by Graham Pierrepoint
Going to the cinema is still something that millions of us do, all around the world – it’s a remarkable industry, and, as such, it’s remained one of the most steadfast for almost a century. Nothing quite beats going to see a new movie on the big screen – with the luxury of comfortable seating, the smell of popcorn and the impossibly grand projections – it’s hard to believe that anything could ever threaten the very existence of this experience. However, like it managed to destroy much of the home video rental market, Netflix appears to be on a clear route to threatening the future of movie theaters – for the good of consumers, of course – but with news that will likely not go down too well with cinema chains worldwide.
Movie studios, alongside Netflix, are now looking to bring movies to audiences sooner rather than later. While big movies are arriving on streaming platforms sooner and sooner, there appears to be something of a push to try and bring new releases directly to home audiences within an extremely tight delay – or even instantly, with the introduction of a fee. This would mean that – hypothetically – you could choose to see a movie via Netflix that may be out at the cinema right this moment. For many people, the allure of being able to see a big movie from the comfort of their own home as opposed to travelling out to the theater may be very compelling indeed – and this is likely what various studios and Reed Hastings’ all-dominating streaming service are setting out to achieve.
Netflix’s own movie library has been steadily ramping up in recent years, and while it may not have had the critical or audience reception that much of their TV programming has, it remains to be said that the platform is focused on creating original content and bringing movies directly to viewers. Netflix is thought to be focusing on developing more direct-to-streaming movies in the coming years, meaning that they are clearly hoping to make some sort of breakthrough and buck the trend.
It may be some time before theaters go out of business – if at all – but if this revolutionary form of entertainment delivery is to proceed, it may be time for big screen operators to start considering ways to keep afloat in the decades to come. Will Netflix transform the cinema industry? Let’s wait and see.