Majority Of Moviegoers Will Return To Cinemas If COVID-19 Safety Guidelines Are In Place, EDO Survey Finds

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EXCLUSIVE: Good news for big circuits AMC, Regal and Cinemark and other movie theaters which are hoping to return to business in the late June to early July period: In an updated EDO moviegoer study entitled “Movie Theaters and Social Distancing”, 75% respondents said that they were more likely to return to cinemas upon their reopening when Tenet, Mulan and Russell Crowe’s Unhinged hits, that is should movie theaters implement certain safety measures.

EDO survey says majority of moviegoers headed back with COVID-19 safety measures

What cinema safety protocols would encourage moviegoers to head back quicker? 91% said that theaters should have hand sanitizer stations throughout the building, while 86% are in favor of limited showtimes to allow for extended cleaning times between shows. Other factors encouraging the moviegoing population to come back include cinema employees wearing facemasks (77%), employees getting their temperatures checked before work (~70%) and attendees also wearing facemasks (~70%). Interesting: Just under 60% were open to having their temperatures taken when they return to the cinema while around 5% believe no safety measures should be implemented.

What’s key to note in the latest survey from EDO is that when respondents were initially polled, they were outright asked if they’d return to cinemas. Those responses drew a near split reaction between likely (40%) and unlikely (36%). However, the rate of respondents who said that they were likely to return to theaters increased significantly from 40% to 75% with the implementation of their desired safety measures above. Eighty percent of the EDO sample said that the ability to RSVP seats was also a positive factor contributing to their decision to head back to the cinema.

EDO Survey -- What safety measures moviegoers want to see upon return during COVID-19

Other takeaways from the new survey: In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, respondents still click on the same streaming service that they’ve been watching since before the crisis, and that’s Netflix by a wide lead of 50%. Those who head to cable/satellite/broadcast TV first polled around 15%, Hulu at less than 15%, Amazon Prime at 10%, and Disney+ at less than 10%.

Also in the wake of Universal’s PVOD disruption with the $100M grossing Trolls World Tour, and more titles like Warner Bros.’ Scoob this weekend and Uni’s The King of Staten Island on June 12, is PVOD a big deal with at-home consumers? Especially with all the streaming subscriptions they have? Close to 35% answered they never browse PVOD menus, while 29% said they occasionally browse, while 26% only go to the PVOD menu looking for a specific movie, while 11% said they often look through PVOD options.

As we told you earlier this week, NATO New York is lobbying the state to place movie theaters in the phase 3 reopening with restaurants, given how their layout and staggered attendance is significantly different from Broadway theaters, which are scheduled for phase 4 and may not reopen until January 2021. In order for these big event movies to happen, not only do New York and Los Angeles have to be open, but a majority of the world’s theaters as well. NYC currently counts 190K COVID-19 cases, repping 2% of its population while Los Angeles has 35K or under 1% of its population per recent reported stats.

In this recent survey, EDO polled a sample of 3,269 respondents who skewed female with 40% under the age of 35. A large portion of the sample were regular moviegoers with 95% having seen at least two movies in theaters during a typical six-month span. Diversity breakdown of those polled were 45% Caucasian, 27% Latinx, 13% African American, 9% Asian and 6% other. Over half of those polled had completed college with annual income uniform across the sample. Nearly the entire group said that they were at least somewhat concerned about the coronavirus pandemic.

EDO is backed by three-time Oscar-nominated actor Edward Norton. The firm has been making waves in the movie-testing sector with their digital polling versus the industry’s standard pencil and paper. The polling has yielded more insightful research for those studios that have used the technology.

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