What is the ideal movie-going experience? Using autodriven photo-elicitation to explore the elements of consumers' cinema visits

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School of Business | Master's thesis
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The cinema, the movie theater, possesses a type of unique appeal, and a specific feeling it evokes in many people. There's just something about the cinema that is difficult to put into words. Is the appeal in the way it makes us feel? Is it about the spectacular content, the motion pictures? Or is it the big screen and the comfy seats? Or how about the people you get to spend time with there? Or is the secret just the pure entertainment the cinema offers? Nowadays, the cinema not only has to compete over people's interest in the content they offer, or in the technology and great spaces they have, it also has to compete over people's valuable time in the world of unlimited options for leisure and entertainment. Cinema has to be able to offer something extraordinary to make the experience count, to be able to maintain that 'certain feeling' there is about cinema. Thus, this study seeks to explore, identify, and describe the elements of consumers' cinema experience, and aims to find out what an ideal movie-going experience could be like based on consumers' subjective experiences. The study at hand extends the existing literature and research by approaching the practice of cinema-going from a wider perspective by shedding light on the overall practice of attending cinema - a process and series of events extending far outside the cinema auditorium walls, which has received surprisingly little attention in existing academic research. This study is qualitative and interpretive in nature, and uses a visual research method of autodriven photo-elicitation (PEI) for conducting the empirical part of the thesis, and for gathering data for further analysis and findings. In PEIs, researchers use photographs as interview stimuli. In autodriven PEIs, research participants take their own photographs which then will be used as interview stimuli. Data for this study was collected through five autodriven photo-elicitation research visits to cinema, and 10 individual in-depth interviews, which were based on the photographs taken by each participant during their cinema visits. Eight thematic categories emerged from the data based on photograph-based in-depth interviews, and were noticed to somewhat follow the categories of 7 Ps of service marketing (Bitner & Booms, 1981). They are as follows: 1. Product related elements 2. Price related elements 3. Place related elements 4. Promotion related elements 5. Process related elements 6. Physical evidence related elements 7. People related elements, and finally the eighth additional category 8. Person related elements of consumer cinema experience. The main findings, contributions, conclusions, and implications of this study are finally gathered in The Consumer Cinema Experience Framework. Managers in the film and cinema industry can benefit from the framework when planning, developing, and making decisions on cinema and film related matters. Thus, some competitive advantage can be gained, as cinema experience can be designed to meet the wants and needs of the experience hungry, quality conscious, and socially active audience.
cinema, movies, experiential consumption, hedonic products, consumer experience, photo-elicitation, autodriving
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