Media Release: Australians care more about cinema sound over size

With ‘blockbuster season’ underway, new QUT research gleaned from a survey of 10,000 patrons reveals what audiences really want on a trip to the movies.

Preliminary findings from the largest national audience survey on Australian cinemagoing since the COVID-19 pandemic began, indicate people value how and what they hear more highly than the size of the screen and although we ask for healthy options at the candy bar, we don’t then buy them but revert to old favourites.

QUT Digital Media Research Centre (DMRC) Chief Investigators Dr Ruari Elkington and Dr Tess Van Hemert collaborated with Palace Cinemas Head of Marketing Mr Alex Moir to co-design and deliver a survey to Palace customers that attracted more than 10,000 individual responses.

“Despite the impacts of COVID, our respondents remain very optimistic about the ongoing popularity of cinema. New release films are important but many point to the overall experience as clearly appealing beyond just the films alone,” Dr Elkington said.

“With 71% of respondents over the age of 50, the research also underscores the need to foster youth audiences and cultivate successive generations of cinema goers, especially with the pandemic forced break in the habit of cinema going for many Australians.”

The survey builds upon Dr Elkington’s and Dr Van Hemert’s DMRC ‘Resilient Screens’ research project investigating how Australian independent cinemas have responded to COVID impacts and continue to maintain engagement with their audiences.

Dr Van Hemert from QUT’s School of Communication and Dr Elkington from the School of Creative Practice tapped into the audience base from Palace Cinemas’ 180 screens Australia-wide.