Does the Rising Popularity of Netflix Mean the End for the Big Screen?
The popularity of online streaming platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu Plus has grown hugely in recent years, becoming a fond pastime for many and even leading to a whole new meaning of the phrase, ‘…and chill’. It’s also pretty easy to understand why Netflix in particular has become such a success:
Price – £5.99 p/m for the standard service
Technology – smart TVs and evolving sound systems
Selection – original documentaries (Virugna), dramas (House of Cards), comedies (Orange is the New Black), and high-profile classic shows (Friends) amongst many more.
And all of this for less than the price of a cinema ticket! However, none of the above would directly deter people from seeing a new Hollywood hit in the cinema, right? So how have Netflix made cinemas across the country so angry? Well, they’ve now gone and made their own feature-length film. And it’s great. ‘Beasts of No Nation’, starring our very own Idris Elba, has been nominated for numerous awards throughout 2015 and early 2016, with Elba taking ‘Outstanding Performance’ at the Screen Actors Guild Awards.
See the trailer here:
But why the uproar?
The film was aired online at the same time it was released in cinemas, undermining the traditional (not legal) 90-day period that cinemas are usually given to screen movies before released in-store and online. The result was over 75 million Netflix subscribers having no reason to go to the cinema to catch an award-winning film.
‘If you can’t beat them, join them’
So does this victory for Netflix and other online streaming platforms mean they’re about to take down the silver screen once and for all?
No, not yet. Let’s face it, cinemas are not going anywhere anytime soon. For me, the debate around improved home cinemas, more choices in entertainment and pricing all boils down to one question; is it still worth going to the cinema?
In my opinion, yes.
While the advancements in home cinemas have been great and are only likely to improve further, nothing in your living room will compare to a cinema’s 70-foot screen and hundreds of speakers. Most movies are made to be screened on a larger-than-life scale, a trick television will likely never be able to replicate.
Furthermore, if Netflix are going to continue releasing their own feature length films and series, they may have to increase their monthly subscription fees, or introduce adverts – something that they have avoided until this point, but may be on the horizon – especially after they began rolling out promotional trailers on the site (The company has now started using ‘pre-rolls’ to promote its original content when people start streaming a show).
The ball is firmly in Netflix’s court, but let’s see how this plays out. The company need to choose their next step wisely or encounter the wrath of unhappy customers and falling subscriber numbers.