It's finally going to happen: money made from streaming services worldwide will soon be higher than cinema takings for the first time, says a new report from media analysts Ampere.
While streaming subscription revenues in the US surpassed cinema takings in 2017, globally cinema has still been marginally ahead. However, UK video-on-demand takings are expected to outstrip cinema by the end of this year, and with China following suit in 2019, the global scales will finally tip in favour of streaming.
It's perhaps slightly surprising that it's taken this long, and that the difference isn't higher: cinema takings are expected to come in at just under $40bn globally next year, while OTT (over-the-top -- industry jargon for Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video and co) services will rake in $46bn.
Unsurprisingly, Ampere's data shows that more expensive cinema tickets lead to fewer people going to the flicks. With the new Odeon Leicester Square charging up to £40 (!!!) for a single ticket, it's hardly shocking that people would choose to go to a gig or stay home with Netflix instead.
There's a clear correlation between ticket prices and cinema attendance. In Mexico, where tickets cost just $2.50 (under £2), people go to the movies an average of 3.3 times a year. In France, it's about $8 (£6ish) and people go 1.5 times a year. In Scandinavia, where a ticket will cost you $13+ (about a tenner), people go less than once a year on average.
In 9 of the 15 markets surveyed, including the UK, the average cinema ticket price is higher than a month of subscription to a video-on-demand service. When you look at it like that, it's surprising anyone still goes to the cinema at all. Perhaps teenagers necking in the back row have something to contribute to society after all.
Still, the widely-held perception that streaming is killing cinema is unfounded, says Ampere. Streaming subscribers tend to go to the flicks more often than non-subscribers, meaning there's a group of film fans who are basically propping up the whole enterprise.
Senior Analyst Toby Holleran comments:
"Our analysis of consumers in 15 markets reveals that although there are differences in the cost of cinema attendance by country, there’s clearly an appetite for content amongst some consumers whether that be on the big screen, or a smaller one.
The key for cinema is to understand that while SVoD [streaming/video on demand] subscribers are more avid cinema goers, this may not always be the case. Therefore, the shared experience of watching a film on the big screen must remain an enticing —and realistically priced—one."
Please also apply that to the popcorn. Thank you.