It’s funny when I think back to the older days as a youth, a mere child with nothing to think about but the very moment I was in. But, the cinema… that was a different moment one I always looked forward to and could never let go unnoticed. I remember tugging on my older brother and sisters shirt, tapping them annoyingly, just begging them to go see Steven Spielberg’s E.T. Vividly, I remember the feeling I got when they said, “alright already, well go this weekend? Is that fine little Mikey” (that’s what my family had called me growing up, because I was rather large) doesn’t matter. Anyway, I would just about die! Nothing filled my childhood ambitions like convincing them to see something on the big screen. And now… being an uncle to my 3 nephews and niece, I don’t see that same theatre love. Frankly, it just doesn’t matter to them, I mean I don’t blame them; they have iPads and can watch them whenever they want. But, then was different, especially for me knowing I had to wait close to 8 months to just see that movie on DVD or VHS. Oh have times have changed. The world of Cinema is slowly leaving the pioneers who respected it.
[Podcast intro music]
This is InQUERY, an information station for listeners like you. Sit back and enjoy, the show is about to begin…
(Cue deep, dark, slow music)
DESTRUCTION. LOSS. CHANGE… the film industry is in peril.
And… If you’re a movie buff like myself, you don’t only know the potential terror in this sound… but of course, the greatness of silencing it.
Now… This podcast isn’t about war or corruption for that matter… it’s something much closer to home, the death of cinema. I don’t think anyone of us could imagine a future without films… but this is what’s in store for us… if, of course, we continue to take advantage of those who supply this art?
We are taking advantage of the film industry and coming to the realization that our spreading our of legs out and feeling the chilled leather sofa on our skin is simply heaven… how easy and penniless it is to grab a soda and throw in a pack of Uncle Ben’s Minute Rice to the microwave... Sounds nice to me and seems like comfort and convenience are changing the face of the film industry.
Typically, the general public will now decide on watching a movie at home, free and online for that matter. GO-Gulf an online statistic collecting website had concluded that 35.2% of people watch their films online instead of visiting a place that was once so marvellous; an architected acoustic theatre room with the access of purchasing popcorn, hotdogs, chips, candy, all that JUNK.
(Link: http://www.go-gulf.com/blog/online-piracy/ )
Quoting Smith and Telang, who quoted James Gianpalos, Co-Chairman, Twentieth Century Fox Filmed Entertainment stating, “We can’t compete with free. That’s an economic paradigm that doesn’t work” (Smith and Telang).
Each year people are going to cinemas less as shown in the 5% decrease revenue, according to Theatrical Marketing Statistics the U.S/Canadian box office has generated 500 million dollars less than the previous year of 2013. So of course the prices are rising, not enough people are going anymore. The average regular ticket price has increased by $3.00 CDN in the last decade (Theatrical Market Statistics) not including IMAX 3D or Ultra AVX theatre rooms which are $5.00-$7.00 more expensive.
If we’re lucky the removal of cinema will give birth to a rise in home theatre entertainment. Now I believe we will have that privilege of change in content distribution but what if, what if film creation stopped altogether? What if the money just didn’t work out for those in the industry? I fear the day we will lose an art.
And yes there will come a point where the distributers of film content will ask for a price that is simply not worth paying and the cinema will go inevitably bankrupt.
Have we become lazy or is technologically too advanced for social-spaces? This sort of question will be answered in my blog post on the website. It is an ongoing debate on other victims of online movie space such as blockbuster being conquered by Netflix.
(Link: http://stephanie-bell-m08b.squarespace.com/blog-season1/adedb36d-7d26-415d-836e-fa5099666a06 )
What I have investigated for this podcast is the Film Industry and its friendly enemy known as the Internet and the online distribution of content. How home theatres and easily accessible content through smart devices (tablets, phones, game consoles, televisions, and laptops) are stealing massive, business sustaining profits from Cineplex, Odeon, AMC and every other movie theatre worldwide. This is reshaping the landscape of the film industry distribution lines, and the need for a physical copy (DVD) is lost. All content is now shared and accessed through smart devices and personal accounts due Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, which aid in the transition from public theatres to private ones at home. I mean this sounds silly, but it’s a commonplace now. Of course we could access it online, DUH! This is the 21 st century, not the Dark Ages.
(See Frank Smith on TED Talks https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QvrnHLOXABc)
Two thirds of Americans were polled and said they would rather watch a movie at home, where one fifth said they would prefer to go out to a theatre and the rest had no preference or don’t watch movies (Gocobachi). Why wouldn’t they… the general public has a surround sound system, HD/3D TV, and their favourite sofa; so why go to a theatre when we can have the private comfort of our own home? That sort of attitude towards the cinema is going to gruesomely damage the industry’s profits, content budget, and salaries for those working in the business.
This may sound bizarre but it is more than possible, the cinema will become a part of history, an art and entertainment out of date only to be ironically seen in films at home.
Commenting on this issue is Mr. Carlo Taurasi, whom I interviewed at random in Downtown Toronto, I was lucky enough too be invited over to conduct the interview as well as take pictures of his theatre room. Was this strictly by chance? Or is it evidence of the growth of home theatre entertainment? Not sure. But his home theatre happened to be quite extravagant (see picture below) but nonetheless, a home cinema.
Carlo, like many did once enjoy the cinema but has found an alternate way of watching films.
I’m going to find out why he made the switch, what were the advantages and disadvantages that influenced his decision and of course where he sees the future heading.
[Podcast theme song]
Michael: So Carlo, simple question here, where do you prefer to watch films?
