Netflix is the leading subscription streaming service with 209 million subscribers (66 million in the U.S.) But “cracks are beginning to show,” in its streaming dominance. A lot of that is due to audiences having so many new streaming services to choose from.
Another great impact on the industry has been the COVID-19 pandemic, during which consumers bore witness to something unorthodox, the “pandemic release model,” in which movies were being released to streaming services same day as they went to theaters. I don’t know how you could not love this. From the perspective of User Experience, this created a seamless movie going experience that eliminated the trip to the theater.
Warner Media, which is owned by AT&T has led the pack, released its entire slate of 2021 movies on HBO Max using a hybrid streaming/theatrical model. The company announced plans to release 10 movies in 2022 under the same model. AT&T executive for Warner Media Division, Jason Kilar, decided to release films same day as they are released in theaters, upsetting Hollywood traditions and affecting how the major movie making players got payed. It’s all part of a bigger strategy. Releasing movies like Godzilla vs. Kong brought in a ton of new subscribers to HBO and HBO Max, while companies like Netflix have seen a decline in users.
Kilar believes the change is good for his company and good for the people working in the media industry. “I am a big fan of movies being released on streaming services that once would have been only in the theaters first.”
As for me, I love the experience of seeing a great movie in the theater. But to be honest, a-lot of new movies aren’t worth going to the theater for. This hybrid version of movie releasing is one that challenges convention but improves our overall experience for the user.
Have you noticed other streaming services doing this and do you think it is here to stay?