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3D only relevant to really young teens, data reveals

Data-driven insights into the cinema-going habits of millennials and aging baby boomers could prove critical in boosting box office numbers, a panel of cinema experts revealed during IBC’s Big Screen strand.

Speaking at the session ‘Who is Your Cinema Audience in 2017?’ Laura Houlgatte, CEO, International Union of Cinemas (UNIC), warned that while young people love going to the cinema, exhibitors were competing with their time, and it was necessary to burrow down further into this demographic to help future-proof attendance.

Recent qualitative and quantative research by UNIC – conducted in the UK, Germany and Spain – revealed its members’ prime audience of 12-25 year olds had very different expectations of a cinema visit. Technologies such as 3D were enjoyed mostly by younger audience members (12-14 year olds) and 3D became far less relevant to older teens and young adults, who wanted to go to the cinema to switch off and relax.

Fellow panellist Sarah Lewthwaite, managing director of Movio, warned that studios and exhibitors were ignoring a growing and loyal number of aging baby boomers “at their own peril”.

Her firm, which makes a software that analyses the habits of older audiences, has found that Americans over 50 account for 31 per cent of all movie-goers over the age of 14 and accounted for 32 per cent of all trips to the cinema where they watch 6.8 films annually (compared to the millennials’ 6.7 films).

The research also revealed that, as well as creating new blockbusters such as The Marigold Hotel and Woman in Gold, boomers also contribute heavily to box office successes with 27 per cent of the new Star Wars franchise audience comprising this over-50s demographic.

Movio’s research also highlighted the boomers’ willingness to visit at off-peak times (70 per cent of over 50s visit the cinema before 18:00) and their love of art house genres and ‘mature’ thrillers could be means through which exhibitors might create smarter more profitable programming options.