New study shows 70% of moviegoers would rather watch movies at home
The battle between seeing films theatrically and the rise of PVOD, allowing moviegoers to watch films at home, has been front and center since the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered movie theaters nationwide. Studios, such as Universal and Warner Bros., have opted to release their new films straight to PVOD after their theatrical release dates were compromised and they have seen great success with the method. Universal’s TROLLS WORLD TOUR has pulled in $100 million+ in revenue after breaking the opening weekend PVOD record and Warner Bros. has seen similar success with their animated reboot, SCOOB! Some have suspected this shows how eager the consumer is to watch films in the comfort of their own home while others believe this is happening because they don’t have much of a choice. No matter where you may land on this, a new study was recently conducted that asked moviegoers about their viewing preference and if it’s to be believed, home is where it’s at.
A new study from Performance Research and Full Circle Research, via “Variety“, shows that cinemas may find it difficult to go back to business as it was pre the pandemic. With significant concern for personal health and safety, most movie fans appear to prefer to watch at home. When asked if they would rather see first-run films in a movie theater or as a digital rental at home, a staggering 70% of participants say they are more likely to watch at home versus only 13% who said they were likely to go to the theater. 17% of survey participants said they were not sure which they would choose.
The troubling thing about these findings for movie theater chains is that not much has changed since a similar study conducted by Performance Research back in March. 52% of consumers feel that being in heavily attended spaces will “scare” them for a “long time” and this is up from the result of 47% first revealed in the March study when the acceleration of the health crisis was gripping the U.S.
More results from the study show that 37% of the survey participants say they plan to attend movies in theaters less often (up from 28% in March) and 10% say they may never set foot in a movie theater again (up from 6% in March). Showing that we all need a bit of levity, the genre that would most likely get them back in movie theater seats would be a comedy (43%) followed by drama (35%) & action (33%). The state of the world is clearly scary enough so horror lagged behind with 19%.
A lot of this also comes down to the price point. Most PVOD rentals, for these latest films that were intended for theatrical release, are priced at $19.99. Some have complained this is overpriced but if you’re a family of five, for example, this is quite the deal to entertain the family at home while also maintaining safety. The price of admission at the movie theater is just as much and that’s just for one ticket before more money is spent at the concession stand. The appeal of home viewing just becomes more and more appealing as time goes on.
I still don’t believe the theatrical experience is dead but the pandemic has certainly prompted a new release strategy from studios that most movie theater chains may not be happy about down the road. This study, of course, doesn’t speak for all of us and I’m sure we know many people who are eager to go back to the movies but the results are telling. How we consume movies moving forward is definitely going to be different now studios have to figure out what will truly entice moviegoers to take the risk of going to the movie theater.
Do YOU agree with the study? Do YOU rather watch movies at home? Will YOU feel safe going back to a movie theater?