Opinion

Streaming Killed the Cinema Star


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With the news that Cineworld is likely to close all of its cinemas in the US, UK & Ireland, with an announcement expected tomorrow, it’s clear we’ve reached the point where streaming has killed the cinema.

It was always inevitable, that with the exponential growth of legal streaming services, pressure would inevitably be felt in the cinema industry.

The first concerns of newer technologies running away with the lion’s share of a cinema’s audience isn’t something that is new. I can remember considering the same scenario when subscription DVD rental service model was launched in the early to mid 2000’s.

The concerns then were that those that would casually visit the cinema for a specific release, would now simply wait for it to release to rental, and get it on DVD as part of their subscription – something which cost per month what one ticket to the flicks would set you back.

More bang for your buck was becoming the biggest risk to the movie theatre. As the DVD model showed, there was no limits – other than the postal time – to the number of films you could rent for one monthly fee.

The same now applies but on a far larger scale with streaming media. A fixed monthly fee, which is on average less than what would be paid at a cinema to catch the latest movie, is providing literally 100,000’s of hours of movie enjoyment.

Moreover, the sheer size of the Netflix’s and the Amazon’s means that they have far more clout than the leading cinema brands. Indeed, both brands have also become production houses in their own right, producing movies and series that are exclusive to their platforms.

So the impending announcement by Cineworld is sadly not unexpected, in an industry that has done little to remedy the threat they have been facing for several years now.

Whilst the Coronavirus outbreak has not come at a great time for any industry, for the cinema industry the outcome would regrettably be the same even without the virus.