newspapers that were experiencing declining audiences and readership. Now, it
appears it’s movies exhibited in public theaters.
Movies join newspapers as a traditional medium experiencing decline, at least movies viewed in public theaters. John Dvorak of PC Magazine writes about the changing demographics and declining attendance at public exhibitions.
Movies are in a slump in 2005, according to several reports, one of which is here: Atlanta business journal.
What’s intriguing is whether this represents a long-term lifestyle change or a temporary slump. If this drop in attendance is a corollary to people staying home and watching movies on DVD, then it means people are making a change in practices, probably related to higher costs for gasoline and tickets. I don’t have any information that this is the case, but it isn’t far-fetched speculation.
A recent study, reported in the New York Times says young men 13 to 25 are doing other things like playing video games, watching movies at home on DVDs and text messaging.
Others are speculating that it’s the poor quality of movies today, while others say the close proximity of DVD releases to movies showing in theaters devalues the public experience.
Some theories question why movie attendance would drop in this economic climate and cite high movie attendance during the Great Depression as evidence that in economic downturns people go to the movies. However, movies were relatively cheap entertainment and they had no significant competition in those days, so I don’t think the analogy holds up despite what the industry is saying about prices increasing at a lower rate than other forms of entertainment.
Dvorak says there is a basic change taking place and the movie industry is ignoring it. Many independent producers are moving to the web and they are actually producing for the small screen. Advertisers are working on ways to confound us with advertising on the web just as they do in the theater. Some things never change.
Never the less, convergence toward a web-based central entertainment and information technology continues without slowing.