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Broken Windows How Streaming Is Redefining the Movie Proposition

Report by Tim Mulligan
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The 20,000 Foot View:         significantly reduced theatrical movie releases and has necessitated a shift to streaming premiers for studios, especially those with recently launched direct-to-consumer services. While Disney has stated that it will return to theatrical releases in May        rival Warner Media has boldly decided to jump feet-first into combined same-day theatrical and streaming releases for its 2021 movie slate. Consumer sentiment against returning to theatres post-COVID has now combined with the newfound familiarity of first-window home streaming access. This means a permanent breach in the theatrical window. The increasingly impactful ROI on feature films versus episodic scripted dramas for video on demand coincides with a consumer decline in binge viewing, and will elevate the value of an exclusive movie slate for direct-to-consumer video services and consumers alike. The golden age of TV content which has been the engine of SVOD is now tipping back towards the shorter-form gold standard of the feature film, benefiting video services with a pedigree of delivering content at this level.

Key Insights

  • The        pandemic has made audiences retreat to home-based entertainment –        of consumers plan to spend less time going to the cinema post lockdown
  • SVOD users over-index for future cinema-going reticence, with        of Disney+ weekly active users less likely return to theatres
  • However, SVOD users also over-index for future cinema-going intention too:        of Disney+ WAUs are more likely return to theatres, compared to        consumer average 
  • Paid film downloaders are niche, making up only        of all consumers
  • Paid film downloaders are both digitally savvy and TV conservative, making premium video on demand a potential streaming subscription inhibitor
  • Paid film downloaders over-index for SVOD weekly active use
  • English-speaking markets lead for paid film downloader penetration, with nearly two thirds aged       
  • The year-on-year consumer decline in binge viewing from        to        underlines the importance of offering complete, single-viewing long-form content for retention
  • Movie studio content IP will enable HBO Max and Disney+ to become prime beneficiaries of fandom leveraging for driving service adoption in a contested marketplace
  • The streaming of movie premiers will enable media majors’ direct-to-consumer services to offset the broader content slate and bigger budgets of market-leader Netflix

Companies and brands mentioned in this report: Amazon, Amazon Prime Video, Comcast, Disney, Disney+, HBO Max, Netflix, Paramount, Paramount+, Peacock, Warner Bros., Warner Media

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