Why Are There Fewer and Fewer Young Cinema Goers? - Raindance

Attracting young audiences to the cinema has been an ongoing issue over the last decade. According to the BFI, 15-24 year olds regularly made up over 40% of the audience in the1990s. In 2017, however, they represented just 28%. Though this age group still continues to dominate the majority of cinema-goers, it is important to prevent this number from dropping further. Why has this number changed so drastically? In this article, I’m going to look at some of the reason for this change in audiences, and at what Raindance is doing to address it.

Streaming Services

According to the European Commission Media, 56% of film viewers said they streamed films from free websites while 68% said they downloaded free files to store on personal drives. There are many reasons for this diversion to streaming networks, but a key motive for young cinema-goers is the rising ticket prices. Some cinemas charge the same amount for one film that streaming sites charge for an entire month, simultaneously providing users with an array of options rather than just a single viewing. At the same time, 37% of young audiences feel that some films are interesting, but ‘not worth paying for the cinema experience.’

Home Availability

This is another issue 15-24 year-olds face when making viewing choices. According to askattest.com, 46% of teenage viewers would go to the cinema less while 24% would probably stop going entirely in favour of watching the latest releases from their home. This is most likely due to the proximity of a cinema to their residence or other social gatherings. Younger audiences choose a cinema near shopping malls, popular restaurants and leisure centers as it allows them to have a complete evening out in one location — but if none of these are nearby options, the outing can often be seen as not worth it. Lack of company can also play a part according to Independent Cinema Office, with viewers preferring to visit cinemas with their family (55%), their partner (41%) and their friends (24%).

Cinema Location

The importance of a cinema’s location also plays into the issue of public transport, according to the Independent Cinema Office. Later screenings provide for a more difficult commute home, as certain routes may halt operations after a certain time.

Issues mentioned above, though impending, are not all that interfere with the attendance of young audiences to the cinema. Lack of appeal to foreign films with subtitles, preference of multiplex cinema vs. independent ones due to deals or events, and several more contribute to this ongoing issue.

Film clubs and training programmes are in existence, according to askattest.com, and they’ve even proven effective. A majority of those who have experienced them recognise their benefits, agreeing that it ‘raised their curiosity for other types of cinema’ and led them to watch more diverse films (40% ‘strongly’ agree). 37% agreed that it ’raised their interest in cinema’ and led them to watch more films, and 43% ‘improved their film culture’ and strengthened their film knowledge.

What We’re Doing To Help: Crowdfunding Campaign

That being said, Raindance is getting involved in the effort to increase independent film consumption in 12-25 year-olds. We believe that independent cinema should be accessible to anyone, which is why we’ve decided to launch the Emerging Filmmakers’ Strand in 2018.

At the 27th Raindance Film Festival, Raindance will invite young audiences and schools from across London to this unique cinematic experience on the West End. This experience will include a series of special filmmaking masterclasses, followed by film screenings with Q&As. With your pledge, we can create more events for young audiences to be exposed to independent cinema.

Your contribution will help expose teens and young adults to what could be their first ever independent film experience. Contributions range from a $5 thank-you Tweet to a limited-edition tote bag, not to mention exclusive access to invite-only events. A donation not only benefits the students, but yourself as well! You will also get the opportunity to vote on which independent films should be screened based on your favourites.

Do you remember how you felt after seeing your first independent film? The feeling is difficult to forget. Donate now and help us share that feeling with young audience members!



Raindance aims to promote and support independent filmmaking and filmmakers.

From new and emerging to industry pros, Raindance connects, trains, supports, and promotes visual storytellers through every step of their career.

The Raindance Film Festival runs each Autumn in London's Leicester Square.

Raindance has been delivering film training since 1992. A wide range of Open Classes to a 2 year HND Level 5 BTEC in Moving Images to a Postgraduate Film Degree are delivered to students on five continents, both in person and online.