Los Angeles, CA. October 18, 2017
As media habits continue to evolve, and consumers are becoming harder to reach with traditional linear advertising, content producers and distributors are adapting to a new landscape. In the spring of 2017, YouTube partnered with MarketCast to understand how online video viewing impacts theatrical and home entertainment behavior.
YouTube commissioned MarketCast to conduct a quantitative research study among general moviegoers. The goal was to explore how engagement with movie-related content on YouTube affects movie awareness and consideration, and how the quality of entertainment content on YouTube channels from movie studios impacts the performance of the movies associated with those brands.
Online interviews were conducted in April 2017 with a nationally representative sample of 2,000 general moviegoers (those who had seen at least one movie in a theater in the past year), between the ages of 13 and 54.
Moviegoers were segmented based on how much movie-related video content they consume on YouTube, looking at a range of content types (including, but not limited to trailers, behind-the-scenes featurettes, cast/crew interviews, fan reviews/commentaries and recaps). Respondents were assigned points based on how frequently they watch each type of movie-related video content. The segments we identified were:
a. Avid YouTube Movie Fans, which includes both Heavy Fans (those with 16+ points) and Moderate Fans (with 5-15 points). The baseline of engagement for this group is watching some type of movie-related content on YouTube at least five times a week.
b. Light YouTube Movie Fans, who watch movie-related content on YouTube, but less than five times a week.
c. Non-YouTube Movie Fans, moviegoers who may or may not use YouTube, but are typically not using it for movie-related content (0 points).
Avid and Engaged Consumers
The ‘Avid YouTube Movie Fans’ are studios’ most active and urgent moviegoers. ‘Avid YouTube Movie Fans’ saw 2x as many movies in theaters in the past year as ‘Non-YouTube Movie Fans,’ with ‘Heavy YouTube Movie Fans’ seeing more than 1 movie per month (12.4 movies per year) and ‘Moderate YouTube Movie Fans’ seeing 9.3 movies per year (compared to 5.6 for the ‘Non-YouTube Movie Fans’).
They have higher awareness and enthusiasm for blockbusters and niche movies alike. Furthermore, ‘Avid YouTube Movie Fans’ can help drive opening weekend box office results. Not only are they more intent to see upcoming movies, they are more likely to turn out on opening weekend – reporting 3.4x as likely as ‘Non-YouTube Movie Fans’ to see movies on opening weekend.
In addition to being active moviegoers, ‘Avid YouTube Movie Fans’ put more effort into seeking out information online, from watching trailers to reading reviews, and they also tend to be the ones in their social and family circles whom others turn to for movie information and recommendations. They are 4.2x as likely as ‘Non-YouTube Movie
Fans’ to say they read film reviews and visit movie websites. ‘Avid YouTube Movie Fans’ are 3.2x as likely as ‘Non-YouTube Movie Fans’ to say they have recommended recent movies to friends or family, and 2.2x as likely to often or always talk to friends and family about a movie before seeing it. They can spread the word and help boost visibility for a movie, especially for movies on the cusp of critical acclaim and for those trying to distinguish themselves from the competition.
Value Beyond the Box Office
The value of ‘Avid YouTube Movie’ fans extends beyond theater tickets. ‘Avid YouTube Movie Fans’ are more willing to pay to enhance their moviegoing experience—beyond just buying popcorn, they’re watching on next generation formats (they are 6x as likely to see movies in IMAX or 3D and 9.9x as likely to pay for a special format like 4DX) and upgrading the typical experience with premium seating/dining options. They are also 7.4x as likely to pay more to see movies at peak times.
‘Avid YouTube Movie Fans’ also pay to watch movies on home entertainment more frequently, and report purchasing or renting more movies in the past year than ‘Non-YouTube Movie Fans’—including 2.3x as many movies on DVD/Blu-ray, 4.5x as many via On Demand through cable, and 3.1x as many via digital download.
Not All Studio Content Channels Are Created Alike
Many movie studios use YouTube channels as a convenient place to release materials (trailers, but also supplemental videos going behind-the-scenes, music videos, deleted scenes, and more). People can view content on these channels without subscribing, or can subscribe to the channel’s feed to be notified when new material is posted. As part of this study, MarketCast had consumers evaluate ten of the top entertainment branded YouTube channels.
Those who subscribe to movie-related YouTube channels are especially active moviegoers, seeing nearly 2x as many movies in a theater as moviegoers in general, and these subscribers are 1.9x as likely as general moviegoers to say they would see movies related to the channel(s) they subscribe to opening weekend.
Channels that are organized around the content (such as a specific franchise or movie brand), rather than a larger corporate umbrella, are more enjoyed. In that sense, more is not always better. Separate branded channels focused on a particular franchise or genre can do more to build consumer loyalty.
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 We asked about 35 current or recent titles and 27 upcoming titles and analyzed awareness, viewership (for released titles) and interest in seeing those movies in a theater by YouTube Movie Content usage segments.
 The channels with the top scores for “very enjoyable” are all associated with a specific brand or content universe, and outscore more general studio channels on this metric by more than 15 points.