SOURCE: MarketCast

July 11, 2005 15:27 ET

Moviegoers Not as Divided on Morality as National Political Debate Implies

BEVERLY HILLS, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- July 11, 2005 -- A MarketCast study of 1000 adults ages 17-54 illustrates surprising similarity between the religious and the non-religious when it comes to overall entertainment consumption and sentiments. The research was presented at the iMedia-Variety Integrate '05 conference, Marketing to the New Entertainment Consumer, by MarketCast VP/General Manager Henry Shapiro, President Joseph Helfgot and Managing Director Karen Hermelin.

The study confirmed that wide opinion gaps do exist between the very religious and the non-religious on many social and political topics, such as abortion, gay marriage and federal funding for stem cell research; but differences were only slight when it came to actual entertainment consumption -- like frequency of going to the movies, renting and buying DVDs, and watching television -- and when it came to personal satisfaction with the movie-going experience. In summarizing the findings, MarketCast's Shapiro noted, "Most people, even the most religious, are satisfied with their movie-going. Across the spectrum of religiosity, movie-goers like what they see, they feel there's plenty that appeals to them, and they go to the movies at fairly equal rates."

While the research showed that religious people go to the movies just as much as non-religious people, MarketCast did report differences at the individual level, especially for the most provocative class of movies: those rated "R" by the MPAA. Survey respondents were asked whether or not they had seen each of twelve movies, all of which were rated "R" by the MPAA, half for sexual themes, and the other half for violent themes. Each six-movie group represented the same aggregate box office revenue, in order to control for popularity. Findings are summarized below:

--  Sex sells more than violence. The sexy "R" movies were more
    pervasively viewed than the violent "R" movies. This pattern held for the
    religious and non-religious alike.
--  Religious people see "R" movies less than non-religious people, but
    they still go. A quarter of the very religious had seen at least one of the
    movies rated "R" for sexual content, and 19% of them had seen at least one
    of the violent "R" movies. Comparable statistics for the non-religious were
    higher, but not by much: 33% had seen at least one of the movies rated "R"
    for sex, and 28% had seen at least one rated "R" for violence.
--  The more conservative people are in their religious beliefs, the more
    likely they are to see violent "R"-rated movies. Among religious
    conservatives (those who say they are "conservative" or "fundamentalist" in
    their religious beliefs), 29% had seen at least one of the violent "R"
    movies, versus only 18% of those who say they are more liberal in their
    religious beliefs. The most conservative were not that different from the
    general population in their acceptance of sexual content.
--  Men are from Mars and Venus; women are only from Venus. Men enjoy
    movies rated "R" for sexual content at equal rates as those rated "R" for
    violence, but women greatly prefer movies with sexual themes to those with
    violent themes. Women are also slightly more likely than men to have seen
    the movies that received the "R" rating for sexual content.
Some of MarketCast's findings stand in sharp contrast to recent media reports on the growth of complaints to the FCC regarding entertainment decency and morality. Such complaints have mushroomed, from just 111 in 2000 to more than 1 million in 2004. The MarketCast study showed that:
--  Nine of ten adults enjoy their movie-going experience;
--  Only a small minority -- less than 10% -- think people should not have
    the right to see whatever they want; and
--  Three-quarters say they don't put a moral value on movies, but see
    them just for entertainment purposes.
The religious and non-religious are within ten points of each other with respect to the first two issues, and within 25 points on the third.

About MarketCast

MarketCast is a leading provider of marketing research for motion picture studios, production companies, film exhibitors, and television networks. MarketCast services support marketing strategy at every point in the lifecycle of an entertainment project, from early positioning through international and post-theatrical release windows. These services include brand and segmentation studies, advertising testing, recruited screenings and focus groups, tracking studies, home video sales forecasts, and a host of custom capabilities. For more information go to

About iMedia Communications

iMedia Communications, Inc. is a leading trade publisher and event producer serving interactive media and marketing industries. With its daily newsletter, market intelligence iMedia Reports, iMedia Video Magazine and quarterly Summits, iMedia is a trusted first stop for interactive marketers the world over. The company was founded in September of 2001 and is a closely held corporation based in Dana Point, California.

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