Advertising has had controversial value to the public. The general public’s attitude toward advertising has been increasingly negative over the years (Mittal, 1994). Advertisers continue to extend their reach from newspapers, magazines, radio, television, billboards, bus sides, taxi roofs, wheel covers, a progressive migration to the Internet and now into public paid for spaces such as movie theaters. Consumers still have the ability to “spend with their feet” and not attend movie theaters, but what effect is this intrusion having on movie sales and general satisfaction of consumers in the movie going audience? Will theater owner’s revenue gained from advertisers be offset by loss of audience due to a lack of customer satisfaction experience? It is important to do research on advertising in mass media forms because the effects of advertising are so profound and imminent. The movie industries survival and the consumer’s response to advertising are vital to the future of the movie industry, the future of movie theaters as well as for the movie-goer.


Chapter 2
Literature Review Advertising in movie theaters would seem to lowers attendance in people over age 30. Inversely, we predict that advertising is less noticeable and more interesting and “cool” to audiences 30 years of age or less due to these “younger people”, being acclimated, over a lifetime of exposure to advertising. As media usage has changed and evolved to having more viewing options, the competition for ‘eyeballs’ and a viewing audience have become more fragmented. Movie theaters have historically been a safe haven from advertising, but recently have emerged as a stronger contender for those advertising dollars. The ability for advertisers to subtly introduce more clever advertising, both static and short film length, speak of a public who is often in a restful mood and vulnerable under the auspices of ‘entertainment’ The Advent of Movie Theater Advertising Advertising’s introduction back into movie theaters is relatively recent in that it began again 2001 during the fallout of the boom and a successive stock market crash. Theater owners looking to build revenue during a time when unemployment was up and the general public had less disposable income turned to advertising on the big screen. Movie theater attendance has historically been consistent during good times and bad times as patrons flock to the movies to escape reality and be entertained under the best and worst of circumstances.


Cinema Advertising started in the early 1900's in Europe where it remains very popular today. Cinema Advertising currently makes up approximately 1% of dollars spent on advertising in Europe. Half a century ago, advertisers in the U.S. often reached customers using cinema advertising. But in the 1950's television became the advertising medium of choice. Since then, TV advertising has grown into a $60 billion dollar a year industry. But with more than 200 TV channels and invention of TIVO to zap commercials, advertisers are returning to cinema advertising. In 2003, over $350 million was spent on cinema advertising, up 37% from the previous year. Velocity Cinema Advertising was established in 1999 to help agencies and advertisers place cinema campaigns in multiple markets across the country. (Velocity, 1998 p. 1)

Some of the factors contributing to movie theater box office decline are social factors such as eroding theater environment (talking, cell phones, babies crying etc.); sacrificing long term relationships with theater-goers for the increase in short term profitability (commercials, no ushers etc.); higher quality experience elsewhere (home theater); declining quality of mainstream movies; easily available long tail content alternatives (Netflix, Blockbuster Video, Cable, TIVO etc.); price; demographics: aging baby boomers simply go out to the movies less (Goldstein, 2005 p. 1). “The Public”, and children specifically, are targeted because of their susceptibility and status as a “captive audience” once in movie theaters. "Theaters are being more aggressive in pursuing advertisers, versus being concerned about turning off customers”. The trend started nationally when companies started sponsoring movies." (Robertson, 2001). “It is generally accepted that cinema is a high-impact medium due to the largely captive and attentive audience, compounded by the size of the visual stimulus and the quality of the sound. Add to this, potentially low media and environmental clutter and distractions, as well as the audience’s


inability to do anything other than look at the screen (i.e., no “zipping” or “zapping”)” (Ewing, Foster, Du Plessis,2001 p.6). Past research has shown implications of advertising having negative health implications in four significant ways; Physical health is cited as the vulnerability to mimic good or bad social habits based on advertising influence. Emotional health can be affected by delivering media-imposed definitions of beauty, sexuality, maturity and problem-solving. Advertising also plays an influential role in other emotional issues such as instant gratification. Social health because advertising often communicates attitudes, values, beliefs and ideologies, including those of consumption, competition and materialism. Finally, it can affect our cultural health when we observe how, when, and if certain groups of people are represented or not represented in advertising messages. (Fox, 2001 p. 13) The origins and success of advertising in movie houses in Phoenix, Arizona and the successive growth of movie theater advertising in the ensuing years show an initial surge in the form of mass media advertising. Large movie theater chains picked up the idea and it has contributed $200-$300 million in revenue with a 20% growth rate. (The Business Journal, July 6, 2001). Advertising’s impact on Society The authors of these articles spoke to the concern of being deluged with advertising in every instance and space of humanities experience. The annoying and unhealthy impact is that these could turn-off and offend many viewers. Americans often feel assaulted by advertisements and commercials. There are advertisements and commercials in schools, airport lounges, doctor’s offices, movie theaters, hospitals, gas stations, elevators, convenience stores, on the Internet, on fruit, on ATM's, on garbage cans and countless other places. There are ads on beach sand and restroom walls. "I don't know if anything is sacred anymore," said Mike Swanson, who directs ad


