With all the news of motion picture companies collapsing or getting bought out, and streaming services struggling to turn a profit, you can be excused for thinking the future of entertainment looks bleak. But the annual THEME report published by The Motion Picture Association reveals that 2019 saw the industry earn more than 101 billion dollars in the global entertainment market for the first time ever.
This new record sets the entertainment industry at a higher degree of affluence than at any other point in history, but so fundamentally changed is the entertainment landscape upon which this feat was achieved that it bears closer study.
The report indicates that while most people still go to the theater to watch movies at least once a year, there has been a significant slump in the total number of times a person goes out for a cinema viewing. Movies like Joker, The Lion King and Avengers: Endgame managed to entice viewers to watch these features on the big screen, but it is becoming harder and harder to motivate people to go to the theater regularly, especially for small-to-mid-budget productions.
Instead, more people are turning to online streaming services for their entertainment needs. That’s right. Predictably, streaming platforms have turned out to be the biggest disruptors in the world of entertainment, taking up an increasingly bigger share of the theater-going audience, and rewriting the rules of Hollywood storytelling with short and long-form content. With more than 58 billion dollars brought in by digital and mobile entertainment platforms, it is more clear than ever that streaming services have long since transformed from being the plucky young upstarts challenging big movie studios to the main source of entertainment for a new generation of consumers.
Ironically, this new milestone in yearly earnings for the industry arrives at a time when the world of entrainment may be looking at its biggest challenge ever, in the form of the Coronavirus. Almost every major movie has been delayed, both in production and with its release dates. The movies that are already in theaters are suffering from a lack of audience. Promotional campaigns are getting canceled or going online, and there is no telling how long this state of emergency is going to last.
With the studios hemorrhaging money because of all the delays, producers are scrambling to come up with alternative business models, and most of them involve going digital in one way or the other.
What this means is that the online streaming services are about to become even more important to the entertainment landscape, while theater chains are in serious danger of becoming obsolete. It will be interesting to see how this new challenge is dealt with by an industry that has always been reluctant to evolve and adapt unless forced to do so. In the meantime, the entertainment industry can celebrate its latest 101 billion year-end earnings. It might be a long time before that particular record gets broken. This news was first reported by MotionPictures.org.