Ask the Audience: Supplemental Theatre Services

Ask the Audience

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

When it comes to finding showtimes and purchasing tickets, movie audiences have an almost overwhelming number of options. From in-person at the box office to clicking through the latest app, there are countless ways for an audience member to begin their movie experience. So which method is most popular, and how much competition are you facing from outside companies? Let’s ask the audience.

First, we’ve got some good news – 47% use their local theatre’s website or app to find showtimes and other movie information, such as rating or run time. That’s encouraging, and a sign that you should continue to make your digital presence a priority as you develop your business, since many people will use it as a resource if it’s available. Third party websites were the second most popular option for finding showtimes and other information, with 34% saying they rely on outside companies. Of those sites, Fandango was the most commonly used, followed by IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes. Interestingly, Millennials were 89% more likely to list Atom Tickets or MoviePass than their older counterparts. Finally, 12% used a search engine such as Google to find the information they were looking for.

When it came time to purchase their tickets, our panelists revealed they’re still somewhat traditional and often head to the theatre in person. 42% purchased them at the ticket window, and another 12% used the self-service kiosks in the lobby. Somewhat unsurprisingly, Millennials were more likely than older generations to use the kiosks (got to love that fear of human interaction!). When asked why they would opt to purchase in-person rather than digitally, 47% of the respondents said it was because they wanted to avoid the online convenience fee. 28% of the community purchased their tickets online, and another 17% used an app. As you’d expect, adults 44 and younger were significantly more likely to use an app than people older than 55. Among those who bought the ticket digitally, we again have good news - 57% used their theatre’s website, and 55% of those loyalists say it’s because it allows them to add to or use loyalty rewards. Of those that used a third-party site or app, Fandango was again the most popular platform.

With so many options for researching and purchasing, it can be difficult to stand out. But it seems that investing in your digital presence or partnering with a trusted vendor who can help to grow your reach would be worth the return, because many of the Behind the Screens panelists opt for their theatre’s website or app when it’s available. Being able to participate in the audiences’ moviegoing experience all the way from showtime look-up to rolling credits? That’s the dream. The very achievable dream.

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To submit a question, email with your name, company, contact information, and what you would like to ask the Behind the Screens panel.