Before it is shuttered, The UK Film Council will conduct an extensive new study into the UK’s film-viewing population and their tastes, with a focus on discovering how digital technology has changed the way people view films.

In 2009, only 4% of film viewing took place in a cinema, but little is currently known about the patterns of non-cinema viewing.

The research will investigate a range of topics including what attracts or deters audiences, how feature films compare to television and similar media, how often films are consumed in a community context, and what impact the digital environment (both legal and illegal) is having on audiences.

The study will also focus on the changing population and in particular the increasing importance of older consumers – the percentage of over-65s going to the cinema has doubled since 1997.

In addition to this group, the research will specifically target manual workers, lesbian, gay and bisexual audiences and minority ethnic audiences.

The difference between London and non-London audiences’ tastes will also be highlighted.

Mary FitzPatrick, Head of Diversity at the UK Film Council, said: “We know that the UK’s population is changing and that film choices are influenced by age, gender, ethnicity and socio-economic status. Yet there is very little research into diverse audience tastes and how best to reach them. This study will give us the answers.”

Market research firm Harris Interactive will carry out the study, which will take place over the next three months and conclude in April.