placement for the ad agency Carmichael Lynch, when he spoke to the Associated Press. (Ruskin, 2006 p. 2) The assault of advertising intensifies virtually every day. With ad budgets skyrocketing, advertising techniques inevitably become more invasive and coercive. Advertisers are engaged in a relentless battle to claim every waking moment, and what one executive called, with chilling candor, mind share (Ruskin, 2006). Advertising through History and its development In a historical context, when Alexis de Tocqueville visited America on the 1830’s he observed “a kind of decent materialism” emerging. The debate over Capitalism and ethics began to emerge in different circles of opposing views such as the article written by Max Weber titled “The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism”, an essay focusing on Europe where Weber is quoted as saying “material goods have gained an increasing and finally an inexorable power over the lives of men as at no previous period in history.” (Schudson, 1984 p. 234) The book “Advertising, the Uneasy Persuasion – It’s Dubious Impact on American Society” differentiates the needs of people and the exploitation of consumers for marketers and advertisers gains. A critique ensues over the straw defenses put out by the advertising and marketing crowd to say that they are only giving “the people what they want” much like a drug pusher who may chide that they only sell to a clientele who already uses the drug they sell (Schudson, 1984 p. 237). The preponderance of marketing and advertising to “create motivations that propel the race of consumption” (Schudson, 1984 p. 235) come into clear focus as the science of advertising and marketing is rebuffed by arguments of fickle consumers and less than scientific


methods for targeting specific demographics by the advertising and marketing advocates. “Marketers do not actually seek to discover consumer needs as much as what is available among commercial choices (Schudson, 1984 p. 235).” Advertisers Current Standing in the Market Place Two recent surveys offer conflicting reports on moviegoers’ attitudes towards movie ads. An Arbitron survey found that two-thirds of adults and seven in 10 moviegoers between the ages of 12 and 24 “don’t mind” the ads. But an Insightexpress survey found that 52% of those surveyed found the ads intrusive, 53% said theaters should stop showing them, and 27% said showing the commercials will cause them to go to movies less frequently. Several organizations have web sites urging people to oppose movie advertising. However, we could find only anecdotal information on the increase in the number of movie trailers. There does not seem to be the same level of opposition to the showing of previews. According to the National Association of Theater Owners (NATO), the National Conference of State Legislatures, and two organizations opposed to movie advertising, no state requires movie theaters to advertise the starting time of their feature films. (Frisman, 2006) Hypothesis Question Synthesized Predicated on the information gathered on this subject, the following hypothesis is being offered: Attendance at movie theaters is being affected by advertising in the movie theaters.


Cha pte r 3
Methodology This research will attempt to show the relationship between the independent variable: advertising in movie theaters and the dependent variable, attendance of movie theaters in Marina Del Rey theaters. The primary intervening variable in this study are age, income and education background. These variables seem to be the most prominent in affecting outcomes of the research found so far. A survey questionnaire was created for a non-probability, purposive sample of 120 movie-goers in Marina Del Rey, California. Independent Variable: Dependent Variable: Intervening Variables: Advertising in Movie Theaters Attendance at Movie Theaters Gender, age, education level and income


Advertising in Movie Theaters Independent Variable

Attendance at Movie Theaters Dependent Variable

Gender, age, education level and income Intervening Variables


The illustration on the previous page shows how advertising plays a role in the decision of movie-goers to attend movies. Other variables such as gender, age, education level and income contribute to the decisions impact on movie theater attendance.