Carlo: Uh, well actually I have my own home theatre. I know people nowadays will typically watch them on their laptops, phone, or whatever technology they have. Just about anything can be accessed online anyhow and it’s not difficult, hell my parents can find a movie online and watch it, you know?
So in response to your question, obviously in my home theatre, its more convenient, I use providers such as Apple T.V, Netflix, TMN on demand (The Movie Network), anything subscription based to online purchases. What’s really nice is watching it with my family whenever I like. I can just walk down to my basement and relax, in a private room, and it’s cheaper for both the movie and snacks.
For them, the industry, they are probably losing money, but I think if they want to make more cash they should become an online business.
Now that’s an interesting idea, and it sparked a light bulb in me to do more research and I came across an article that suggested a similar idea. They’re trying to do just that… Who are they? They are Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, the distributers of the products.
Read in Schager’s article of “6 Ways the Movie Distribution Model is Changing” published onto: http://www.vulture.com/2014/12/6-ways-the-movie-distribution-model-is-changing.html, we can see this change occurring. Quote:
“…Netflix aims not only to distribute certain films exclusively to members, but to actually *make *those movies as well — thereby becoming a one-stop shop for production and exhibition. In doing so, it implies that in the future, companies with requisite resources (Netflix, Amazon, Hulu) will seek to totally eschew the Hollywood machine, creating and delivering content all by themselves” (Schager). End quote.
This is a big turn around for the industry. Can they surpass and overpower Cineplex, Odeon and AMC? Probably. I mean, indefinably we would mourn the loss of cinema… but it will be our own doing. We would be the murderers. Both the guilt and the blood all on our hands.
Back to Carlo on the benefits of this change…
Carlo: You know Mike… who doesn’t like the big screen! I used to love going to the movies with my family, my friends the whole crew but now that I can literally access any movie I want, whenever I want... without having to worry about paying for expensive food, driving all the way there and making a night out of it I can just get the movie over with in the time that it is and have time for another movie if I wanted too. Needless to say I can pause it… take a washroom break, eat something, rewind, talk, be on my phone, just do my own thing without being disrespectful to anybody.
Michael: And I’m assuming you don’t mind waiting for the movie to be released?
Carlo: it’s not even that bad; some movies that are in theatres are actually accessible through Cineplex’s app on the SMART T.V. So the industry is clearly making a transition from one generation to another. But if were really impatient I would and could just stream it online.
Michael: Without a doubt it is a preference. Whether you’re financially able to add a home theatre to your home or to just watch it on a device, people are moving away from this tradition of cinema. The industry itself is evidently working on ways to change their distribution process.
Is there anything you would like to add? About the industry or where you see it may be heading?
Carlo: Off the top of my head, I agree to the notion of the movie theatres being deleted by online technologies. I’m one of few that pay for videos because I am lucky enough to do so financially, but for most people coming out of college with a student debt, you really think they’ll pay their college funds on a night out at the theatres. No CHANCE! They’re going to take out their laptop, tablet or whatever they own and watch it there. For free.
Michael [aside]: He’s not lying, just check out Levine’s article with the Guardian’s titled, “How the internet has all but destroyed the market for films, music, and newspapers”, quote:
(Link: http://www.theguardian.com/media/2011/aug/14/robert-levine-digital-free-ride )
“…All of these companies faced the same problem: they weren't collecting enough of the revenue being generated by their work. The public hasn't lost its appetite for television, journalism or film; shows, articles and movies reach more consumers than ever online. The problem is that, although the Internet has expanded the audience for media, it has all but destroyed the market for it” (Levine). End quote.
The other issue is if the business starts to lose money and then has to make a decision on spending its money on either online marketing such as social media though Facebook pages, Twitter trailers, playing the accompanying iPhone app (PC Plus, 2011). Could this dilemma lead to possible bankruptcy? That’s another episode all together.
A brief mention to particular documentaries that express the change in film and the industry are *Side by Side *directed by Christopher Kenneally, *The Cutting Edge: The Magic of Movie Editing* directed by Wendy Apple and *These Amazing Shadows* directed by Paul Mariano and Kurt Norton.
But the important thing here is the cinema may be no more and can you live with that? Because with technology I think we have lost much already and we are forced to adapt to that fact. Things come and go. As the saying goes, with death comes life. We can only gain through the advancement of our society obviously paying the price of losing what we grew up with… this is the film industry now.
GO-Gulf. Online Piracy in Numbers - Facts and Statistics [Infographic]. (2011, November 1). Retrieved October 21, 2015, from http://www.go-gulf.com/blog/online-piracy/
Gocobachi, P. (2014) Adults prefer staying home over going to the movies, survey says. Retrieved November 6, 2015.
Levine, R. (2011, August 14). How the internet has all but destroyed the market for films, music and newspapers. Retrieved October 19, 2015.
PC Plus. Are cinemas under threat from video on demand? (2011, December 4). Retrieved October 21, 2015, from http://www.techradar.com/us/news/home-cinema/are-cinemas-under-threat-from-video-on-demand-1044059/1
Schager, N. (2014, December 10). 6 Ways the Movie Distribution Model Is Changing. Retrieved October 21, 2015.
Smith, M., & Telang, R. (2009). Competing with Free: The Impact of Movie Broadcasts on DVD Sales and Internet Piracy. MIS QUARTERLY, 3(2), 321-338.
Theatrical Market Statistics, Global. 2014. Retrieved October 7, 2015, from http://www.mpaa.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/MPAA-Theatrical-Market-Statistics-2014.pdf