Sunday, April 5, 2009

Hispanic Movie Viewers

Hispanics are avid movie watchers and no doubt helped the fourth installment of Fast & Furious become #1 at the box office this weekend. In 2007, Nielsen EDI estimated that Hispanics accounted for 33% of all moviegoers. That is more than double what Hispanics represent to the national population.

To understand the scale of this, Hispanics purchased 297 million movie tickets in 2007 compared to 150 million for African Americans. Hispanics also go to the movies more often purchasing 10.8 tickets per person vs. 7.9 for the general population.

The importance of Hispanics to Hollywood is clear. Given our propensity for downloading content online, it seems natural that the movie business should be catering to this audience online. Yet movies distribution on the web is still a frontier of pirated content. No studio is willing to release the grip of movies on the internet because of fear that their industry will go the way of the music business.

While certainly this is a realistic fear - Apple's itunes proved that digital content distribution can be profitable if properly managed. If movie studios don't make the first move soon on the web, no doubt tech savvy Hispanics will do the job for them and likely will choose a free content based model.

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