I’ve said it many times before but cinema is changing. Content and services are now being bundled together. Audiences are seeking alternatives to traditional services and are demanding more from content providers. So now the question is how will these demands be met in the future and in what ways will this platform change?
Recently the Spike channel was bought by Paramount Pictures. This not only served as a strategic move to stop cable viewers from turning to alternative services but also as an effort to boost studio revenues by providing exclusive content. Other studios will likely do something similar and create their own services to deliver their content. Streaming products will likely make up a majority of these new services. However, this wont be limited to large studios. ISP’s, content providers, and existing media outlets will also do the same. Because exclusivity has proven to be very lucrative, it’s in the content providers best interest to deliver this content as efficiently as possible. This is why I believe studios such as Paramount will also create their own theaters to showcase their content. Doing so would decrease the price of concessions and yield a higher profit for the studios by allowing for timed exclusives.
Having a theater dedicated to one studio also permits a different variety of movies to be included in the showtime schedule. Instead of showing recent films these theaters could show the most popular movies their respective studios have produced. Since movies typically only stay in theaters for about a month studios usually make all of their money within the first few weeks of the premiere. Profits could be increased if these movies were cycled out and put back into rotation periodically (some of these movies). A great deal of revenue stands to be made for theaters that show a film weeks before it’s highly anticipated sequel. It seems as though this remains as a missed opportunity for studios currently.
Innovation and Technology
Even more interesting than potential marketing strategies of media moguls is the way in which cinema is consumed now. While I’m sure most of our audience consists of die hard movie fans, for some going to the movies is less about the movie and more about the experience itself. This is why some theaters now serve alcohol and include a full reasonably priced menu with your ticket stub. This is a direct response to a growing trend that has captured a large percentage of the movie theater audience. Other theater innovations include adding motion seats along with artificial wind, water, and smells to create a more immersive experience.
Another change taking place in cinema is to the technology that powers it. Major improvements continue to be made in display technology about every 5 years or so. Movie theater projectors are no exception. With the increased demand for these units we are seeing this technology normalized into local theaters along with a multitude of enhanced audio equipment.
Although I believe these changes are going to happen I don’t believe it will happen uniformly. Going about changes like these will probably take some time especially considering that there are a lot of risks involved on both an organizational and cultural level. Nevertheless it’s safe to say that cinema will not remain the same.