07 Sep Groundbreaking Audience Research on SA Film
The National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF), an agency of the Department of Arts and Culture has commissioned groundbreaking research to create an understanding of South Africa’s audience landscape and attitudes to local film. According to Peter Kwele, NFVF Head of Marketing and Communications, the project was aimed at identifying audience trends with regard to the consumption of film and videos in Africa with a specific focus on local content.
The five main objectives of the research were:
• To generate a demographic profile of SA audience
• To identify audience content preferences (language, platform of consumption, and so on)
• To evaluate spending patterns pertaining to film and video consumption
• To gain insight into the general perception and attitude toward SA film and videos
• To assess the audience’s accessibility to cinema
According to Peter Kwele, NFVF Head of Marketing and Communications, the findings were broad but from the outset the research indicated that South African film does not always represent true reflections of South African life. As a result, many people decidedly watch more international content than local. The research strongly showed that audiences want local films to tell the world about South African stories, cultures and heritage“imbued with iconic artifacts around which the different strands of our rainbow can coalesce to allow the rest of the world to soak in the kaleidoscope of colour, sights and sounds of our films and video products”.
The research also found that one of the bigger issues at hand isthe way in which South African films are distributed. It has become clear that the platforms where consumers can view the film are as critical as the film itself. The preferred platforms for film and video consumption include film festivals, DVD, TV, cinema, video on demand, Netflix, YouTube and so on. If local films are not part of these preferred platforms, they will not be consumed.
On the whole, local audiences seem to prefer foreign film content above local content. This is largely because South African audiences perceive South African films as being of a poorer quality than foreign films, and foreign films having a perceived star quality.