12 FEB 2024

Scanning the maple leaf: the health of the film industry in Canada

Canada commissioned a study aimed at exploring the current state of feature film consumption, with the goal of providing an understanding of overall consumption patterns, sources of information, the decision-making process, genre preferences, barriers to watching more movies, theatrical moviegoing habits, and perceptions of Canadian content.

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The Canadian government institute Telefilm Canada commissioned the U.S. consulting company ERm Research to conduct a study aimed at exploring the current state of feature film consumption and segmenting movie consumers into distinct clusters. The goal was to provide an understanding of overall consumption patterns, sources of information, the decision-making process, genre preferences, barriers to watching more movies, theatrical moviegoing habits, and perceptions of Canadian content. The survey conducted in English and French covered 2,200 qualified feature film consumers, and the available data corresponds to October 2023.

Let's review some of its main findings. The first aspect is the overall consumption of films. In general, 95% of Canadians are watching feature films in some form. Although there is a strong interest in attending theaters, various factors are preventing movie watchers from going to theaters more frequently, such as cost, the type of content being shown, and the extensive range of content available at home. Currently, 98% of feature film consumption is taking place at home, with streaming services and broadcast TV meeting the entertainment needs of movie watchers.

The distinction between moviegoers and non-moviegoers is subtle and indicates a high overall level of consumption. The most frequent theatrical moviegoers also watch the most movies at home, averaging 1.8 movies per week. However, moderate moviegoers and non-moviegoers still watch around 1.5 movies per week at home. 

There are marked variations in consumption patterns among different generations and based on the urban or rural origins of viewers. High spectacle genres are the preferred attractions for cinemas, especially among younger moviegoers. In contrast, many older and more rural consumers predominantly watch their movies at home.

On the other hand, the use of streaming services is extensive: 89% of surveyed movie watchers utilize at least one streaming service, with the majority using multiple platforms. Thirty-six percent note that the wide variety of movies available at home constrains their frequency of attending theaters.  Regarding the most used services, Netflix dominates the streaming market, followed by Amazon Prime and Disney+. Both Netflix and Disney+ are more popular among those aged 18–34. Women are more likely to use Noovo, ici.tou.tv, Club Illico, and Télé-Québec.

The study indicates that there are variations in the devices used for watching and this appears to be related to the age and gender of the viewers.Most streaming occurs using a TV,  around a fifth stream in 4K or UHD formats (more for men) or on a laptop (skewing to those under 35). Streaming via phone or using a tablet is less common, but peaks for those under 25.

Finally, how are genres divided by gender and age? Men are more inclined to watch action, sci-fi, and documentary films, whereas women show a higher preference for dramas and family movies. Interest in dramas tends to be higher among older individuals (55+), while horror is more popular among consumers under 35.

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