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Popular culture The changing face of Swiss film consumption

James Bond’s return in Spectre gave Swiss cinemas a boost in 2015. The previous year suffered from a lack of blockbusters

(Keystone)

Television remains the medium of choice for watching films in Switzerland, but the internet promises to shake up Swiss viewing habits, according to a study by the Federal Statistical Office.

Nine out of ten people in Switzerland watch films on television, with three-quarters doing so at least once a week, revealed the study on Swiss cultural habits in 2014, published on Thursday. Two-thirds of respondents used formats such as DVD and Blu-Ray to do so.

Cinema, on the other hand, remains a young person’s form of entertainment, with 91% of 15- to 29-year-olds going at least once in 2014 (and 37% going at least seven times). The figures were 48% and 12% respectively for 60- to 74-year-olds.

Gender or linguistic background made no difference, although people who live in cities took advantage of the greater opportunity to go to the cinema than people who live in rural areas. People with a university degree were also more likely to go to the cinema (76%) than those without (54%).

A third of 15- to 29-year-olds also watch films online – twice the rate for the population as a whole.

The statistical office concluded that the success of streaming and downloading platforms such as Netflix and video on demand (VoD) could in future have a great influence on the viewing habits of a younger public.

Blockbuster effect

When it comes to cinema successexternal link, feature films – and blockbusters in particular – attract many more cinemagoers than independent or arthouse films.

The fact that 2014 wasn’t a great year for blockbusters – unlike 2013 and 2015 – was one reason why ticket sales dropped from 13.7 million in 2013 to 12.9 million in 2014 and then bounced back to 14.4 million in 2015.

Only a tenth of respondents said they watched documentaries in the cinema. At home, however, or at least outside the cinema, documentaries were named as the most popular genre by 86% of people, ahead even of feature films.

Swiss productions also did better in private (where 64% of respondents said they watched them) than in cinemas (only 18%).

In addition, around 10% of people said they had attended at least one Swiss film festival in 2014. In Italian-speaking Switzerland, home to the prestigious Locarno Film Festival, the figure was 25%.

swissinfo.ch with agencies

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