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Streaming vs. Theaters

Ever since the introduction of streaming services like Netflix a few years ago, there has been a decrease in movie theater goers than before there was any streaming service. With every advancement in technology, something has to be sacrificed for the other to grow.

COVID alone has played a drastic role in shifting both the streaming and cinema industries into different standpoints. During the majority of 2020, many cinema theaters had taken a massive blow globally; thus, a change in how most people watched movies had to occur. Streaming services existed before the pandemic but were not as popular as they are now.

We are currently not at that stage where one of the two dies out because of lack of support. On the contrary, streaming platforms such as Netflix have grown massively popular during this stage. The cinema industry was forced to shut down during pandemic times, but that does not mean it had started to fade.

Back in the day, movies screened in theaters would not come out until a few months later. Still, audiences can roughly stream a new film for a month or even less after its release. In correlation with studios, streaming platforms have been streaming newly released movies as a service called “premium video on demand” (PVOD). Shortly after a film has come out in theaters, you can easily find it on streaming services with the highest quality for a subscription fee.

In reality, the window for movie theaters has been shrinking yearly with technological advancements. Everyone today can watch all movies, old and new, from their couches or homes in general. However, movie theaters haven’t been performing very well since the pandemic. Still, it all depends on the type of movie being screened and to which franchise it belongs. For example, the highest-grossing film since the pandemic was Spiderman: No Way Home, which surpassed $1 billion at the global box office. Even though streaming services might have overtaken the cinema industry by a bigger percentage, there still lies hope for movie theaters. It all depends on which movie is being released and how many fans are eager to pay a movie ticket to watch that movie.

One thing that stands for sure that a streaming service can never achieve is the experience that a large screen gives an audience. The surround sound and viewer experience are not how you would see it if you were watching that same movie back home. Considering that, big blockbusters or franchises like Marvel and DC perform relatively well in these challenging times. They will be guaranteed to succeed whenever there is a demand and a large audience that backs these franchises. One large platform, Disney+, has been creating double revenues with its movies both in theaters and on its streaming service. After films are released in movie theaters and have achieved high box office returns, they are later released on Disney+ for a fee, accumulating more money for the franchise.

Will streaming services continue to grow as movie theaters slide?

Smaller-scale films have a higher chance of flopping in theaters as the need for them has decreased. Audiences nowadays prefer to wait for these movies to be released on streaming services or elsewhere. Only large-scale movies with strong backing behind them make audiences eager to buy tickets and watch these movies. Therefore, with the increased streaming services in almost every household, a gap exists for films being released in theaters. Those who prefer to go to cinemas do so for the “in-movie” experience it creates for viewers. No one knows what the future might bring for the cinema industry, but by the looks of it, streaming services are performing well and are on a main upscale. Make sure to follow @Bl80prod and stay tuned for the latest updates!

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