Highly Caffeinated Sofa Dwellers - Consumer Behaviour in Event Cinema Audiences


Our friends at the Event Cinema Association invited us to speak at their 2019 Slate Day on 17th Jan, so we decided to take a look at a new audience of us - the event cinema audience, specifically how they are behaving outside the cinema environment. 

So do event cinema audiences differ in their behaviour vs a theatrical release? To an extent, yes. 

We see a lot of theatrical cinema goers making a shopping trip immediately before or after seeing the movie.  They also tend to visit quick service restaurant locations such as McDonalds and KFC.

However this behaviour is quite different for event cinema visitors.  Firstly we see much less shopping activity.  Visits to QSR are replaced by visits to coffee shops, with Starbucks being far more popular than Nero or Costa.  It feels like a more sophisticated crowd.

We almost never see an event cinema visitor go to the supermarket before the cinema, which is very different to audiences going to see tent pole theatrical releases (Check out our recent blog on this topic)

Interestingly, event cinema visitors are three times more likely to visit pub the same evening as their cinema visit.

So once we looked at event cinema overall as a genre, we decided to look closer at genres within event cinema to see if there were any differences within the audiences.

The first genre we looked at was dramatic theatre - so Shakespeare, National Theatre Live and the like.

If event cinema visitors are more sophisticated overall, you would think those seeing dramatic theatre are the elite. 

Apparently not.  The biggest difference to the general event cinema visitor is their apparent love for McDonalds, and to a lesser degree Pizza Express. 

Let’s contrast this with opera, another supposed highbrow genre. 
Met Opera 18-19 - Adriana Lecouvreur
courtesy of Trafalgar Releasing

Is there something about a persons coffee preference that defines their artistic preference? Who knows, but we do know that opera fans prefer Nero to Starbucks. Costa is a distant third.  Maybe opera audiences need to stay caffeinated for the 3 hour performances?

Whilst they don’t dramatically shop more, when they do we see them shop, we see a real lean towards female fashion.

Ok, so we don’t want to bust any pre-conceived notions about ballet fans, but they *love* fast food more than any other event cinema genre. And coffee.  A strange hybrid of highly caffeinated sofa dwellers.

Underlining their couch potato persona is their love for Iceland over and above any other supermarket chain.  Who knew? One can only assume it’s for the oven chips.

And finally, musical theatre - this has been really popular this year, so this is an interesting one to look at.

The King And I at the London Palladium
courtesy of Trafalgar Releasing
Musical theatre shows a real leaning towards a female audience, with female fashion being the leading retail locations.  H&M take pole position, indicating a younger audience, with Next following a close second.

None of the audiences we looked at really matched expectations - in fact, most of them were full of surprises. The overall take away from this look into event cinema is that no audience should be pigeon-holed - behavioural insights can help identify new and often unexpected audiences. 

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