This questionnaire is completely anonymous and confidential. Please answer each question as truthfully as possible and do not leave any questions unanswered. Your time and participation are appreciated greatly for this academic study. Part I - Please Circle your Answer: 1. How many movies a month do you view in movie theaters? 1-2 3-4 5-6 7-8 9 or more

2. On average, how many advertisements or commercials would you say you are subjected to before watching a movie (please exclude previews) 1 3. 2 3 4 5 or more

What types of commercials have you seen at movie theaters? __Local job opportunities __public service messages __other

__Branding commercials

4. On a scale of 1 to 5(1=lowest, 5=highest), please rank the following as to which you perceive as advertising the most. TV__ Radio__ Internet__ Movie Theaters__ Other________________________________________________________________(Fill in) Part II - Please circle the answer that most clearly describes how you feel about the following statements according to the scale below SA=Strongly Agree A=Agree N=Neutral D=Disagree SD=Strongly Disagree


1. I hate advertisements and commercials that are shown before a movie in theaters (previews excluded). SA A N D SD 2. I will arrive late or miss part of the movie to avoid advertisements before a movie. SA A N D SD

3. Advertisements shown before movies do not affect my movie attendance. SA A N D SD

Part III - Please Circle 4. Age: 18-29 5. Gender: 6. Income: 7. Education: Some High School Post-Graduate Degree Please feel free to share any additional comments you have about this subject matter below:
The questions that comprise this research instrument have been prepared to obtain the pertinent information from a random research sample of 105 respondents to measure whether or not, within the sample, there is a belief that advertising at movie theaters affects an individual’s attendance at movie theaters in general or that particular movie theater.

30+ Male 0-$15,999 Female $16-$25-999 $26-$35,999 $36-$55,999 $56,000 & up

HS Diploma

Some College

College Grad


Distributing Your Survey by E-mail
Sending your survey by email couldn't be easier, just take the link below and copy it into your message. For best results put the link onto a line of its own to ensure that your participants email program doesn't word wrap it and cause problems.

PLEASE NOTE: If you wish to know who has taken your survey then you will have to ask them in one of your questions. Alternatively go back and select option 3 on the previous page and we will send a code to each of your participants so we know who has and hasn't completed your survey. This option is only available to 'Premium' subscribers and is not a part of either the 'Free' or 'Survey Extra' service. Click Here for more information.

Anticipated Data The table below represents projected data for a Likert statement on the survey instrument. The statement “I hate advertisements and commercials that are shown before a movie at theaters.” was cross-tabbed with age of the respondents. Since 79% of all moviegoers are age 18-49 (an overwhelming majority) 30 seemed a good middle spot to create a demarcation of differing cultural and age differences.

Table 1 “I hate advertisements and commercials that are shown before a movie in theaters.” by age group. Age Under 30 SA 10 (20%) 30 and above 20 (40%) Total 30 (30%) A 05 (10%) 20 (40%) 25 (25%) N 5 (10%) 2 (4%) 7 (7%) D 15 (30%) 5 (10%) 20 (20%) SD 15 (30%) 3 (6%) 18 (18%) Totals 50 (50%) 50 (50%) 100 (100%)


If the results were valid, it could be concluded that adults over age 30 are generally more likely to be offended by advertising in movie theatres than adults less than 30 years of age. If the data was from an actual survey, it would also imply that the younger demographic have a more accepting attitude toward advertising as a whole. Affluent viewers are popular targets for a lot of advertising, including TV advertising. Because they are bombarded by promotional messages so often and because they are more frequent purchasers, affluent consumers are likely to be more jaded in their reactions to all advertising, including TV advertising. More affluent people tend to watch television less often than less affluent people (Condry, 1989). When they do watch, presumably it is because they expect to get gratification from the programming. Those affluent viewers who anticipate enjoying TV programs are more likely to find TV advertising intrusive. Also, those affluent viewers who are more sophisticated about television advertising are more likely to be offended when it does not fulfill their expectations. H1a: Affluent viewers who find TV advertising intrusive are expected to dislike TV advertising. H1b: Affluent viewers who are offended by TV advertising are expected to dislike it more (Alwitt & Prabhaker, 1994, p. 1) . This idea would connect the results of Nielson Media Research, 1997 of audience demographics of adult moviegoers that shows that 44% are in professional managerial positions, 46% are college educated, 46% are male, 54% are female, 50% of all moviegoers are ages 18-34, 70% combine dining out with seeing a movie and 79% of all moviegoers are ages 18-49. Since education is often associated with affluence and income, the household income of the respondent survey was


