How SVOD Services Like Netflix, Hulu, and Prime Can Help Cinemas

It's obvious there's a love-hate relationship between streamers and cinemas, especially since studios shop projects to both platforms all the time. In reality, streamers couldn't be booming more than ever since the pandemic largely forced audiences to stay home. The multiple options don't look to completely oversaturate the market as consumers remain comfortable picking and choosing. For the few who still resist, many of these films still get the physical or PVOD release. I propose another option given these trying times with major SVOD outlets like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video help out their primary rival, the cinema.

How SVOD Services Like Netflix and Hulu Can Help Cinemas
Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video logos

SVOD services may have little to no incentive to release their content to a competing format but will do so to meet award considerations like The Irishman (2019). Why should they consider a more extensive olive branch, especially with the free trial memberships they offer? Let's look at the long term value of these relationships. Given how sparse cinemas are opening, especially at the major market level, the ones that are staying open are already starved for content. Sure for the cinephile, it's nice to have Back to the Future (1985), and The Empire Strikes Back (1980) available, but why can't Netflix loan critically-acclaimed films like The Old Guard or The Trial of the Chicago 7 for limited runs? I think Hulu's Palm Springs would be due for a modest box office run. Would the returns be that much less so than films that are already 30 years old on up?

How SVOD Services Like Netflix, Hulu, and Prime Can Help Cinemas
L – The Old Guard. R – Palm Springs. Images courtesy of Netflix and Neon/Hulu

Again, you have those who don't have a subscription who might not be in a Redbox-type of mood or, dare I say it, want the novelty to watch a good film on a large screen that's not home they've been cooped up in for months. Cinemas have opened up the idea of doing special engagements like those of Fathom Events. So the idea of marathons of film and television shows has also been explored. Full rentals of auditoriums never stopped being a thing. If things get back to normal, it's time to stop being stubborn because this is a "prime" opportunity where everyone can win.

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About Tom Chang

I'm a follower of pop culture from gaming, comics, sci-fi, fantasy, film, and TV for over 30 years. I grew up reading magazines like Starlog, Mad, and Fangora. As a professional writer for over 10 years, Star Wars was the first sci-fi franchise I fell in love with. I'm a nerd-of-all-trades.
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