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#twothumbsup: Moviegoing at a Theater Near You

3 minute read | March 2014

In the Siskel and Ebert era, two thumbs up didn’t just mean that a movie was good. It also meant the movie was worth seeing. Times have changed, and today, movie critics—professional and self-proclaimed—are using their thumbs in other ways to influence moviegoing decisions. Through tweets, hashtags and even photos, moviegoers are broadening the in-theater experience well beyond the theater itself.

Although reviews from modern film critics may have more competition due to the rise of social media, they still have an important place in the moviegoing decision-making process. In fact, according to Nielsen’s 2013 American Moviegoing report, 41 percent of Millennials said they check the average critic rating on websites, such as Rotten Tomatoes and IMDb, before attending a movie. In addition, eight out of 10 moviegoers still refer to movie reviews at least some of the time when they’re considering what films to see.

But let’s be honest: It should come as no surprise that the art of writing and sharing movie reviews has become more organic. With the growth of social media and the Internet, being “in the know” about the latest films is an important aspect of social relevancy. Before heading to the movies, about 44 percent of moviegoers say they trust trailers as a source of information when deciding whether or not to see a film. At nearly the same level, 40 percent say they value recommendations they see posted by their friends or family on social media. And after they’ve cheered, cried or jumped out of their seats, moviegoers are turning to social media to give their own thumbs up… or down.

How Social are Moviegoers?

Moviegoing is a social experience and moviegoers are avidly connecting through social media platforms. About 81 percent of moviegoers said they used Facebook, while 34 percent used Twitter, followed by Pinterest (21%), Google+ (20%), and Instagram (18%). The report also notes that moviegoers who used Facebook liked or followed a movie 25 percent of the time and were equally as likely as Twitter users to talk about movies on social media. Facebook users are also 15 percent more likely to watch trailers or movie clips. To put Instagram and Pinterest into the picture, quite literally, moviegoers are socializing the in-theater experience through fan-created artwork, comments and selfies. In fact, 24 percent of Instagram users report using the site to post photos about a movie.

The nature of today’s consumer and the digital landscape allows moviegoers to use their social connections to instantly obtain movie information. Consider this: Twitter users who go to the movies are 25 percent more likely than all social network users to attend a movie on its opening weekend and 55 percent tweet or comment about movies regularly. Twitter users are also the most frequent moviegoers, attending about nine movies a year. Instagram users also go to a lot of movies (averaging nearly nine movies a year). They’re also the most spontaneous with regard to what they see (36% regularly choosing a movie after arriving at the theater), and they are the most vocal about their movie experiences (60% say they post comments often about movies on their social networking sites).

“As movie studios plan their marketing budgets for next year’s blockbuster movies, they should consider that most moviegoers are using social media to get their information,” said Kathy Benjamin, SVP, Nielsen National Research Group (NRG). “Taking advantage of the potential that social networks provide will be important to connect with their audiences.”

As the credits finish rolling, we’re seeing more and more moviegoers talk about their movie experiences through social media. They’re keeping the conversation going long after the movie is over. And that’s a good thing!

For more information about the report, please send an email to NielsenMoviegoingReport@nielsen.com.

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