Latinos Make Up a Disproportionate Part of Hollywood's Key Theatergoing Audience
We've already seen that Latinos watch more streaming digital video that the general U.S. consumer. Now, the Motion Picture Association of America's newest study on moviegoers at the theater has found that Latino oversample in that arena, too.
The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) carries out an annual study of the state of movies and theater audiences, the most recent of which the organization just released this week (via NPR). The report shows that in 2013, U.S. Latinos accounted for 32 percent of "frequent moviegoers," while overall, Latinos make up 17 percent of the population. The MPAA defines frequent moviegoers as those who go to the theater to watch a movie once a month or more.
Latinos are crazy about video. The most recent Nielsen report on digital audiences in the U.S. showed that Hispanic consumers "watch more hours of video online and on their mobile phone" than the average American consumer. But now we know Latinos are leading the trend, not just streaming video at home or on the go, but in watching films on the big screen as well.
"In 2013, Hispanics continued the trend of oversampling as frequent moviegoers relative to their proportion of the population and the total number of frequent Hispanic moviegoers (11.6 million) continues to grow," states the MPAA's report. "Caucasians now account for less than 50% of frequent moviegoers and are underrepresented relative to their portion of the population." The MPAA found that Blacks represent an equal proportion of frequent moviegoers to the population, at 12 percent, and Asians and other ethnic minorities (which the MPAA groups together) made up about 7 percent of frequent moviegoers, compared to making up about 8 percent of the general population.
Frequent moviegoers are one of the most important segments of the theater audience, making up about half of the share of tickets purchased in 2013, though in total, they only make up about 11 percent of the population. "Frequent movie goers who got to the cinema once a month or more continue to drive the movie industry," says the MPAA report, though the total share of these cinephiles has declined 7 percent from 2012, as did the number of Latinos who went to movies often.
Movie Madness, Despite Underrepresentation
So why are Latinos such big theatergoers? Part of the answer can be found in comparing the MPAA's report with the fact that Latinos are more likely to own smartphones, watch digital video, and generally be "ahead of the digital curve". One of the top findings of the MPAA's report was that "frequent moviegoers tend to own more technology products than the general population." The report found, "nearly three-quarter of all frequent moviegoers," at 74 percent, "own at least four different types of technology products," compared to 51 percent of the general population. That tracks with the findings that Latinos are more likely to adopt "second screen" technology than the general population.
According to Voxxi, there are cultural precedents for Latinos going to movies more often as well. Voxxi found that, according to a 2013 Nielsen study of moviegoers, the act of going to the movies "seems to carry a particularly positive cultural significance" for Latinos, who are more likely than non-Hispanics to view a trip to the theater as a way to spend time with family and friends.
Cesar Chavez aside, it makes you wonder why -- according to a University of Southern California study of the top 100 grossing films of 2012 -- Hollywood films still lack diversity: only 4.2 percent of all speaking parts go to Hispanics.
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