If you buy a movie on a DVD instead of renting it, you probably have a higher level of education, value your independence, have a greater interest in the cinema in general, and are a more selective consumer.

In a recent article in Applied Economics, researchers at the universities of Oviedo in Spain, and Portsmouth, in the United Kingdom, used econometric models to study to socio-economic characteristics of people who buy and rent DVDs, and the differences in types of movies selected by buyers versus renters.

Renting DVDs is more associated with current entertainment, while buying indicates a greater interest in the cinema and independent and specialist movies, the researchers found.

People with children also tend to buy movies instead of rent, said researcher Fernandez Blanco, because "buyers are looking for a cultural product as well as an entertainment product and, in many cases, and education product, too."

Overall, the preferences of the subjects in the study reflected those of the audience that goes to movies, regardless of buying or renting. Action, thriller and comedy films are the most popular, while adventure films are popular with families. Women show more interest than men in comedies, thrillers, dramas and films with a message, while the reverse is true of action films, the researchers said.

Viewing of films via the Internet, whether rented, purchased or otherwise downloaded "will lead to new viewing habits," the researchers concluded.

Inside Science News Service is supported by the American Institute of Physics.