It seems counterintuitive to me, but according to a recent study conducted by Arbitron, frequent moviegoers indicated that they preferred pre-film ads at the theater to regular television commercials. This paragraph from a Mediaweek writeup sums it up nicely:
Frequent moviegoers find commercials that air prior to movies more acceptable than ads on television, according to a new study from Arbitron. More than half of frequent moviegoers (those who attended more than five movies in the past three months), or 53 percent, find advertising before the movie acceptable compared to 46 percent who found TV ads more acceptable.One wonders if infrequent moviegoers feel differently. I could see an argument for either case (or maybe Arbitron knows but isn't telling; I haven't read the report). On the one hand, infrequent moviegoers might look at it more like a special treat, and could therefore be less tolerant of commercial interruptions during their indulgent period. On the other hand, I would think that frequent moviegoers would be more annoyed, since they're the ones who would be exposed to the most commercials.
News like this bodes well for companies like the newly-public National Cinemedia, and the in-theater advertising market is growing at an extremely fast clip right now. In 2005, the Cinema Advertising Council noted that on-screen advertising in movie theaters grew 21.1%, to $452.6 million. While still chump change compared to the budget for TV ads (which, by comparison, was $74 billion last year), it's one of the fastest growing advertising segments right now, and may have implications for other forms of out-of-home marketing.
Tags: out-of-home adverising, movie commercials, theater advertising