What are the general patterns of film preferences for different groups of people?

Is there a pattern in the ways that preferences for film genres cluster?

Yes, there are 9 patterns (classes). The genres most likely to be preferred in each group are in order of preference:

  1. Suspense/ thriller; Action/ adventure; Comedy; Drama; Sci-Fi.
  2. Drama; Documentary; Suspense/ thriller.
  3. Romantic comedy; Comedy; Romance.
  4. Comedy.
  5. Comedy; Action/ adventure; Drama; Suspense/ thriller; Sci-Fi; Romantic comedy; Family film; Fantasy; Animation; Romance; Classic films; Documentary; Musicals; Horror; Comic book movie.
  6. Drama; Family film; Romantic comedy; Romance; Comedy; Musicals; Classic films; Documentary; Suspense/ thriller.
  7. Sci-Fi; Fantasy; Action/ adventure; Comedy; Suspense/thriller; Animation; Comic book movie; Horror.
  8. Arthouse/ films with particular artistic value; Drama; Foreign language films; Documentary; Classic films; Comedy; Suspense/thriller.
  9. No stated preference for any particular genre.

This is based on analysis of survey data from the BFI and DCMS.

  • Is there a clear distinction in preferences for specialised film and preferences for mainstream genres?
    Yes, only one group (8) preferred Arthouse/ films with particular artistic value and Foreign language films – the two genres in the survey that could be considered specialised. However film genres do not necessarily align neatly with high/low brow distinctions, as broad and popular genres such as drama and comedy may have unique internal hierarchies of status. This reflects the popularity and accessibility of mainstream film and the fragmented and overlapping relationship in film between artistic and entertainment value. While only one group of people specified a preference for Arthouse and Foreign language films, comedy was stated as a preference in every group.
  • Is there a pattern in people’s socio-cultural profile that influences film preferences?
    Yes, dispositions towards specific sets of film genres are influenced to some degree by demographic factors where education and income have the greatest influence. People who prefer specialised films such as Arthouse and foreign language films are more likely to have higher levels of formal education and annual income and be urban-dwelling. Although there is only a weak relationship and no single socio-cultural measure determines film taste.
  • To what degree is socio-cultural background an indicator in film preference?
    Socio-cultural background does not determine a person’s film taste or their preference for particular film genres and/or types. For example, people from all sorts of socio-cultural backgrounds watch and develop an interest in both specialised and mainstream films. This is notable when exploring entities such as specialised and mainstream as film genre categories through the Ontology, and in both the audience member interviews and film elicitation group transcripts