March 10, 2023
Since their inception in the early 20 th century, Hollywood and the film industry have been
major drivers of consumer pop culture. There’s no doubt that Hollywood is synonymous
with modern American culture, and as the film industry has influenced American
consumer habits, Americans were historically the biggest supporters of the industry. In
2020, though, many things changed. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, China
overtook North America as the largest box office territory in gross receipts and the rise
in Chinese and Indian cinema has challenged Hollywood’s global hegemony in the
industry. Perhaps even more important, the emergence of online streaming services
has also challenged the traditional American cinema. In this new, post-COVID cinema
landscape, film and cinema companies will only be successful if they understand
consumers’ changing tastes and the trends that will affect the industry in the years
Hollywood may have been a major force behind American consumerism, but consumer
trends have also affected how the film industry has done business and will continue to
do so in the future. Even before COVID closed down cinemas across the country, many
permanently, consumer tastes were moving away from the “in theater” movie
experience. In a 2018 study about consumers’ movie watching habits, 28% of the
respondents strongly preferred to watch movies in a theater, while those who preferred
streaming were 15%. Two years later, in June 2020, those numbers were nearly
inverted from 14% preference for the theater and 36% for streaming. Although COVID
certainly played a role in that inversion, streaming already had a large audience before
the pandemic and the trend was well underway. These numbers raise the questions:
what’s the future for the cinema industry and how does that future affect the average
An examination of current film and cinema industry trends, as well as the emergence of
streaming services, particularly day-and-day release, reveals that this new
entertainment paradigm is not so simple. The film and cinema industries will have to
adapt to new consumer tastes, while the streaming services will constantly seek to
replace empty theater seats with more downloads from the comfort of one’s home.
Ultimately, successful brands will realize that consumers want more choice and freedom
to consume movies and content in a variety of different ways, on a plethora of different
Welcome to Hollywood!
There’s no doubt that America is the home of the global film industry. The oldest and
first film studios began in Hollywood in the early 1900s, although inventor Thomas
Edison almost made West Orange, New Jersey the epicenter of the film industry in the
late 1800s. The first sound films hit cinemas in the late 1920s, and by that time a film
culture had taken hold across the country. Americans of all backgrounds, in all regions,
enjoyed spending their disposable income at movie theaters, and even after the Great
Depression hit in the 1930s, Americans continued to patronize movie theaters as a form
of escape. The emergence of affordable televisions, and television studios in the late
1950s, didn’t change Americans’ movie going habits much either, as the two forms of
media peacefully coexisted for decades, offering different niches for American
consumers. But by the 1990s new technologies began to challenge the dominance of
As computers became more affordable and the World Wide Web became accessible to
a wide percentage of the population in the 1990s, entrepreneurs began reimagining how
people watched moves. Video cassette recording (VCR) machines was the standard
consumer technology used to watch movies at home during the 1980s and most of the
1990s, but by the late 1990s digital music disk DVD (DVD) machines and streaming
was becoming more common, with the latter eventually disrupting the home
entertainment space as well as the cinema/theater. Facilitated by increased bandwidth
and affordable internet access, companies were able to offer their customers on-
demand access to movies “streamed” on-line.
Video rental company Netflix made the first leap into streaming in 2007, and by 2008 its
streamed content surged past its DVD rentals. The business model was a success, so
within a few years other notable companies – including Hulu, Amazon Prime, Apple TV,
Disney+, and HBO Max – followed with their own streaming, on-demand movie
services. Despite the phenomenal growth of streaming brands in the 2010s, though,
movie theaters continued to have the monopoly on first-releases. But the events of 2020
changed many things in the world, including how people consumed movies.
COVID and the Film Industry
Before the COVID pandemic disrupted the global film and cinema industry, streaming
services were setting the stage of things to come with day-and-date/simultaneous
releases. Simultaneous releases are films that are released in theaters and on
streaming services, simultaneously, giving both consumers and film studios more
choices. The new trend began in the 2000s with independent films and small film
studios, but greatly increased when the COVID pandemic hit in 2020. Movie theater
companies were immediately faced with a new paradigm that offered more choices to
Although consumers were forced into this new entertainment paradigm, they quickly
accepted the reality. By May 2020, 62% of US adults subscribed to at least one
streaming service. Overall, the number of Americans who subscribed to streaming
services doubled from an already large number of 125 million to about 250 million, and
perhaps more importantly, the time the average person spent streaming increased by
75%. Consumers have enjoyed the convenience of streaming and film studios have
welcomed the lower costs as well, but theater owners and companies have been hurt by
diluted box office revenue.
