Korean Film Council: prices don't deter audiences

70% of consumers continue movie-going despite price increase

SEOUL -- Movie ticket prices are expensive, but that won't discourage local audiences from watching films in cinemas, says a consumer report by the Korean Film Council.

In its "2009 Film Consumer's Investigation," the Korean Film Council reports that an average movie ticket costs 5,600 won ($4.94), about 70% of the actual cost of 8,000 won. Nevertheless, about 18.5% of Korean audiences said watching a film in a theater is "the most satisfying" choice of entertainment among other options, such as traveling, shopping, dining or going to a gallery. Reportedly, 66% said they'll continue watching as many films as last year. The nationwide report was based on an opinion poll of 2,000 respondents ranging in age from 15 to 49.

About 79.6% of Korean consumers said the current ticket price is expensive. About 55.5% of respondents said 3,000 won -- the average cost of download service for recent movies here -- was high, and preferred the price be lowered to 1,462 won. Separately, about 55.5% said an unlimited download service of 10,000 won a month was appropriate.

Up to 70.1% of consumers said they continued watching films in cinemas since the ticket price was raised in June. Only 29.9% said they stopped going to cinemas. Among the audiences who continued going to theaters, 21.7% said they took advantage of various discount rates by multiplex chains and their partner companies.

Concerning 3D films, 34.9% of audiences said the biggest advantage of 3D was to experience the "new expression of the medium," and 30.6% said the films represented "high-quality visuals." But 29.4% said the cost is overpriced considering the film quality while others complained about the inconveniences of wearing goggles and nausea.

Action films were among the most popular genre for movies people watched in theaters in the last five years, the report said. Scifi, fantasy and martial arts genres rose in popularity while romance dropped.

"Such results show that more audiences prefer an 'active' genre that stresses on scale and spectacle when they watch films in cinema, whether or not the films present special visual effects," said Han Seung-hee, a researcher at the the Korean Film Council.