Industry Report: Distribution, Exhibition and Streaming
Why are French people going to the cinema less often?
CANNES 2022: The CNC has unveiled the results of an interesting qualitative analysis of the reasons why certain French viewers are not returning to the dark rooms
A study, presented on 23 May at the CNC beach during the 75th Cannes Film Festival, was carried out at the start of May in conjunction with the company Vertigo, collecting responses from 1,200 people. It’s therefore hot off the press, following a return to “normal" attendance levels in theatres in the absence of any health-and-safety restrictions, on 14 March. Professionals are now attempting to understand why, since the start of January 2022, cinemagoing figures have stood at 55% below those of the same period in 2019. They also seek to comprehend which French citizens have not returned to the dark rooms.
Even those viewers who have come back have a habit of venturing out to the cinema more infrequently than before: 52% of respondents have settled back into their old habits, while 48% go to the cinema less often than they did two years ago.
Young people (15-25 years old) have returned to the cinemas quite quickly, while the over-60s have been more cautious. However, it’s the middle age bracket of 25- to 49-year-olds that has seen the most dramatic fall: before the crisis, 73% of such people went to the cinema once a year, whereas now, this figure stands at 53%. One particularly interesting figure is that 7% of respondents abandoned the cinemas because they didn’t have a vaccination certificate.
When quizzed on the subject, five of the most common reasons given by the sample group who stated that they went to the cinema less often are as follows: they have fallen out of the habit, they refuse to wear a mask in the theatre; ticket prices are too high; they wish to watch films in other formats; and finally, there is a lack of supply (few or no films they would wish to see). Yet, while the health-and-safety-related causes look set to evaporate, the structural ones still remain: the price of a ticket is an obstacle for the youngest audiences, the preference for VoD offerings is strongest amongst 15- to 34-year-olds, and the over-60s bring up their lack of interest in the selection of films currently on offer in theatres. When asked about which films would indeed make them want to return to the cinemas, the vast majority of viewers, whatever their age, mentioned comedies.
To sum up, we should definitely celebrate the fact that more than half of the people who responded to this study have been flocking to the movie theatres again, just as they had done before the pandemic. We should also note that the fall in attendance levels has posed fewer difficulties for independent and arthouse theatres, and that France finds itself in a less awkward situation than its neighbours Belgium and Italy. The rallying of all professionals across the entire cinema sector in this regard, coupled with the support of the authorities, should allow the country to successfully overcome this challenging period.
(Translated from French)
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