Consumer Bailout of American Theaters?
Despite the massive challenge posed by streaming brands and the problems of COVID,
there are some signs that the American cinema industry has rebounded and adjusted to
the new normal, which may bode well for consumers. In 2022, total cinema revenues
are expected to reach $4.4 billion, which is a 91% increase from 2020. With that said,
it’s still a 61% decrease from pre-COVID numbers. Inflation was also thought to throw a
monkey wrench in the movie theater industry’s recovery, but in the summer of 2022
visits to AMC Theatres, Regal Cinemas, and Cinemark – the “big three” of American
movie theater chains – were only down 24.9%, 15.5%, and 4.1% respectively from the
same period in June 2019. The apparent resiliency of the American movie theater
industry is the result of a combination of brand loyalty and new strategies by the movie
An initial glance at the numbers of who’s going to movie theaters today may at first
seem quite negative. Casual movie goers haven’t yet returned to the theaters, as 49%
are no longer visiting multiplexes, with some studies estimating that 8% of that number
will likely never return. The good news for theaters is that those who have returned to
the theaters are loyal, frequent movie goers who go to the cinema at least once a
month. This loyal consumer base will drive future sales, and the movie studios and
cinema chains that realize this will prosper. The evolving movie goer demographic has
already changed the content theaters are showing: big budget action films have
continued to sell well in the new paradigm, while dramas may soon be relegated to
The trend in moving watching is definitely moving toward more streaming and less
theater activity, but this doesn’t mean that new innovations or opportunities aren’t
available for entrepreneurs and consumers in the movie theater space. It’s likely that the
hybrid model of simultaneous releases will continue to grow, with loyal movie goers
keeping the cinema industry profitable. The number of movie theaters will probably
decrease, and expect to see smaller theaters, but loyalty to the concept and certain
cinema brands will ensure the industry’s survival. And as streaming brands also adjust
to this new reality, expect to see even more consumer orientated changes in those
You’ve no doubt recently watched a video on demand and noticed advertising before,
during, and after the content. This advertising, which is known as advertising-video-on-
demand (AVOD), is expected to increase dramatically in the next few years. Consumers
can pay a monthly fee to watch the content ad free, or watch it with ads as part of a
larger streaming service’s bundle. IMDb TV first launched in 2018 with AVOD content,
and although many thought it was a bad idea, by 2021 the streaming service had 55
million monthly active users and many million more who watch the brand’s AVOD
content on larger streaming services such as Amazon Prime. Overall, film and TV
consumers today enjoy the freedom to choose movie theaters or streaming, as long as
the experience is user friendly.
A recent survey about streaming and movie watching habits revealed that 55% of the
respondents chose “ease of use” for what they liked best about their favorite services.
This answer includes not just the features of streaming services, but the ability and
freedom to watch streaming content on an array of devices. Today’s movie consumers
enjoy the freedom to watch new releases in a movie theater or at home on a computer,
tablet, or even their phone. As smartphones technology improves, expect more people
to watch simultaneous releases on their phones.
The New Theater Paradigm
Some experts believed that a combination of streaming technology and the COVID
pandemic would be the death knell of the movie theater business, and although reports
of American cinema’s demise have been greatly exaggerated, the business landscape
has sure changed. The major successful studios, cinema companies, and streaming
services have realized that consumer tastes regarding movie going is evolving and the
brands that offer their customers more choices and freedoms concerning how to watch
content will be poised for success in this new entertainment paradigm.
March 9, 2023
November 2024 might seem like an eternity from now, but the puzzle pieces of the upcoming election are slowly starting to fall into place. While we wait to see exactly which candidates will end up on the ballot, what has come into sharper focus are the issues that could affect the outcome of the election. Here are 5 things that could be front and center on voters’ minds as they head to the polls next year.
When it was revealed that a Chinese spy balloon was spotted flying over several states in February and that it was part of a larger Chinese surveillance program that has been operating for several years, Americans were alarmed. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle demanded to know why it took so long to shoot the object down. Several days later, it was confirmed that the U.S. military shot down another unidentified object over Alaskan airspace.
The war in Ukraine will be another geopolitical issue on voters’ minds. While Americans continue to largely back the U.S. effort to provide security support, along with its allies, Republican lawmakers have started to express reservations about how much longer that support should continue, and some voters have followed suit.
