Hollywood frets over missing youths

30 April, 2014 by Don Groves

Alarm bells have been ringing among the Hollywood studios and cinema chains since a report showed steep drops in moviegoing among teenagers and young adults in the US.

The number of frequent cinemagoers aged 18-24 plunged by an unprecedented 17% in 2013, according to Motion Picture Association of America, while attendances in the 12-17 age bracket fell by nearly 15%.


However research in Australia indicates there has been a negiglble drop among teens and a small decrease among young adults.

“Looking at the year-on-year comparison from the Roy Morgan data, the drop hasn’t been anywhere near the level seen in the US,” said Paul Butler, marketing director of Val Morgan Cinema Network.

Last year 41.4% of teenagers aged 14-17 who were surveyed reported they had been to a cinema in the past four weeks (down just 0.4% on 2012) and the average number of cinema visits was 1.49 (1.48 previously).

Of the 18-24s, 38.9% (42.1%) had been to the cinema and the average number of visits was 1.57, up from 1.54. “Interestingly both drops are offset by a slight increase in the average frequency of going,” Butler noted.

David Seargeant, managing director of Amalgamated Holdings Ltd, parent of Event Cinemas, Greater Union and Birch Carroll & Coyle, tells IF, “The figures are holding up reasonably well. We lost some young males to video gaming a few years ago but we have gradually got them back.”

Paramount Pictures MD Mike Selwyn said the Roy Morgan research reinforces the notion that “we have a very loyal set of filmgoers who don’t seem to have changed their composition much.”

Selwyn is convinced the drop in cinemagoing among 18-24s is due to piracy and file sharing, observing, “There is no question that piracy is making an impact.”

He credits much of the Australian industry's resilience to investment by exhibitors in digital technology,  online ticket sales and premium cinemas.