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Theater or SVOD? Consumers Evenly Split on Where They Want to Watch Big Movies

AMC Theatres
(Image credit: AMC Theatres)

As WarnerMedia and its CEO, Jason Kilar, continue to take heat for their decision to dispense with theatrical windowing and premiere major movie titles directly on HBO Max, Parks Associates has published a timely survey.

According to the research company, 25% of U.S. broadband households now prefer to watch new movies on a subscription streaming service, while 24% still prefer to see these films in a theater. 

Parks said 11% would prefer to watch first-run movies in the traditional transactional home video window, while 10% want to view them as part their pay TV service's VOD offering.  And 30% of U.S. broadband homes have no preference.

"COVID-19 has upended the traditional content-windowing process, and consumer research shows this paradigm shift is impacting consumer attitudes," said Steve Nason, research director for Parks Associates, in a statement. "An OTT source scores higher than movie theaters when consumers report their preferences for first-run movies. This shift might be temporary, and nearly 30% have no preference for how to watch a new movie, which gives theaters a glimmer of hope they can eventually gain back some audience for first-run titles.”

Parks Associates is conducting its three-day “Future of Video: OTT, Pay TV and Digital Media” event starting today. The windowing topic will almost certainly emerge in Monday’s “New Trends in Video” discussion.