Netflix Impact On Movie Theaters Is Negligible, Concludes A Study Commissioned By Movie Theaters


A study by Ernst & Young commissioned by the National Association of Theater Owners has found minimal impact on theaters by Netflix and other digital outlets streaming feature-length films.

If anything, the more a consumer streams movies, the study found, the more likely they are to pay for a ticket in a movie theater and vice versa. Across all races and ages, the average number of streaming hours per week was higher for those who visited a movie theater nine times or more than for those who went to a movie theater only once or twice. Plus, respondents who visited theaters only once or twice in the last year averaged seven hours of streaming a week versus 11 hours for those who logged nine or more trips to theaters.

And among those who didn’t visit a movie theater in the last 12 months, nearly half (49%) didn’t
stream at all.

NATO, a lobbying organization for exhibitors, is pushing back at the premise articulated by the New York Times today in an article headlined “Netflix’s Movie Blitz Takes Aim at the Heart of Hollywood.” Armed with a content budget several times that of any studio rival, Netflix is making up to 90 original films a year, counting animated and documentary titles. Some have budgets of up to $200 million, plus lavish marketing support, but major theater circuits have bridled at the idea of booking films like Roma or The Ballad of Buster Scruggs in theaters.

The study polled 2,500 respondents, 80% of whom saw at least one movie in theaters in the last 12 months. The primary data collected in the survey was movie theater attendance in the
last 12 months, streaming consumption in the last 12 months, and the demographic characteristics of respondents.

Teen-agers were the most avid age group, not surprisingly. Moviegoers between 13 and 17 went to seven movies and streamed nine hours of streaming content, highest of any demo.

Despite all of the angst, domestic box office is showing healthy signs, crossing the $11 billion mark in record time earlier this month.

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