As cinema prices continue to rise and streaming services such as ‘Netflix’ and ‘Stan’ become increasingly affordable, it is no wonder that we are seeing a decline in the number of people that are going to the cinemas. With the option to stay within the comfort of our home and pay cheaper prices for a larger selection of movies to choose from, there is no longer an appeal to visit local cinemas.
“Film data researcher Stephen Follows” says that the future of going to the cinema is in decline as for the younger generations “it’s not very convenient for them, especially when compared with other options like streaming when you can watch movies as many time as you want, it remembers your place if you pause it and you can watch on multiple devices”.
I have always loved movies, and in the past was an avid movie goer. I would enjoy going to the movies with my friends and family to enjoy the latest films that were out. Although as I have gotten older and ticket prices have risen, I don’t see the value in going as often as I used to. This week I decided that I would give going to the cinemas another go, deciding to see ‘The Spy Who Dumped Me’, a comedy movie that stars Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon.
Geographer Torsten Hagerstand has identified “three human constraints that affect how we manage the logistics of travel to a particular place at a set time: capability – can I get there?, coupling- at the right time?, and authority – am I allowed to be there?” (Turnbull, S 2018).
Applying this theory to my recent cinema, I found that there wasn’t really any coupling constraints when it came to deciding whether or not I would see the movie. I chose to go spend some time with my mum, something I rarely am able to do as we often have conflicting schedules, but we both happened to have Saturday free.
The threat of these constraints, however came when buying tickets for the movie, as we realised just how expensive that they had gotten. Event Cinemas charges $22 for adults and $18.5 for students. For a struggling University student, these prices were certainly a reason that I had stopped coming so regularly to the cinemas, and instead have opted to use Netflix.
The authoritative constraints that are placed upon individuals is also another reason that may be impacting the decline in moviegoers as you are given individual seat numbers next to people that you cannot control. Although you are able to choose where you sit, depending on whether or not the session is busy or not, it is the people around you that can hinder the experience for those that go to the cinemas. In this circumstance, because we went on a Saturday at peak time, there was a lot of people at the cinema.
Considering this theory put forward by Hagerstand and the emergence of streaming services online, unfortunately, due to these constraints, it is having an impact on the number of people that are still going to the cinemas. Personally, after going again this week to watch a movie, I would still choose to stay home and watch Netflix as I am able to watch a large selection of movies within the comfort of my home for half the price of going to the cinemas.
- Turnbull, S (2018), Lecture, Week 4, ‘An ethnography of cinema spaces’, 16thAugust 2018