Are online streaming services good for the movie industry?

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Joshua Boland and Ben Cooper

Although movie theaters are still profiting in North America, they are losing a significant number of audience members due to online streaming services. In November of 2019, Disney+ appeared and placed yet another competitive option for customers to pick between online streaming services. These streaming services are conveniently available at home, fast to access and cheap. These factors provide reason for people to stop going to theaters to watch original movies.

Movie theaters were the only place to view new movies for more than a century. It served as a place for people to relax and watch films. The most popular time was during World War II when people wanted to escape their problems for awhile.

Between the 1970s and the late 1990s Video Home System (VHS) analog consumer video tapes were the most popular source to record and play videos at home.

Although you could watch videos on VHS, new movies weren’t available to play on it. DVD video emerged in 1997 and took over VHS tapes, It allowed for movies to be played in a DVD player at home.. Although this was an issue for viewers because they had to wait 12-16 weeks after a movie’s premiere for the DVD to appear in stores like Blockbuster. 

The Adobe Shockwave player was created in 1995 as the first way to view movies online and at home. QuickTime in 1999 and Google Video in 2005 brought improved options for online movie viewing. Adobe Shockwave is a software plug-in which is different from computer applications Google Video and QuickTime.

In 2007 Netflix introduced its online streaming service. Netflix advanced the online viewing platform into an instant-video website. It allowed for people to subscribe and watch movies and tv shows instantly. However original movies weren’t shown on the site until 2013.

This brings us to late 2019, Disney; the multi-billion dollar franchise, released its first subscription streaming service for home video. The problem that Disney+ poses for the movie industry is that it joins a list of more than 20 different and popular streaming services. In addition, it holds the first and second highest grossing movies in the world: Avengers Endgame, and Avatar. Including these two, Disney holds seven of the top ten highest grossing films of all time. It owns a number of extremely popular movie franchises including: Marvel, Pixar, Star Wars, and National Geographic. 

I believe that it is preferable for movie franchises when audiences watch in a movie theater because the makers of the film could potentially make more money off the tickets sold rather than how much they are paid to have it shown online, granted they have to spend more on promotions and marketing. Online-streaming services pay a lot of money to the creators months after the premiere and this adds to the total profit the movie brings in. It is a fixed price that online streaming services pay to the creators to show their movie. 

Most one month subscription sites are priced between $6-$15 which is around the same price as a single ticket at a theater. Tickets sold could mean more money for the movie and more money towards the people who are responsible for making it. I think creators are more deserving of the popularity profit than online-streaming services who pay a lot less than the movie could be worth if it was shown in a theater.