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For the first time since 1960, the SAG-AFTRA union representing 160,000 Hollywood actors is concurrently on strike with the Writers Guild of America. Although, practically speaking, the difference between two branches and one branch striking might not seem that different to casual viewers right now, the SAG-AFTRA strike will send the added ripple effect of more film and TV production shutdowns, a pause on promotional press tours, and release delays for some of 2024’s most anticipated movies.
CivicScience previously gauged American viewership habits for late-night shows, along with scripted and unscripted TV after the writers strike began – and recently took a deeper dive into how consumers might react to the simultaneous strikes. Major networks like CBS and ABC have already unveiled their weekly schedules for the forthcoming TV season, replete with reruns of their own shows and old movies – along with popular shows from other channels like Paramount Network’s “Yellowstone,” which don’t usually air on CBS.
According to the latest CivicScience data, these reruns might engage a majority of network viewers, with 58% claiming they’re at least ‘somewhat likely’ to watch reruns during the strikes (and 25% coming in at ‘very likely’). Gen Z adults are more likely than any other age bracket to express any likelihood to watch network reruns (65%).
With a network TV diet heavy on reruns and unscripted shows, CivicScience also checked the temperature of viewers’ preferred mode of unscripted series. Of the five options polled, documentary shows (39%) nearly doubled any other type of series, with reality competition/game shows (22%) and home makeover/renovation shows (21%) pulling in the next largest shares.
For both films and TV series, striking actors are barred from appearing at premiere events, press junkets, or high-profile interviews (from late-night to “Hot Ones”) to promote their work. According to the latest data, 3-in-10 U.S. adults who watch any degree of celebrity interviews online or on late-night TV claim to watch them at least ‘somewhat often’ (with just 8% watching ‘very often’).
The camp who watches celebrity interviews ‘very often’ are drastically the most likely to be frequent moviegoers – more than doubling the Gen Pop’s rate of going monthly or more (28% versus 12%). While it’s likely a case of correlation-not-causation – people who go to the movies often just naturally watch more interviews with actors and celebrities – taking that prong of promotion away could certainly diminish turnout at the movies, at least to some extent.
Adults who watch celebrity interviews ‘very often’ are also much more likely to support labor unions (69%) than those who watch celebrity interviews ‘not very often’ (59%) or ‘never’ (44%).
CivicScience will continue to monitor the impact and viewer response to the SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikes. For more information on how they might affect your business, book a meeting today and unlock a free month of premium content access.