By Nefeli Markou (A Class)
A sharp decline in the number of cinema audiences was observed in a recent survey conducted by post-graduate students at the University of Kent. More specifically, 35% fewer viewers went to the cinemas which are scattered over the nation. The students attributed the dwindling numbers to a variety of factors, which emerged during the interviews with frequent cinema-goers.
The most prominent factor, according to the survey, was the existing recession currently affecting the whole population. The price of the tickets was mentioned by the vast majority of the participants in the survey as being the main reason why they reduced their visits to the cinemas. They consider the ticket to be more expensive than what the average person can afford. On top of that, things are definitely worse for families with children, who view the total cost of tickets as being “far beyond their means” as many family men quoted.
The second contributory factor was the expansion of the Internet. The wide range of movies available for downloading or viewing “at the click of a button” was quoted by many people as the reason why they prefer to enjoy the comforts and conveniences of their own homes rather than the big screen. It is also worth mentioning that those questioned were undeterred by the fact that such practices may be illegal and they could encounter problems with the law.
Last but not least, there was a small but significant number of participants who referred to low quality of the films that are being produced lately. They support that the current blockbusters and the domination of Hollywood productions are the main culprits for ever-decreasing quality in the film industry. This argument is supported by the fact that many European productions, which used to be regarded as artistic ones, fail to reach the cinemas.
All the above issues are not without consequences in many fields of the economy.
To begin with, the government loses significant sums of revenue due to tax evasion which derives from illegal downloading. Were the viewers to watch these films at cinemas, they would buy tickets which would bring some money to the state through taxation. On the other hand, the illegal practices do not bring the expected gains to the state.
The second problem which arises from the fewer tickets is the shrinking of the
cinema industry. As a result, fewer productions are made year by year and those which make it to the cinema are rarely profitable. This has dire side-effects in the number of people that are employed in the industry. On a daily basis actors,
technicians, script writers and many more are made redundant because they cannot find a film to work on. To make matters worse, these people are highly likely to remain unemployed for a very long time since they cannot find work in a different sector.
To conclude, times are changing and it is almost impossible to stem the tide of these changes. The nature of entertainment is in a changing phase and if those involved in it do not comply with the new norms that the changes bring, they are bound to experience hardships.