Streaming services have changed cinema for good.

Cinema began as a medium always required spectacle. Filmmakers created works that required moviegoers to sit in a dark room for hours on end in order for their vision to be fully realised.

These days are long gone.

Enter Streaming Services

Even pre-COVID-19, movie theatre admissions were dwindling. The biggest factor in the shift toward streaming services was obviously the advent of Netflix in 2009. It contributed to the death of the video store and the decline of Cinema simultaneously.

Audiences didn’t need to spend £5 on a DVD/video that they could only keep for a week. They didn’t need to spend £10 on a ticket, £10 on parking and another £10 on food to watch their favourite films.

Netflix’s USP was that you could watch a near unlimited amount of films and TV shows per month for the same price as one movie ticket. It seemed like a no brainer. Because it was.

But where does that leave us today?

Streaming Services and the Current Climate

Well, obviously the COVID-19 pandemic has further changed the landscape. Films that were typically due to release via movie theatres couldn’t because of social restrictions.

Big studio franchises such as the Marvel Cinematic Universe series and James Bond rely on the hype of spectacle to bring audiences to theatres. Indie distributors have always been advised to pursue streaming services for releases but now it’s the big studios as well.

On one hand, it means that more content is democratized and easily accessible to viewers. But it also means that the death of the movie theatre comes even closer. More and more films are being made to cater to streaming services and smaller screens. This is directly affecting how productions now tackle filmmaking as smaller screens mean less information in the frame. Less mise-en-scene and more contained sets.

The Future of Streaming Services

Where does that leave us in the future?

Movie theatres will be forced to adapt to the stronghold streaming services have over contemporary society. Movie theatres cannot compete with streaming services when it comes down to selection. But they can win by creating experiences that streaming services can never offer.

Experiential cinema may be the way forward

Think about Cinema that allows the viewer to feel closer to the action. A more immersive cinema that places the spectator well within the film’s world. Of course, this is heavily reliant on the speed at which new technologies evolve. It would require heavy implementation of VR, hologram technology or augmented reality technology.

Streaming services will continue to grow. Streaming becomes more ubiquitous with each passing year.

You can now watch films in pretty much any environment possible today. That will continue but as with all forms of technology, a better, shinier and more efficient model always comes around.

The only question, is when?

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Writer and Screenwriter

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