An interesting development appears to be happening in Hollywood at present. Sean Parker, the founder of Napster is developing a project called the Screening Room
The idea is that audiences will no longer need to wait for a period of time after the film has left cinemas, to watch it at home. They will be able to watch it at the same time of Cinema release.
So you could visit your cinema or watch it in the comfort of your own home, as you would any on demand service. The proposed price would be $35 per film, with $20 going back to cinemas to compensate for their losses.
The idea has been backed by the likes of Steven Spielberg; Peter Jackson and J J Abrams but it is not without opposition, with the likes of Christopher Nolan and James Cameron suggesting it could cause more harm than good.
I certainly can see the advantages and disadvantages. The winner will no doubt come down to what audiences demand.
$35 for a family to watch a film would be considerably cheaper than going to the cinema to see it I’m sure. It would also be great for those not in the area of a multiplex cinema, as an example I wanted to see High Rise this week, yet my cinema chose to devote numerous screens to Kung Fu Panda 3 and not show it. My only option now is to wait for the home rental release.
Yet for myself, you can not beat seeing a film on the big screen, it’s a magical experience, although it has changed from my earlier trips, no longer is the screen offered to us from behind a curtain, for example.
Despite seeing Jaws numerous times on TV and video, on its recent re-release when the film was digitally restored for its BluRay release, I had to take the advantage, when prior to its release, it received a limited run in cinemas.
The cinema, offers a great way to see the film on the biggest format possible and for those without home surround sound, the best way to hear it too. Developments like 3-D; 4DX and Imax also help encourage audiences to venture into the cinemas. Also compared to sporting; concert or theatre events, it is still relatively cheap.
The positive, other than given the consumer more options to see a film, is of course that cinemas will need to up their game to compete with the potential loss of custom. For the film makers, thus option to offer how consumer wants could even help by reducing piracy!
We’ve blogged before about how cinemas need to look after its audiences more, unlimited cinema cards are great yet restricting ideas such as allocated seating have put people off.
Increasing amounts of adverts prior to the film do not help either, these now tend to be around 30-40 minutes, so with longer film times, we can be in the cinema nearly half a day!
Audiences feel they are being ripped off by food pricing, yet this is where cinemas income source mostly comes from, so with screening room, they may need to look at alternative better/healthier food options.
Fun days around the films could help. It could also see a rise in re-releases of classic films and event cinema to attract audiences.
I will always want the cinema experience but I totally understand how those with families or commitments, would much prefer the chance to watch the film at home.
Maybe a compromise would be to reduce the release to rental window to an even shorter period. It tends to be around 4-5 months before the film arrives for home viewing, maybe 2-3 months would be better
Where do you stand on screening room? Do you think it could kill or benefit cinema? If it did come through, how do you think Cinemas could win audiences back? We would love to hear from you here at Barking Mad about Films
Source for article was the Guardian: http://www.theguardian.com/film/2016/mar/14/peter-jackson-steven-spielberg-jj-abrams-screening-room-napster-sean-parker?CMP=share_btn_link
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