The Art of Streaming
Movies are a common thread in many American households. However, the way in which consumers view their movies has changed drastically since the introduction of streaming services. When it comes to cost, streaming is the obvious choice as I personally have rented movies for under five dollars and in the same week payed almost twenty at a theater. But, does the same go for the average American viewer? There is, however, also the appeal of the occasion of going out to a movie to relax after a long week. Streaming movies at home has recently taken the film industry by storm, but that doesn't mean movie theaters are done for as it has been proven they can still generate their highest gross income yet.
Streaming has indeed become preferred to in-theater movie watching. According to Flynn, theaters have actually shown a significant decrease in sales since streaming's increase in popularity. Not too surprising, people have chosen one medium over another rather than supplementing at-home movies on top of their typical theater visits. Flanagan similarly noted streaming services have become standard in most American households and watching movies from the comfort of your home has become an intrinsic part of modern-day society and pop culture. There is no doubt streaming is the way of the future, and from the looks of it, the present too.
The sales of movie theater box offices have plummeted as streaming increases. With the impact of the internet, an individual's chance of attending a movie theater in person has undoubtedly decreased (Milder). In addition to the statistics that drew me to the previous conclusion, Wallström and Wahlgren also were very logical in their approach of analyzing box office sales. The two Swedish technology and engineering students based their thesis' mathematical statements on data that predicted a decrease in movie theater profit in the future. Theaters have to be creative if they want to compete with the online options available to consumers.
Though it is not without great effort, theaters have been successful in generating higher sales. The CEO of AMC Theaters discussed the efforts he is making noting, "We have substantially broadened our food and beverage offerings. For example, today we offer a dinner and a movie concept," Ramsey says. "That used to be considered separate events. Today, patrons can do both at the same time." (Ladd). In order to increase theater appeal, there is no question changes have to continuously be made to stay competitive. That being said, movies such as Black Panther have hit all-time highs in box office sales in regard to opening weekend (Flynn). While movies may be more often streamed on a regular occasion, there is definitely evidence to show box office sales have not lost their edge when it comes to largely anticipated premieres.
Netflix has been monumental in demonstrating how streaming will affect the rest of the worl, from the movie industry to social endeavors. According to Spangler, Netflix accounts for one third of the 60% of media that streaming provides to consumers as of his 2018 article. Netflix's extreme advantage is its portability and the ability of the viewer to watch what they want, where they want, when they want to. Flanagan stated, "Netflix and other such streaming services have changed two key components of media consumption that go hand-in-hand: mobility and availability..." Likewise, McDonald noted the variety of media was one of Netflix's main appeals when weighed against typical movie theaters.
The factor that still leaves theaters competitive is the appeal of the entire experience. Certain films have incredible detailed graphics that can only be fully appreciated on a movie theater big screen according to Flanagan. AMC Theaters have also based their entire plan for reinventing their theaters around creating the most "luxe" experience possible (Ladd). Theaters' final redemptive quality is based on the fact that young members of society have been noted to value experience and especially social gatherings in which a traditional theater would pose a better venue (Flynn).
On the other hand, there is no denying the convenience of being able to view movies in the comfort of your own home. "Table 1 above...demonstrates that just slightly more than 12% of its revenues come from movie theaters, while a little less than 88% comes from the numerous distribution channels serving "couch potatoes."" (Milder). People are simply more inclined to watch something at home rather than going out. Milder's research also showed a five to one ratio of American's viewing their movies at home and in a theater, respectively. Though theaters propose a nice occasion, convenience often comes first.
In conclusion, it is hard to deny the preference of streaming movies over going and viewing them in theaters for the average American. But, it's also important to remember theaters are not a lost cause as they propose their unique set of benefits. My hopes are that this paper will enlighten those who read it just how significantly streaming has affected the movie industry. That way, both actors and movie theater owners can use the information to make educated career decisions in their respective aspects of the industry. While streaming is both convenient and cost effective, there is something special about going to a movie and seeing a film on the big screen. Streaming may be the medium of the future, but that does not mean movie theaters are a thing of the past.Works Cited
Flynn, Emily. "Discovering Audience Motivations Behind Movie Theater Attendance". Elon Journal of Undergraduate Research in Communications, Vol. 9, No. 2, Elon University, Fall 2018.
Flanagan, Sean. "Streaming Services, Binging, and Cultural Consequences". Advanced Writing: Pop Culture Intersections, 26, Santa Clara University, September 5, 2018, Santa Clara, California.
Ladd, Scott. "Dinner & the changing world of movie theatres." Financial Executive, vol. 28, no. 8, Oct. 2012, p. 20+. Gale Academic.
Milder, N. David. "Downtown Movie Theaters Will Be Increasingly In Great Danger". Downtown Trends 2008, Part 1, DANTH, Inc, March 2008.
Wallström, Karl. Wahlgren, Markus. "What are the main factors affecting movie profitability?" DiVA, 2018, Stockholm, Sweden.
McDonald, Kevin P. "Digital dreams in a material world: the rise of Netflix and its impact on changing distribution and exhibition patterns." Jump Cut: A Review Of Contemporary Media no. 55 (Fall 2013)
Spangler, Todd. "Netflix Streaming Isn't Slowing Down." usMultichannel News 32, no. 41:26.