Carleen Hsu, a film professor at Michigan State University, was skeptical when Netflix began broadcasting movies online in 2007.
"I felt really torn because media, like cinema, is something that is meant to be watched, taken in, and experienced by an audience collectively," Hsu said. "Theatrical viewing is when the directors' vision comes to life, and streaming services pull you away from that."
According to a Statistica report from 2021, 62% of American consumers have signed up for a streaming service as of May 2020.
Hsu, who also works as a filmmaker, has claimed that the undivided attention of a theatrical audience is beneficial to the creative process.
Hsu, on the other hand, acknowledged that the streaming sector had some redeeming features. Hsu believes it's fantastic that streaming has made media consumption more accessible to the masses.
Junior in interdisciplinary humanities subscriber Faith Pan attributes streaming's meteoric rise to its adaptability and convenience.
Pan has stated that she enjoys streaming since "it's constantly there and available" and she is terrible at keeping up with shows.
According to media and technology professor David McCarty, the proliferation of streaming services and the need for them to create original content has resulted in the establishment of a plethora of studios by which these companies can do so. McCarty has stated that the business aspects of the film industry are of particular importance to him.
According to an article published by Business Insider, Netflix has already released 371 films and television episodes this year. Again in 2021, Netflix was ahead of the pack with 39% of original material released from their studio, followed closely by HBO Max at 37%.
I think it all comes down to supply and demand," McCarty said. It's obvious that the law of supply and demand was much more in balance in the past, when there were fewer cable channels. However, these days, anybody with a camera and a passable idea can go out and shoot and develop a program.
Destinee Shelly, a junior majoring in journalism, has memberships to both Netflix and Hulu. As a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, she thinks more people are using streaming services now than before.
Shelly lamented, "No one is really eager to go out anymore." Because of the weather and the closure of schools, everyone was "simply sitting in their house streaming movies and TV shows," as one person put it.
McCarty maintains that, despite the popularity of streaming services, movie theaters will continue to thrive because there will always be an audience for the traditional cinematic experience. According to McCarty, concessions have been crucial to the theater's financial success and the overall success of the moviegoing experience.
COVID-19 has caused a significant shift in how many individuals enjoy watching films. Two-eighths of those polled in a 2021 Statistica survey said they favored going to the theater, while only fifteen percent said they favored streaming. Nonetheless, in June 2020, in the midst of the pandemic, only 14% of respondents still favored cinemas, whilst 36% now preferred streaming.
Moviegoing "was a social occasion, either as a date or with a group of friends," McCarty said. To quote one critic: "The enormous screen with the surround system is a big motivation to go to the theater, especially for many individuals who don't have that to recreate at home."
Though streaming movies is more convenient, Pan is one of the many who still like visiting to the theater.
Pan said, "Going to the movies is now such an experience with COVID." Even though we were only viewing it at home, I can't help but feel that something is missing. Undoubtedly, I am a fan of the movie theater.