Research Friday: UN’s tome on Creative Industries, fake science at the epa and why Popcorn cost so much in theaters

Over the last few weeks I havent taken the time to put mention any of the research reports I pilfer from various and sundry sources. That ends today. Here are a few of the more interesting reports I’ve read in the last couple of weeks as I boned up for different client assignments.

UN\'s creative economiesActually, the first one by the UN Conference on Trade and Development is a tome that I’ve started but havent been able to finish entitled Creative Economy Report 2008 (pdf here). Its a 357 page report from the UN on the state and policy needs of creative Industries. The report is filled with enough juicy tidbits and statistical goodness to satisfy the most voracious information consumers. It provide details on cities where creative industries thrive, how many people they employ, the amount of money they generate and the major issues facing them. The report is pretty dense and I have only scratched the surface but the main point is that creative industries are a critically important part of an evolving globalized world. Then I got to page 44 and gave up . I an SOS out to the good folks on the Pho List asking for help and commentary on the report, hopefully, net veteran and future Phd, David Touve will sum it up fully for us.

Fed\'s invent science at EPAI found this report, Interference at the EPA (pdf here), from the Union of Concerned Scientist to be rather interesting. It appears that more then 60% of the scientist at the EPA say that they have had the administration mess with their work, 22% claim the administration has been selective or incomplete in the use of data to justify a specific agenda and 7% say the administration has directed them to exclude or alter data from technical documents. Apparently the White House’s Office of Management and Budget, headed by administration bag man Jim Nussel, is directly responsible for much of the skulduggery going on at the EPA. Based on survey info the report is 108 pages long and a fairly quick read. Makes me wonder about the value of that organic label on the foods I buy.

Have you ever wondered why popcorn cost so much in theaters? well USC prof and general movie buff RIchard Gil has. He, along with Wesley Hartmann, wrote the paper “Why Does Popcorn Cost So Much At The Movies?” (pdf here) and despite the fun title its a dry academic treaty on metered pricing, demand functions and consumer preferences. Using complex multiple-regressions, which I didnt try to figure out, they concluded that given the two ways theaters make money (admissions and concessions) charging a premium for Popcorn allows the theaters to keep admission prices low enough to attract an audience. The duo found that as movie attendance increased the average amount spent on concessions went down. They also found that hardcore movie goers buy more popcorn, on average, then regular movie goers. All of this leads me to believe that raising prices is the last thing a theater should be doing at this point. They might also want to consider which segment of the population they really need to be targeting. If this report is right the last thing you’d want for your business is more teens buying less popcorn.

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