COVID-19 puts streaming and movie theatres head to head

Carter Mudgett, Government Reporter

With the past year overshadowed by the Coronavirus pandemic, companies have had to find a better way to deliver entertainment to people. Because movie theaters have shut down across the country for the better part of 2020 and early 2021, streaming services have skyrocketed in popularity. Big brand companies, such as Netflix, HBO, Disney+, and Amazon Prime Video are profiting off of newfound time to watch shows and movies. The surge in streaming during the pandemic is incredible, but will it last?

FILE – This Aug. 13, 2020, file photo shows a logo for Netflix on a remote control in Portland, Ore. Netflix’s video streaming service has surpassed 200 million subscribers for the first time as its expanding line-up of TV series and movies continues to captivate people stuck at home during the ongoing battle against the pandemic. The subscriber milestone highlighted Netflix’s fourth-quarter results released Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021. (AP Photo/Jenny Kane, File) (Jenny Kane)

On-demand streaming services have yielded vast benefits when compared to in-person theaters. The need for social distancing and wearing a mask in public is eliminated if people choose to watch from the comfort of their own home. 

While many film production companies have chosen to wait out the pandemic, others opted to release straight onto streaming services. Movies set to be released later on this year are split on whether or not they will be released on the big screen or not.

According to a recent Morning Consult poll, only 14 percent of people, ages 18 years and older, strongly preferred watching a movie for the first time in a theatre. On the other hand, 36 percent of people, ages 18 years and older, strongly preferred streaming a movie for the first time as of June 2020.

There is no question that online streaming services yield a plethora of benefits for the general population. From eliminating the need for leaving the safety of the home, to access to hundreds of films at the touch of a button, theaters have a tough competitor. Only time will tell if streaming will harm the age-old movie theater or not. 


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