The results of the midterm elections, which handed Democratic unexpected victories across the country, were proof that the issue of abortion was important for many voters, who were still angry by the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down Roe v. Wade. In Wisconsin, there is a race for an open seat on the state’s Supreme Court, and whoever the newly elected judge is will join the rest of the court in hearing about the state’s contested 1849 abortion law. This law allows for no exceptions for abortion, except if the life of the mother is at risk. Groups on both sides of the issue have committed to funneling money and resources into this judicial race.
Social Security & Medicare
When Florida Senator Rick Scott introduced his multi-point plan that details his ideas to sunset all federal legislation in 5 years, older voters were immediately concerned about what that meant for programs like Social Security and Medicare. Scott’s thought process is that if a law is worth keeping, Congress would just pass it again. President Biden has seized upon that messaging and has been telling voters that Social Security and Medicare would be on the chopping block, along with other entitlements. Scott has pushed back, stating that it is “dishonest” to assert that he would get rid of two programs that so many older voters rely on. This will most likely be a major part of the narrative as election season gets underway.
Led by Florida governor Ron DeSantis, Republicans have put their power behind legislation that targets members of the LGBTQ community. Gender-affirming health care, transgender high school and college athletes and drag queen shows have all been in the crossfires of GOP lawmakers. The most talked-about of this new batch of legislation is Florida’s so-called ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law, which bars elementary school teachers from teaching anything that is related to topics concerning sexual orientation and gender identity. Lawmakers in several other states are considering similar laws, as well as ones that would ban gender-affirming health care for minors.
Also on the agenda of many Republican lawmakers, including some who are rumored to be presidential hopefuls, is the topic of education. More specifically, how much choice parents should have over what their children are being taught in their classrooms. Florida governor DeSantis is again leading the way, with his administration rejecting an Advanced Placement course on African American studies.
This follows earlier discourse that arose ahead of the midterms of 2022 regarding the teaching of Critical Race Theory (CRT) in K-12 education. Even though CRT is taught primarily in graduate-level classes at universities, it has become a catch-all phrase for any teaching about race and racism in school, in general.
Read more about registered voters on the Eyes4Research blog. Eyes4Research also has everything you need to collect high-quality insights from registered voters. Our panels are comprised of B2B, B2C, and specialty audiences ready to participate in your next research project. Learn more about our registered voter panel, as well as our other specialty panels, here.
March 7, 2023
The disruption at colleges and universities during the height of the pandemic had a lasting and dramatic effect on college students. In addition to students being required to make the shift to remote learning while their campuses were closed, a recent study conducted by Montclair State University found that students at the university were profoundly affected by stress related to academic and financial issues, as well as COVID itself during lockdown in the spring of 2020. For many, these pressures led to them making the decision to take a break from their studies or drop out of college altogether.
Some high school students, who dealt with their own stressors while adjusting to a different type of school day during the pandemic, are opting to delay college or choose a different path that doesn’t include earning a college degree, at all. So what is it that is causing students to forgo college, and what are they choosing to do instead?
The Rising Cost of College
Even before the pandemic upended the lives of college students, the price of education was skyrocketing. According to the most recent College Board’s Trends in College Pricing report, private colleges increased tuition by about $7,000 on average every ten years from 1991 until the pandemic. Over the last 30 years, average private college tuition prices have nearly doubled from $19,360 in 1992 to $38,070.
The same report reveals that public universities saw a shocking tuition price increase of 158.2% from 1991 to 2021. Many universities have announced plans to increase tuition even further, citing inflationary pressures as a primary reason. Highly selective schools, such as Ivy League institutions are the least likely to be affected by a drop in enrollment because of their increased tuition price tags. Needless to say, the sticker shock of earning a college degree is causing many families to think twice about sending their students to college.
Choosing Work Over Books
While some experts still see an economic slowdown on the horizon, the job market is still strong enough that some students are choosing to earn rather than learn, at least for the time being. Some college students are taking fewer credit hours so they can work more, and others are deciding to leave their coursework behind so they can devote their time to their jobs. In fact, a report by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center found that the number of undergraduates currently enrolled is down 6.6% from two years ago– evidence that more young people are choosing to work. 31% of the students polled for the same report specifically cited the strong job market as one of the reasons that they do not plan on finishing school and want to look for a job instead.
One of the disadvantages of this decision is the fact that studies have shown that college graduates will earn nearly $1 million over the course of their careers. For students who decide to drop out of college or forgo college altogether to work, the loss of potential earnings and to some degree, career advancement limitations, could be significant.
