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Harris Poll: Americans Still Prefer Buying, Renting Discs

11 Jan, 2014 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Survey respondents would rather consume home entertainment than frequent a movie theater — a trend that rises with age

Digital distribution of movies may be on the tip of the tongue of most studio executives, but Americans would rather buy or rent a title on DVD or Blu-ray Disc, according to a new Harris Poll.

In an online survey of 2,311 adults conducted Dec. 11-17, 2013, Harris found that 47% of respondents bought discs, while 37% rented them. By comparison, 32% of respondents opted to watch movies offered on demand through their multichannel video program distributor (i.e. Starz, Encore), while 31% opted for subscription streaming (i.e. Netflix, Amazon Prime Instant Video, Hulu Plus), and 28% watched a flick recorded on the DVR.

Most respondents (60%) still prefer watching movies on live television.

The Harris Poll also found that while roughly two-thirds (68%) of U.S. adults went to the movies at least once in 2013, just about the same percent (66%) say they're going to the movies less often now than a few years ago.

When asked whether they prefer watching movies at home or in a theater, the majority say they prefer watching at home (57% total), while only two in 10 (21%) prefer watching in a theater. Indeed, 83% of “echo boomers” (born between 1977 and 1995) would rather watch movies in the theater compared with 73% of Gen Xers (1965-76); 59% of “baby boomers” (1949-64), and 44% of “matures” (before 1948).

Nearly 60% of Americans cited the sound and picture quality of a movie on the big screen for frequenting a Cineplex, while nearly half (45%) cited the experience being a short escape from everyday life. Meanwhile, concession prices (62%) and rude moviegoers (56%) are the top reasons why respondents prefer to watch movies at home.

Also, seven in 10 Americans (69%) believe 3D movies are just an excuse to charge more for tickets, and almost six in 10 (58%) said they have sneaked food into the movies.

Finally, Golden Globe nominee Tom Hanks ranks as America's favorite movie star, while fellow nominee and Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence debuts on the list in the number three spot. Denzel Washington ranks second, dropping from his top spot on last year's list.

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