The streaming market has been fertile ground for expansions and focus for the past few years. Netflix paved the way. Their business model is risky, but, with their continued push for and production of original content, their catalogue of content only grows stronger, so debt requirements are being routinely met which means they can continue to borrow to fund more new content.
This new content is where the company hangs its hopes. While exclusive streaming rights to established films or TV shows, like Friends, do offer returns, the bulk of this type of media tends to end up on all the streaming platforms, or even multiple, quite regularly. It is churn, and only exists as a minimum standard; that is, films like Die Hard do not necessarily add value to a streaming platform, but they do not cause loss. This is why there is a focus on new content.
Streaming services’ production habits have caught the eye of the traditional move businesses and personnel. Filmmakers are enjoying the autonomy afforded by streaming services as, while bigger audiences are better, their success is not determined by box office figures so there is less studio meddling. Directors like Martin Scorsese, Alex Garland, and Spike Lee have had major productions funded and released by Netflix. Scorsese is continuing to look at streaming services as an option for future films.
These studios have tried to resist the challenge from streaming services, as they’ve looked to secure the future of cinemas. They are worried that as their audiences have access to greater and greater content from the comfort of their own home, then the cinema will suffer.
These traditionalists needn’t look any further than land-based casinos vs. online casinos as a potential example of what could happen in their future. As technology developed and online casinos began to flourish, land-based casinos started to worry that their customer base would shrink. The biggest land-based casino in South Africa is Rio Casino Resort which thrives as well as the top online casino South Africa: @MansionCasino. While there is competition, they are different experiences. They continue to cater to an existing customer base.
It is likely the cinema industry, while slightly different, will continue to operate with success. The small screen is a worthy medium, but the big screen is different entirely.
Warner Brothers, an international and institutional entertainment company, who are one of those companies resisting streaming services, have announced that they are releasing their slated films for 2021 on the big screen and on HBO Max, a streaming service owned by WarnerMedia Direct, the conglomerate which owns Warner Brothers. It is an unprecedented move. This announcement comes off the back of an isolated release of Wonder Woman 1984 scheduled in the cinema and on HBO Max and with talk of the upcoming release of the Zac Snyder’s cut of the Justice League. Netflix and Amazon have their own production companies which feed their streaming services – films like Fighting Shirley Chisholm and Don’t Look Up are being produced now by them for future release – and whether Warner Brothers and HBO Max have a too dissimilar relationship to them can be argued. However, Warner Brothers previously showed no interest in releasing new films on streaming services.
This move could pave the way for more major movie productions invest serious time and energy in streaming services. Paramount Pictures have CBS All Access as a sister company, which could mean that Paramount-produced films aired on the service as well as the cinema. Universal do not have any links, so they would be open to striking a deal with any service which could suit them. However, they might be interested in developing their own. The shift of power will not see a shift of interest: there are movies to be seen.