Career and Technical Education Take Shape
Once known as vocational training, CTE programs are preparing high school students for high-paying jobs around the country. What used to look like home economics or ‘auto shop’ class, has evolved into a more specialized and sophisticated tool for education reform. Nearly 8.3 million students participated in a CTE program in 2020-2021, up from 7.5 million the previous year, according to the U.S. Department of Education.
CTE courses range from culinary arts to landscape design and prepare students for high-earning jobs straight out of high school, as well as having the added benefit of boosting graduation rates. In many school districts, these programs partner with local industries to align their course offerings with current labor market needs. Some of these programs even offer a free Associate’s degree, giving students an opportunity to complete the final two years and earn a Bachelor’s degree, if they choose to do so at a later date.
As disruptive as COVID was for students, it helped bring to light the fact that there are other options for young people who might not be quite ready for college or simply rather take some time to work and decide what they want their future to look like.
Read more about education and college students on the Eyes4Research blog. Eyes4Research also has everything you need to collect high-quality insights from college students. Our panels are comprised of B2B, B2C, and specialty audiences ready to participate in your next research project. Learn more about our college student panel, as well as our other specialty panels, here.
March 1, 2023
The number of people who consider themselves sustainable-minded consumers is on the increase, and brands have taken notice, with messaging that highlights their own attention to more environmentally-minded practices and ingredients. Recent research by IBM revealed that 77% of consumers consider sustainability and environmental responsibility to be at least “moderately important” brand values. This trend is reflected in the sales data, as sustainably-marketed products have seen growth that is five to six times higher than comparable conventional products, according to a study by Harvard Business Review. But who are these sustainable consumers and exactly which sustainability claims inspire them to buy?
Who Are Sustainable Consumers?
Overall, interest in sustainability tends to be evenly distributed between genders. And although there are other factors that also impact interest in environmental issues, like income level, geography, education level, and dietary habits (plant-based, vegan, vegetarian, etc), it is age that is the biggest difference between those who are more attuned to sustainability and those who are not.
It is younger consumers– specifically Gen Z shoppers, who tend to have an eye toward environmental concerns when making purchasing decisions. In a recent interview with CNBC, Nestlé CEO Mark Schneider described sustainability concerns among the company’s younger customers as “off the charts”, and a major influence on their purchase decisions. But Gen Z isn’t the only generation that is environmentally minded. Millennials also care deeply about these issues, even if their attitudes about other social issues temper a bit as they age. Sustainability seems to be the exception to that rule, as it remains an issue that they keep in mind when shopping for food and other products, such as clothing and pet products.
Staying on the subject of generations, it is also worth noting the influence that younger generations can have on older ones with regard to sustainability. Young people who don’t have much disposable income need to rely on their parents and maybe grandparents, in order to get what they want. Over time, this can begin to influence the decisions of those older people and have a ‘trickle upward’ effect that could leave a mark on future consumer behavior.
What Does ‘Sustainability’ Mean to Consumers?
Now that we know who the sustainable consumers are, what are the exact motivations that they have in mind when they are deciding on one product over another? Environmentally-minded shoppers want to buy products that are healthier and clean, they want to reduce their individual environmental footprint, and they want to leave behind a better planet for future generations. In a recent study on sustainability, McKinsey found that 85% of consumers buying plant-based foods are motivated by health reasons, making the case that for these shoppers, their personal health is directly tied to the health of the planet. For these consumers, sustainability and health are essentially synonymous.
With this in mind, what are the specific claims that shoppers look for when they want to trust that a product is indeed sustainable, both in the item itself and how it was produced? There are more than 20 eco-labels and environmental certifications for food in the United States. In the McKinsey study mentioned above, 33% of respondents cited ‘recyclable’ as the most impactful sustainable packaging claim that they look for when buying a new product. In the sea of eco-friendly messaging, including some that are meant to mislead consumers, as is the case with ‘greenwashing’, this finding points to the fact that shoppers want sustainability claims to be truthful, clear, and familiar.
How Brands Can Authentically Capitalize on Sustainability
In 2022, the Baker Retailing Institute at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania conducted a study that found that 90% of Gen X consumers were willing to pay 10% more for sustainable products, compared to 34% two years prior. This not only points to the influence of younger generations that was mentioned earlier, but it is also evidence that there is room for brands to look at their practices to offer more environmentally-focused products to their customers. There are three ways that brands can capitalize on the trend toward sustainability in ways that will be authentic and resonate with consumers:
Read more about consumer trends on the Eyes4Research blog. Eyes4Research also has everything you need to collect high-quality insights from consumers. Our online panels are made up of B2B, B2C, and specialty audiences ready to participate in your next research project. Learn more about our specialty online panels here.