In yesterday's digital Variety, there was an interesting article about how the internet is influencing the moviegoers. Here are some key stats and points from the article;
- 94% of all moviegoers are on line.
- 73% of moviegoers surveyed have profiles on social networking sites
- Teens (13-17) are heavily influenced by their friends opinions of movies. They prefer to text rather than talk on the phone.
- 20somethings (18-29) are "digital natives" having grown up with technology and use the internet to find information and place a high value on online consumer reviews and sites that aggregate reviews.
- 30somethings spend the highest number of hours online and their time is dominated by family concerns
- 40somethings are more likely to use traditional media, newspapers and magazines, and attend movies with their families
- 50somethings prefer matinees and like to avoid crowds
- And yet TV is still the number one source to generate interest in a film
- 75% trust a friend's opinion over a critic, 80% were more likely to see a movie after hearing a friend's positive review
- Only 40% surveyed said they would not see a if a friends did not like it with even less dissuasion by a critics negative review, 28%
- 62% got their reviews online
So what can we learn from these number in the theater business? Well to start, we have to take digital marketing seriously and make it a priority as we move forward. The teens and 20somethings in this survey will be our audience one day as their purchasing power increases. They have and are growing up with technology as a prime source of communication. We cannot ignore the fact that they prefer to get their information using that very technology and will continue to do so in the future. In fact, they will become more and more dependent on these technologies as they become more advanced and easier to use.
What I find most encouraging is the fact that 'word of mouth' is the most important driver in peoples entertainment purchase decision-making. That fact does not change. What does and will continue to evolve is how 'word of mouth' is spread. Today, aside from email, phone calls and face to face conversations, texting, Facebook, and Twitter are highly prevalent sources of communication. Most Broadway shows are now embracing the use of digital technology and will continue to do so. Some, like Next to Normal have become twitter cults. (They have 792,896 followers and won a SOMMA Award for the use of twitter in their marketing.) More can and will be done as the industry embraces the use of technology and moves away from traditional print marketing.
So with peer opinion so influential to both moviegoers and theatergoers, I am very excited to get theateradvisor.com up and running (beta launch in November). It will be THE place to share your opinion of shows you have seen, rate show elements and communicate with other theatergoers about theater in general. (updates of our progress coming soon)
What we have going for us in this industry is that our audience is extremely passionate about theatre. Theater is a living, breathing art form that cannot be replaced by recording. We will always have the element of the live experience to differentiate us from many other forms of entertainment. Everyone involved in the business is passionate about it and that will never change. It is the fabric of our survival as an entertainment option, and in many cases, a priority.
To read the Variety article, click here.