1. Big screen TVs - similar experience at home
2. High definition – getting better and better
3. Timeshift – people want to watch when they want to watch
4. Video on demand – slicker and slicker with hundreds of movies available
5. Prices – home movie is priced at less than 2/3 of one cinema ticket
6. Munching – morons slurp coke, scoop popcorn and rustle sweet wrappers
7. Mobiles – ringtones & screen lights that illuminate ten rows behind
8. Talking –are people chatting more during films
9 Poor movies- Slumdog Millionaire Best Oscar Picture?
10. Piracy – easy to capture, copy and distribute
According to a global survey of movie goers by PA Consulting and the Motion Picture Association of America, taken in seven American and three European cities, the global decline in cinema attendance is not a just the result of poor content. It’s a combination of a ‘dissatisfaction with the movie-going experience’ and ‘increasing competition for the consumer’s share of time and money’. 86% were annoyed by hikes in prices, 63% disliked the ‘popcorn’ culture and lack of alternative food options, and so on. “In order for it to maintain sustainable growth, the entertainment industry must take a long look at how consumers are balancing their lives. Survey respondents have shown that they intend to increase the time spent on socialising, using the Internet and participating in other leisure activities aside from going to the movies and watching DVDs and TV.”
When I put these points to cinema lovers they mention the ‘cinema experience’. But the visual and aural experience at home is moving towards matching the cinema. The levels of suspension of disbelief are similar. I’ve never really bought the ‘social’ experience factor, as you go to get your belief suspended, not to chat. Increasingly, it’s becoming an inconvenient, uncomfortable and expensive experience, that's what the PA survey, along with attendance figures show.
Of course, what’s happening is substitution. Broadband, cable, games, internet use are all on the rise. After the plateau in 2002-2005 people shunned the cinema. Admissions dropped by 5%, from 164.7m in 2005 to 156.6m in 2006, according to figures from the UK Film Council. Despite the fact that older audiences are proving robust, younger audiences (over half of all cinema goers are under 25) are finding other things to do. This decline among cinema viewing among the young has continued. And this is not a UK problem alone, both the US and Europe experienced a drop in attendance in 2007. And just to rub it in, it also remains to be seen what effect the recession will have on attendance.