This empirical study investigated how the social nature of cinema is affected by the technological developments that have led to the converging of different media. The article is based on the data collected through 21 qualitative interviews with Finnish cinema-goers and focuses on the open-ended variety of what people say and do in relation to film-viewing. Analysed within the framework of practice theory, this article hopes to offer some useful tools for understanding how cinema-going fits into people’s lives within the media manifold that involves a complex web of delivery platforms. The findings presented offer hope for the survival of cinema-going as a popular way of watching films based on two key arguments. Firstly, the inherent social functions of cinema-going render it less vulnerable to technological innovation than depicted by those arguing for its expiry. Technological developments, such as the increasing use of social media, are reshaping the social aspects of cinema-going and prompting new ways of engaging with its sociality. Secondly, due to the instantaneity of living in a digitally networked setting, the space of cinema theatre is used for going offline. Consequently, the popularity of cinema-going seems to be indirectly reinvented through some of the same technological changes that are challenging it.
- cinema audience, cinema-going, digital era, sociality, practice theory, socially oriented media theory