Survey says: Hollywood could make more money without windows

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Surveys conducted and sponsored by research firm BTIG suggest that movie viewers might actually spend more money on films, if they were available online or on cable video-on-demand services at the same time as they are available in theaters. The post from BTIG’s Richard Greenfield (free registration required to view) details three different surveys conducted over the last few weeks, which asked respondents to forecast their theatrical and home entertainment spending if windows were to collapse.

All of the surveys leveraged Survey Monkey to poll respondents, but the most complete of the three polled the Survey Monkey Audience (SMA) network, racking up 1,124 responses. About 70 percent of respondents from the SMA survey said their spending on entertainment wouldn’t change if priced in the $20-$25 range. But while the majority of users predict no change, the number who say they would spend more outnumber those who predict they would spend less by three to one.

According to Greenfield, that group appeared to be price-sensitive and more likely representative of today’s average consumer that respondents from the other surveys. Those who expected to spend more would be doing so because they saw cost savings from concessions and parking outweighing the difference in price and convenience of watching at home. In addition, some respondents suggested that they were unhappy with the current moviegoing experience.

In aggregate, the survey shows that Hollywood studios would likely make more revenue with the collapse of movie windows. More importantly, those sales would come with better margins since they wouldn’t be sharing with exhibitors. The fear seems to be that putting pressure on the theatrical window could cause some exhibitors to go out of business, which would in turn destroy that distribution channel.

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