NAB 2018: Post-Millennial/Gen Z Survey on Cinema, TV, VR

If you want to know what’s on the mind of a post-millennial, the best person to ask is a member of that demographic. At NAB 2018, a 15-year-old high school sophomore did even better than that, presenting the results of her own survey of over 200 members of her age group. Based on a family conversation (that included her father, industry consultant Pete Ludé), Helen Ludé, a student at Lowell High School in San Francisco, decided to poll her friends on cinema attendance, home consumption habits and virtual reality. 

The self-conducted survey (created through Survey Monkey) includes the results from 211 participants from the San Francisco high school community, Crimson Education Network, Digital Media Academy, the SMPTE community and Ludé’s personal connections in bluegrass music, her hobby. It included respondents from Germany, France, the U.K. and Canada in addition to several parts of the U.S. Most were 15 and 16 year olds, but the full sampling ranged from 13 years old to 18 years old.

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The average teenager watched 0.9 movies a month, revealed Ludé. Although most observers see teenagers as glued to their phones, when they go to the movies, they put their phones away, she added. The two top reasons they will leave the house to go to the movies is the movie itself (54 percent) and social interaction. They choose theaters based on a big screen (53 percent) and theater location (46 percent), as well as better picture quality than at home (44 percent).

As might be expected with teenagers, ticket price does matter (55 percent). Only 43 percent of teens would choose a 3D movie over a 2D version for $1 more in ticket price, but that percentage rose to 56 percent if the 3D didn’t require glasses. The No. 1 thing that cinemas could do to drive more attendance among teens is related to price, with teens suggesting more promotions and special school nights in addition to cheaper ticket prices.

Teens also wanted more/different content (such as indie films), comfort and cleanliness and healthier food options. Despite the importance of cost for teens, 80 percent of them didn’t belong to any theater chain’s rewards/loyalty program and only 5 percent had MoviePass.

At home teens are consuming an average of 2.2 hours per day on TV and movies, with two-thirds of them watching on a mobile device. What are they watching? Netflix and YouTube were the most cited content destinations. Sixty percent of teens have tried virtual reality. Of that number, 21 percent have it at home, 34 percent have tried it at a friend’s house and 40 percent have tried it in a public space.

The most popular VR content was short stories that are interactive and simulator games. Forty-six percent of the respondents said they were interested in buying VR hardware/software in the future.