Household Income $30,000 $50,000 $100,000

Moviegoers + 75% 52% 17%

% of Population 60% 35% 7%

Source: Nielson Media Research, 1997

Conclusion In summary, we find little value in advertising in general, and find it invasive and harmful in most instances. To interrupt private leisure time and at the public’s personal expense requires either a literal boycott or a “vote with their spending dollars” type voice from the consumer public. The researcher predicts this will be one of the causes of the decline in the attendance of movie viewers. Lawsuits brought against the movie industry such as Fisch vs. Loews Cineplex Entertainment Group got the attention of movie advertising executives and Loews actually complied with the request to list actual start times of movies as a first step towards appeasing the complaints of movie patrons. A 2004 online survey of 500 adult moviegoers by Insightexpress, an online market research service, reported that 53% of those surveyed said theaters should stop showing commercials, 52% said the ads are intrusive, and 27% say the showing of commercials will cause them to go to movies less frequently. This survey also found: 71% believe they should pay less for a movie if ads are shown; 18% enter the movies later to avoid the commercials; Moviegoers younger than 35 are more receptive to movie ads; and moviegoers would be more receptive to ads if they were funny, or of higher quality than conventional advertising. (Peel, 1995).


The conclusions of this study and the section referring the comparison of advertising on TV versus other media point to tolerance factors that are easily explained due to the voluntary nature of consuming advertising as opposed to being subjected to it. Other than arriving to the movie theatre late, which is difficult since theatres are reluctant to publish actual movie start times, there will be some parallels between TV viewers and movie goers and the similar feelings of being interrupted during an entertainment experience. "It is completely ludicrous to have moviegoers pay good money to watch commercials -- they can do that at home for free," said attorney Douglas Litowitz. "Moviegoers are busy people who want to see feature films at the times set forth on their tickets and in newspaper listings; to keep them in a low-level state of confusion so that they can be force fed advertisements is a breach of contract and a deceptive consumer practice. The newspaper listing and the tickets should state the actual times of the commercials, the coming attractions, and the feature film." (Nadar, 2003) According to attorney Mark Weinberg, the lawsuit strikes a blow against "commercial creep": "Our culture is already too commoditized, too commercialized, too branded, and too inundated with demands that we consume more products. The function of art is to elevate us beyond commercialism. There should be at least one place left in culture that provides a temporary reprieve from market research and manipulation." (Nadar, 2003).

References Journals


Alwitt, Linda F. & Prabhaker, Paul R. (1994, p. 1). Identifying who dislikes television advertising: Not by demographics alone. Journal of Advertising Research, 34 p. 1. Ewing, Michael T., Foster, Charles, Du Plessis, Erik (2001 p. 2). Cinema Advertising Reconsidered. Journal of Advertising Research, 41 p. 1. Mittal, B. (1994). Public assessment of TV advertising: Faint praise and harsh criticism. Journal . of Advertising Research, 34(1), p. 1 Internet Fox, R. F. (2001, November). Warning Advertising May Be Hazardous to Your Health: Ads Pose a Threat to Physical, Emotional, Social, and Cultural Well-Being. USA Today (Society for the Advancement of Education), 130, 62+. Retrieved October 1, 2006, from Questia database: UID: Password: Welcome Frisman, P. (2005). Movie Advertising and Starting Times. OLR Research Report. Retrieved November 13, 2006, from Goldstein, P. (2005) The Big Picture: Now Playing: A Glut of Ads. (L.A. Times, July 12, 2005). http/,1,35978.story (The above link is no longer accessible, but recorded for the article below as a reference within the text) Nadar, R. (2003). Opposition to On-screen Commercials. Commercial Alert Web Site Retrieved Nov. 13, 2006, from Peele, S. (1995). , Fisch v. Loews Cineplex Entertainment Group Retrieved February 23, 2003, from Robertson, A. (2001) Movies Houses Build Ad Business. The Business Journal (July 6, 2001 v21 i41 p3).Retrieved September 30, 2006 from Infotrac database: UID: Password: pxflfq2b7m Ruskin, G. (2006). Ad Creep. Retrieved November 13, 2006, from Schudson, M. (1984). Advertising, the Uneasy Persuasion: Its Dubious Impact on American


Society. New York: Basic Books. Retrieved October 1, 2006, from Questia database: Velocity Cinema Advertising (1998). The Genesis of Movie Theater Advertising Revisited, Retrieved October 5, 2007,


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