SLATED Data Study Reveals Film Industry is out of Touch with Consumers, Paying Little Attention to Millenials

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Slated, the pioneering online marketplace for film, is releasing a provocative new infographic painting a picture of a cinema business out of touch with its paying public, in particular the hard-to-reach millennial generation which threatens to defect to alternative forms of entertainment.

The company’s data analysis, which takes into consideration 1,591 feature films released theatrically on at least one screen in North America between 2010-2015, reveals a troubling disconnect between the age-groups overwhelmingly favored by the film industry’s greenlighting process and the age-groups that actually perform best in the marketplace based on their films’ return on investment (ROI). 

By investing so heavily on forty-something talents, the film industry has been turning their backs on younger - and occasionally older - writers, directors, producers and actors who are more reliably profitable. 

In terms of value, youthful verve tends to trump experience despite the film industry’s preoccupation with hiring middle-age creative talents.

This generation gap is also evident when the age demographics of movie audiences are compared with those of the filmmakers and creative teams that entertain them. 

Directors, writers, producers, lead actors and supporting actors aged 40 and older accounted for two-thirds of the entire production budgets for the films released between the first quarter of 2010 and the last quarter of 2015. 

And yet, two-thirds of the tickets sold to frequent moviegoers during that that same six-year period were attributed to audiences under the age of forty.
“So many of this year’s most profitable film releases were made by younger filmmakers and yet the overall film industry still spends most of its money on those with established reputations,” Stephan Paternot, CEO of Slated, said. “As much as I revere my filmmaking idols, the underlying data suggests that an age-balanced approach would be more prudent if studios and independents want to keep their fingers on the audience pulse. This is not only better for their bottom lines, but for their long-term health as well. Fresh creative and executive voices are the future lifeblood of our industry.”
Slated’s ROI analysis by age shows that the film industry’s gatekeepers routinely miss the mark in terms of capitalizing on the ebbs and flows of film career cycles. 

Statistical analysis, however, does a much better job at anticipating those peak years and fallow periods - a correlation that underlines how data can be leveraged to stay in sync with audiences.

Additional findings that Slated’s new infographic has identified and visualized include:
  • As a collective age-group, mid-career talent in their early forties account for the highest volume of films that are seen in movie houses.
  • When it comes to age, not all talent categories are treated equally by the film industry. Corroborating popular perception, lead actors are hired more frequently in their younger years. Directors, on the other hand, are in most demand during their late forties and beyond.
  • With the exception of supporting actors aged 26-30, younger professionals tend to be more profitable. Aside from certain categories of actors and producers, older professionals tend to be less profitable overall.
  • In ROI terms, producers are the most reliable category of creative talent over the entirety of their careers.
  • The film industry also has something of a blind spot when it comes to directors between 26-30. This is the age at which the Oscar-touted filmmaker Damien Chazelle made his breakthrough film, “Whiplash.”
  • The systemic gender bias exposed in our previous infographic (VIEW HERE ) extends directly across age lines as well. With the exception of 21-25-year-olds, the overwhelming majority of lead roles are given to men, even though women of similar ages tend to generate higher returns.
  • Paradoxically, the age group at which male lead actors perform best in terms of ROI (51-55) is also when those actors start getting dramatically fewer roles.
  • MPAA statistics on frequent moviegoers (averaged out during the years 2010-2015) demonstrate that 66.2% of tickets were sold to those under the age of 40. A full 43.4% were twenty-four or younger. Over the same period of time, 66.4% of production budgets was spent on creative talents OVER the age of forty. The 41-50 age bracket were responsible for nearly two fifths of the film industry’s total production expenditure and yet this same demographic only represented one ninth of all tickets sold to regular customers.
About Slated
Launched in 2012, Slated is a pioneering online marketplace for equity film financing; connecting a global network of investors, filmmakers and industry professionals with the aim of facilitating targeted introductions to promote viable films to an engaged audience.

Headquartered in Los Angeles, the community houses a roster of more than 38,000 film professionals including 18,000 producers, 15,000 writers, 12,000 directors, 9,000 actors, 1,700 sales agents and distributors and 1,600 investors. During 2015, projects listed on Slated attracted $560 million in production financing, with 54% of 2016’s Academy Award nominations involving Slated members in producing, directing, acting or technical roles.

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