Streaming vs theaters

Who is winning the streaming vs. theaters war? Netflix and other streaming services are hurting movie theaters, right? Wrong. While that’s been a hot-button topic ever since streaming platforms began to become more prevalent in our lives, new data reveals that it’s just not true. In fact, people who tend to stream more also go to the movies more. It’s almost as if people who like to watch movies will also go to the movies! Weird, I know.

Everyone knows Netflix is killing movie theaters. What this article presupposes is…maybe it’s not. According to a study by EY’s Quantitative Economics and Statistics, people who tend to stream a lot of movies also tend to go to the movies just as much. This suggests that a large amount of movie watchers don’t differentiate between theater and streaming. They just want to watch movies – which means theaters and streaming services like Netflix both come out winners. Per the study:

Those who attended movies in theaters more frequently also tended to consume streaming content more frequently. For every race and age demographic, average streaming hours per week was higher for respondents who visited a movie theater 9 times or more than respondents who visited a movie theater only once or twice. Moreover, respondents who visited a movie theater only once or twice in the last 12 months reported an average of 7 hours of streaming per week versus 11 hours of streaming per week for those who visited a movie theater 9 or more times.

To further bolster these findings, the study also adds that viewers who don’t go to the movies that often are also less likely to stream content at home:

Those who did not attend a movie in a theater in the last 12 months were more likely to report less streaming activity than those who did attend at least one movie in the same period. Of those who didn’t visit a movie theater in the last 12 months, nearly half (49%) didn’t stream any online content. Of those who did not visit a movie theater at all in the last 12 months, only 18% streamed online content for 8 or more hours per week.

Streaming is more popular than ever, and more and more big streaming services are on the horizon, like Disney+ and AppleTV+. But despite these additional streaming options, movie attendance is steady. In fact, it’s better than steady. Per CNBC, “Last year, the domestic box office had a record-breaking year, hauling in $11.9 billion, there was a 5% rise in the number of movie tickets sold, and 263 million people — 75 percent of the population — saw at least one movie in theaters.” In other words, the animosity movie theaters have felt towards streaming has been a bit overblown, and everyone can relax now.

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