As kids across the country are closing the book on the winter school semester, parents have a few weeks to make the most of family time without having to worry about things like homework, strict bedtimes and early mornings. There’s only so much ice skating, tree trimming and fun in the snow to be had before parents turn to media to occupy this free time. Going to the movies is a popular excursion for the entire family, and a recent report from Nielsen examines how families with children aged 6 to 11 experience the thrills of the silver screen.
Parents report that their children saw about six movies at the theater this year, with Hispanic children the most frequent moviegoers (averaging two-and-a-half more movies annually at the theater than average). Of the movies children see at the theater, they go to at least half of those movies with both parents and with one of the parents on three out of 10 occasions.
According to parents, half of the movies children see are both parent- and kid-approved (49%). Parents report that kids love animated movies more than they do themselves (92% fanship among kids compared to only 45% of parents), but appreciation for non-animated family fare is much more similar for parents and their children (51% fanship for children and 53% among parents).
When determining what movie they will let their child see, parents most often refer to the MPAA rating (64%) followed by critic reviews (44%) and the more detailed MPAA description (e.g., rated PG for crude humor and mild action; 41%).
So how do kids learn about movies? TV (95%) and movie trailers (85%) are the most prominent sources, followed closely by talking to their parents (84%) and friends (77%).
“Going to the movies is a family affair, and although parents are the ones taking their kids to the movies, the kids have a big say in the movies they want to see,” says Kathy Benjamin, SVP, Nielsen National Research Group. “Children are this market’s biggest influencers. Findings from this report show that kids are more connected digitally than ever before, so being current about how and where to connect with them is essential.”
The Nielsen Moviegoing Report is a consumer research study that was conducted primarily online, with an in-person augment to reach Spanish-dominant Hispanics. The study was conducted over three weeks starting Sept. 12, 2013, and we gathered feedback from over 3,000 people living in the U.S. aged 12 to 74 years old and from 600 children aged 6 to 11 (who were invited to participate in the survey through their parents and completed the questionnaire with parental supervision).