanks for stopping by. Best, and keep on blogging.