Entertainment companies gear up as mobile and home movie streaming become the next big wave
Where does the future of entertainment lie? All signs point to instant video streaming that can be accessed through home-bound equipment or mobile devices.
The owners of the movie theater chains and DVD producers are coming up with various solutions in order to ensure that their audiences keep coming. For some, indicators have been troubling. In an Uproxx report, all signs point to millennials preferring to stay home and watch the latest blockbuster flick on their entertainment complex. This is because, ultimately, it is much cheaper than buying a ticket and the inevitable popcorn and drinks to go to the multiplex. To draw their viewers back in, movie theater managers have been emphasizing quality by upgrading their food choices and literally booting out rude, loud people who disrupt everyone else’s movie-watching pleasure. Uproxx writer Dan Seitz forecasts that “home streaming” is the next big wave and Hollywood producers have taken note, releasing their most recent flicks to cable TV and other channels just a few months after their theatrical premieres.
This is acknowledged by no less than Criterion Collection and Turner Classic Movies which recently launched its own exclusive home-streaming vehicle called Filmstruck. In a report byIndiewire, Criterion president Peter Becker affirms that DVD sales are alive and well; however, they do want to make their 500-film-title-strong collection immediately available to an audience who is willing to pay a fee to watch any (or all of it) at any given time, without waiting for the next DVD version to come down the production pipeline.
Netflix, the undisputed king of movie-and-TV streaming, has known this for some time and has been ruling the digital landscape the past few years. As Wired chronicles its rise, it has ventured beyond offering the usual list of favorite features and classic TV series to capture a whole new, and dedicated audience by developing original, top-rating content like Daredevil, Jessica Jones, House of Cards, and Narcos, just to name a few. It is currently enjoying international success with a virtual foothold in 80 countries, and it shows no signs of stopping.
Far from resting on its laurels, Netflix is already eyeing the next digital arena to conquer, leveraging its success in home streaming to mobile streaming. It wants the millions of cell device users and smartphone buffs to tune into their favorite programs or feature films while riding a subway home, in-between meetings, or during the office lunch break. The entertainment company had gone down this road before years ago—and succeeded beyond expectations, persuading subscribers to select and click on a playlist of movies while chilling out at home, instead of running to the nearby video store to rent a DVD.
Poor video quality on a cell device remains its foremost obstacle, as any YouTube aficionado can sympathize with. Recently, though, Netflix met this challenge head on by providing its cell-device-owning subscribers a new tool called Cellular Data Usage that can help them enjoy the high-quality video at prices they can afford. A smartphone owner can easily switch off the default settings, click on “Cellular Data Settings” as an option and choose how much data he can use that will light up his cell screen with the best cinematic flicks without blowing his budget. He can also adjust the Netflix default setting that currently allows the subscriber a maximum of 3 hours of video streaming.
One factor that can help improve the quality and the consistency of movie streaming, regardless of where it happens, is uninterrupted connectivity. Low bandwidth, inadequate IT infrastructure, the location of the subscriber and user, and the population in that area can affect the speed of the streaming and the clarity of the video being played. Similar to how entertainment companies are coming up with radical approaches to conquer video streaming, more innovative solutions would have to be introduced to ensure uninterrupted connectivity.
One example of that kind of groundbreaking technology is the 5BARz International network extender, a portable plug-and-play device that easily powers up the weakening cell signals of any cell device within a 4,000-square-meter radius. The escalation of cell signal levels from near zero to a full-powered five bars ultimately makes other previous mitigating factors like the quality of the surrounding wi-fi routers or the remoteness of the location irrelevant.
The kind of device that the movie watcher is using will also not be a hurdle. The network extender can make movie streaming as efficient and smooth whether it is being used by a work-at-home mom using her laptop to fill her Netflix fix, or her teenage son testing out Criterion’s Flickscreen on his iPhone.
Expect more innovations, both from the tech companies and the entertainment giants, to roll out as movie streaming becomes increasingly mobile. The latest contender to join the fray is media monolith Disney which, says Digital Trends, is considering a $1 million investment to transform all those dazzling shows and series that have kept generations of families happy into the next Netflix-like platform.