The Future of Film is Streaming

Is the Future of Film in Streaming?

September 28, 2021

The pandemic caused movie theaters to close up shop. Re-opening has been slow, but theaters have been chomping at the bit to prove they still have relevancy. Many are pointing to the success of Shang-chi as proof. However, with all likelihood, we may be entering an age where there's a more nuanced approach to big-screen and small-screen releases.

Streamer's Spotlight: Lower-Cost Films May Be Relegated to Streaming Services

Between live TV and on-demand streaming services, we can get a good idea of the current streaming landscape. Our big takeaways: Netflix is losing stream as competition heats up, Hulu + Live TV is doing better than YouTube TV, and Apple TV+ has suspiciously high numbers. 

1. Releasing Films in Theaters Is Expensive

Producing a film is pricey enough. Releasing in theaters can easily add another $1 million to the budget. Add in the cut that movie theaters take, which can be around 40%, and you hit a threshold where releasing in theaters is risky business for generating revenue. Which is to say, people will flock to the theaters for big-name movies with big-name actors, but they may not do that for a no-name drama with actors who've never graced the big screen. 

In come movie theaters owned by movie studios. Disney, WarnerMedia, and Paramount can produce low-cost films and release them on their respective streaming services, retaining 100% of the revenue. Effectively, we're entering a new age of "made for TV" movies, only they're now "made for streaming". Netflix has already been doing this to great effect, and it seems the more traditional movie production companies are going the same route for some of their content.

2. Original Content Still Drives Sign-ups

Netflix learned quite some time ago that putting big money into original content will drive sign-ups. Now, everyone is doing it. Disney+ added 12.4 million new subscribers in Q2 2021 alone, driven in no small part by all of its original content. Meanwhile, this original content and movies going straight-to-streaming still offer providers like Disney and HBO Max to do pay-per-view periods that draw additional revenue for this content beyond just sign-ups or lower attrition (something Netflix has resisted doing, for what it's worth). 

3. Consumers WANT Straight-to-Streaming Options

Consumers got a taste of what it was like to get all of the new releases in the comfort of their own home, and much like remote work, many want to keep it that way post-COVID. A third now want to maintain the ability to

. Movie producers will need to keep that in mind as they navigate and plan for a full return to movie theaters. 

This Week's Streaming Guide

1. Netflix Horror Film 'No One Gets Out Alive' Streaming Wednesday (Sept. 29)

"Desperate and without documentation, a woman from Mexico moves into a rundown Cleveland boardinghouse. Then the unsettling cries and eerie visions begin." -

2. John Steward Is Back on TV This Thursday (Sept. 30)

His new show 'The Problem with John Stewart' will premiere Thursday on Apple TV+  -

3. New HGTV House Show Focuses on Preserving History

The new 'Houses with History' renovation show premieres on HGTV this Thursday (Sept. 30). -

4. 'The Walking Dead: World Beyond: Season 2' Premieres

The 'Walking Dead' World Beyond offshoot makes it to season 2 starting Sunday, Oct. 3 at 8 PM EST.  -

News and Industry Developments

1. Free Trials Back at Disney for Some Subscribers

Check your email. You may be among the select few. -

2. What's Coming and Leaving Hulu in October?

More Holloween than you'll know what to do with, that's for sure. -

3. 'Tiger King' Somehow Coming Back to Netflix for Another Season

Yes, you read that right. But without Carol Baskin, who isn't happy with its return. -

4. Here's Everything Coming to Netflix in October

Buckle up. October's going to be big. -

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