Hard-core movie patrons offer reasons why they go

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LAS VEGAS -- It's a good time to be a theater owner. America's most avid moviegoers are encouraged by the upcoming movies and are willing to spend their discretionary funds on a trip to the theater, according to a new study by Nielsen NRG.

NRG, in a partnership with MovieTickets.com, presented its findings Thursday at ShoWest, detailing a survey conducted with 3,000 avid moviegoers -- those who go to the theater more than 11 times in a year. In the findings, which this year included more teens and Latinos, NRG found a renewed sense of optimism in moviegoers.

Avid moviegoers seem to be going to the theater for three reasons: their lifestyle has allowed them more free time and money to see films; the quality of films has improved; and movie theaters have gotten better.

In the survey, though, 26% of moviegoers said they planned to go to the theaters less frequently in 2007 for the same reasons the rest of the surveyed members are going more: lifestyle changes, movie choices and cost associated with the films.

The primary reason moviegoers choose a film is based on a friend's recommendation, providing encouragement to film promoters who spend a lot of resources on aggressive screening programs. Trailers and television ads also drive people to theaters.

Nielsen NRG executive vp Ray Ydoyaga said among all moviegoers, television advertising is rated higher than trailers. But for avid moviegoers, those trends are reversed, leading to the conclusion that the heavy moviegoers are exposed to trailers more and also are more likely to watch them online.

For most avid moviegoers, reviews rate fourth among the factors that influence them in choosing a particular film.

Other findings in the study centered on in-theater advertising, which was found to be less offensive to moviegoers in 2006, particularly among teens.

Other factors influenced the decision to go to a particular theater. Cleanliness rated highest, while digital projection also was a lure.

"Most moviegoers don't really know what it is, but they think it sounds sexy," Ydoyaga said.

NRG is owned by Nielsen Co., parent company of The Hollywood Reporter.
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