Since the inception of Netflix, streaming services have been undeniably multiplying in popularity, with almost every major film and television company trying their hand at releasing all or the majority of their content for a steady, monthly fee. It used to be that you would have to go all the way to a store to buy each of your favourite movies and TV shows individually, or if you’re like me and you were too poor and cultured to afford the extensive collection of your dreams, you had to pray that Xtra Vision or Blockbuster, depending on where you’re reading this from had magically begun to stock your all-time favourite DVD since the last week you unsuccessfully tried to rent it. It’s not surprising that many people are wondering about the future of movie releases with the gradual switch to streaming services. With more and more of these streaming platforms deciding to release their films directly onto their platforms rather than releasing them into the cinema, what does that say about the future of the film industry?
Ease of Access?
The concept of paying a regular fee may not be all that new in the world of business, but as consumers, we have arguably never had access to so much content all at once. With many services popping up allowing you to view shows and even regular TV online, rather than through more traditional methods like satellite or cable. If that sounds a bit alien to you, never worry, there’s plenty of guides online including a full guide on iptv and its benefits so you can get started watching all of your favourite shows on the fast and reliable internet without having to worry about if the cable is connected or if a sudden burst of lightning is sent down by Zeus, frying your satellite and ruining your plans to catch up on the last season of Parks and Recreation.
The issue is that now companies and corporations are seeing the value of hosting their content in one self-owned place for a monthly or yearly subscription, the market is becoming oversaturated with platforms to choose from – and the problem is likely to only get worse. Now families are having to weigh up the pros and cons of each platform as very few would be able to afford the transition from paying for one or two streaming services to multiple at once. Whilst competition amongst the various services may lead to competitive prices for the consumers, it also means that companies will want to take ownership, meaning services that once offered a diverse range of content, now have had to give up a lot of the content to the original owners. For more specific platforms like the proposed Warner Brothers/DC platforms, their very specialised content means that viewers will be less likely to want to pay for a subscription if they only want to see a handful of the films/other content on offer.
What Would it Mean for the Film Industry?
One of the issues people have found with the thought of moving all-new film releases online is the impact it may have on the film industry as a whole. Since platforms such as Disney+ have been distributing their newer releases directly onto their streaming platforms, they have made an attempt to reclaim some of the potential revenue they might have expected had they been released in the cinema. However, many believe the price Disney has been asking to watch these films straight away has left many raising their brows. One can only imagine the reason for the eye-wateringly high cost to view these new releases is designed to encapsulate the revenue that would have been generated had a family of four paid for tickets in the cinema.
But for people without children, even people that use their account for personal use, the price of £30 to watch a film is just far too high. Especially considering the fact that directly beside the button to pay, they let you know that if you want it for free (or included in your subscription), all you need to do is wait a few months and you’ll be neck-deep in all the best new content. The move to pay, expensive content is especially hard to swallow given that not long before, Disney released their 2020 Christmas release, Soul directly onto their platform for free. That, along with the recent addition of STAR, featuring a bunch of popular free content just leaves paying an extra £30 to watch a new film release with a bad taste in your mouth.
Beyond that, there is more at stake if platforms decide to distribute all new releases directly onto streaming platforms. Those working in the film industry have already voiced their concerns about what may happen to their jobs if this becomes the way forward. If big film companies aren’t making as much money as they would otherwise be doing by putting their films onto streaming services and charging an unreasonable price, chances are these big companies won’t be able to afford these film industry workers as good of a wage. Working in film is difficult enough without making things more financially difficult. Above all else, for many, a trip to the cinema is an activity that lives deep in the heart of many, I included. I believe it would be a terrible idea, to abandon the tradition of cinema-going in favour of convenient access – we’ve all seen how that turned out in Wall-E.