It seems a bit like the coronavirus is starting to reshape the film industry. Of course, it's not only due to the fact that the cinemas are closed; the ever-growing streaming services such as Netflix, HBO, Apple or Disney also play their role. Moreover, the last year has brought several major milestones that will determine not only the future of cinemas.
The figures from recent weeks speak for themselves - Netflix rules among streaming services and thanks to the coronavirus, it has gained 16 million subscribers, which is twice as many as its leaders estimated. 183 million people across the the world are surrently subscribed to Netflix, which means a revenue of $ 5.8 billion in the first quarter alone. Thanks to that, the company's shares are skyrocketing; they have risen by 38 percent in the last month.
Streaming services are considered the future of the film and television industries, and several new ones have recently emerged or been announced, including Apple TV and Amazon. And something is happening that no one would have expected a few years ago - traditional film studios, whose business has always been built on cinemas, are gradually becoming interested in streaming services. Last November, Disney Studio launched its own Disney+ service, which already has more than 26 million subscribers. By the way, this service might be available in the Czech Republic next year.
The battle between cinemas and streaming
Everything indicates that a previously unseen battle is about to start, in which cinemas and streaming services will compete. The coronavirus has shown that people all over the world are getting used to having an almost unlimited amount of content available for but a few hundred crowns - movies, series, documentaries and fairy tales. In addition, their quality is constantly improving and sometimes they even bring a better experience than expensive Hollywood blockbusters. Another advantage is that people can watch a movie or a series at any time without having to leave their couch or bed.
Who will emerge victorious from the battle is still a great unknown. It's possible that some cinemas and film studios will go bankrupt. Cinemas as such will most likely not disappear, but they'll have very tough competition. Some people will stop going to the cinemas entirely, others will be choosing very carefully rather than buying tickets for whatever is being screened. After all, the prices of cinema tickets are constantly rising, and people can easily watch high-quality films on Neflix and other services.
Netflix is starting to shoot expensive movies
The fact is that Netflix in particular, thanks to successful series such as The Witcher, La Casa de Papel, Sex Education or reality shows Love is Blind and Too Hot to Handle, has gained a huge financial capital that it can invest in its own production. A great example of this is the film The Irishman with Robert De Niro, in the production of which Netflix invested $ 159 million!
For comparison, the Oscar-nominated film Once upon a Time in Hollywood had a budget of "only" $ 90 million. And the last episode of Star Wars, eagerly awaited by tens of millions of people around the world, had a budget of $ 275 million. That's not a huge difference at all!
In addition, the budgets of films shot exclusively for streaming services can be expected to grow rapidly. Only a few days ago, the announcement was made that even movies that have never appeared in cinemas and premiered only on streaming services will be able to compete for the Oscars next year. If the production of Neflix, Amazon, HBO, Apple TV, Disney + and others turns out to be of sufficient quality, why couldn't the film academy make it a rule?