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Streaming media to overtake theatrical film and Blu-ray/DVD revenue by 2017

06.04.2014

Physical media is dead! Long live streaming!

Well, maybe not quite yet, but industry trends appear to indicate that in just three more years, streaming services like Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu will become the preferred method for consuming films and television, even surpassing theatrical films. A study indicates that by 2016, streaming will exceed Blu-ray and DVD sales and then movie theater box office by the following year. Currently, streaming services account for $8.5 billion revenue which will double by 2017.

Before we begin calling for the death of seeing first run films in movie theaters as we have done for almost a century, the PriceWaterhouseCooper study also shows that theater box office will increase by 16% over the same time period with an expected film ticket running just under $10 by 2018. Hollywood won't be concerned, but the public has spoken that they prefer their media on demand and instantly without worrying about carrying a physical disc or taking up storage in their home.

I have always considered myself a traditionalist when it comes to my media. I have always had walls of shelving lined with VHS tapes, DVDs, books, and CDs. As time has gone by, that music was replaced by a single iPod. Then, my VHS went away to be replaced with DVD and Blu-ray. I swore I would never give up paper books, but I still find myself using a tablet for reading new novels. I love unwrapping a new movie and popping in that disc as I enjoy browsing the special features at my leisure, but I have purchased some digital only movies for my kids to enjoy. Eventually, we will all go the all digital route.

But fear not! Just like many decried the death of vinyl, records are experiencing a resurgence in recent years. They will likely always be an audience for physical media, but those folks will become the minority. I feel a bit of paranoia not owning a movie physically as it leaves the feeling that at any point if your internet goes down you cannot watch a film while your Blu-ray or VCR always has worked as long as you had electricity.

Overtaking revenue doesn't mean that studios will suddenly stop making DVDs and Blu-rays right away, but it certainly indicates a decline is coming. Where will you stand on this decline? Is it good for the industry or is this a sign of the end?

Source: Variety

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