Ask the Audience! New monthly column examines what’s on moviegoers’ minds

Ask the Audience

Like any business, movie theatres are most successful when they understand what their patrons want. By pinpointing moviegoers’ likes, dislikes and habits on everything from concessions to seating options, theatres, studios and suppliers can ensure that they are providing the best possible experience for these customers. But how can you find out what they’re really thinking? Well, now you can Ask the Audience!

Ask the Audience is a new monthly feature from Film Journal International and National CineMedia (NCM) that allows you to ask an audience of 5,000 frequent moviegoers the pressing questions of our industry.  

These moviegoers are members of NCM’s exclusive Behind the Screens community of movie fans, and the panel is comprised of people of all ages, with over 80% falling into the Millennial and Gen X generations, and from all over the country. Almost all are avid movie fans, with over 50% of the community heading to theatres at least once a week and a whopping 97% going at least once a month. NCM has been asking them questions since 2015 and they have proven to be an incredible resource, answering everything from “Are 3D movies an improved experience?” to “Have you ever dressed up as a movie character for Halloween?” (42% have.) Questions can go out to all 5,000 fans, or the data can be collected within a specific category. We can slice and dice gender, geographical location, generation, household income, shoe size...whatever you need. The strength of the panel is not only their passion for the moviegoing experience, but our flexibility in surveying them.

When you Ask the Audience, you have access to honest consumer feedback, which can lead to more informed business decisions in the future. For example, 56% of our Behind the Screens panelists say that they currently spend five minutes or less in the lobby. However, 65% agree that they would spend more time hanging out before or after the movie if the theatre offered amenities such as bars, Wi-Fi areas or VR lounges. So moviegoers are open to spending more time (and money) with you, but would like to see changes to the experience that incorporate more entertainment options. Good to know!

So we invite you to Ask the Audience anything that’s on your mind. How do moviegoers feel about reserved seating? Do they prefer dine-in theatres to more traditional theatres? What items would they like to see added to concession offerings? The future topics of this column are only limited by your imagination. NCM and Film Journal International want to arm you with all the data you need to make smart, effective choices for your business.

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To submit a question, e-mail with your name, theatre or company, contact information, and what you would like to ask the Behind the Screens panel.