Movie Goer Consumer Journey During COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has boosted the growth of video-on-demand streaming platforms like Disney+ and Netflix, while halting the growth of movie theaters and cinemas, which were shut down for months while platforms like Netflix were busy adding more subscribers. Equally, the new customer journey of a moviegoer has changed significantly with the implementation of restrictive social distancing and sanitization protocols.

Overview of Moviegoers during COVID-19

Signals That Could Indicate Interest in Visiting Cinemas

  • To a larger extent, political alignment plays a role in arousing interest in going back to cinemas. The unprecedented politicization of mask-wearing has been heightened by businesses increasingly demanding this public health measure for the safety of everyone, a view that ignites political controversy.
  • COVID-19 safety protocols underscore the majority of movie goers’ interests to head back to cinemas. 91% of the EDO survey respondents would want theaters to have hand-sanitizer stations throughout the building, 77% want cinema employees to wear facemasks, and about 70% want employees’ temperature checked before work.
  • The survey also revealed that 60% of moviegoers would prefer having their temperatures checked when they return, about 70% want movie goers to wear facemasks, and only 5% believe no COVID-19 safety measures should be implemented. Other measures include wearing gloves by both the staff and audience.
  • The ability to reserve seats turned out to spark interest in about 80% of the respondents who said that the “ability to RSVP seats was a positive factor contributing to their decision to head back to the cinema.”
  • Other interests that could attract more attendance in cinemas include fresh content. Currently, the lack of fresh film content and studio hesitancy to release films have resulted in audience hesitancy to return to theaters. Experts assert that it is hard to justify a new film release with audiences at 20% capacity, thus the idea to postpone new films release to 2021.

Consumers’ Use of Entertainment on-Demand OR Subscription Services

  • Since the onset of the pandemic, the journey for moviegoers has changed drastically, especially with the availability of numerous sources of entertainment. However, in comparison, subscription services seem to outperform entertainment on-demand options.
  • The average subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) services per household are up by about 10%. As of June 2020, the penetration rates for Netflix and Disney+ were 65% and 29%, respectively, indicating that more consumers are opting for subscription-based video-on-demand services.
  • A July 2020 report on subscription video providers revealed that of the pandemic’s total new over the top (OTT) subscriptions, Netflix accounts for 24% of the market, Amazon 16%, Disney+ 15%, and Hulu 14%.
  • On the other hand, niche VOD services have seen modest growth despite no single platform gaining over 5% of the total share. In this regard, many Americans are still relying on two to three OTT services and are yet to explore the many SVOD offerings in the market.
  • The growth in the trend is likely to continue with total users piggybacking onto another’s membership almost doubling to 26%. Equally, over half (56%) of piggybackers claim they are willing to pay for at least one streaming service, an increase of 10 percentage points compared to 2019.

Growth of Streaming Content in the Home vs. Leaving the Home for Entertainment

Glenn is the Lead Operations Research Analyst at The Digital Momentum with experience in research, statistical data analysis and interview techniques. A holder of degree in Economics. A true specialist in quantitative and qualitative research.

Wearable Tech, October, 2020

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