A major competitor to movie theaters these days are the various home theater options viewers now possess. Just as there are many reasons to watch in the theater, there are many reasons to watch at home. This could be for comfort, cost savings, or a feigning interest in a mediocre movie release season. There are also options that are many times only available outside of the theater. Whatever the reason, movie watching at home has developed over the years and is only getting more relevant.
Home theater options have been a big industry for over forty years. Since the launch of early formats, like Beta and VHS, customers have been excited to watch movies on other formats than complicated and pricey 8mm reels. Fast forward to the present, and the digital age has upped the game to another level, leaving short period formats, like LaserDisc, HD DVD, or even Blu-Ray for that matter, left behind as a nostalgic memory at best. Even then, stronger offerings like DVD, which had been the standard for almost fifteen years, are inevitably being lost to streaming and downloadable content. Netflix, Hulu, OnDemand, Amazon Instant Video, and many others are all options to get the home viewing experience. Even premium and basic cable stations provide more content than ever, but are at the mercy of which films the studios release to them and at what cost.
The true disc believers still have the RedBox option, which (sort of) rose from the ashes of the fallen Blockbuster/Hollywood Video days. I remember not too long ago going to Blockbuster, I was the last of a dying breed. RedBox is really a “kiosk Blockbuster” that could have happened years before its time. Some studios are still pushing that disc format, not wanting to stray from the norm, much like I was avoiding moving away from my local Blockbuster.
It boils down to the difficulty studios face to keep up with the home viewing methods customers prefer, which would make anyone hesitant on determining the best horse to bet on. I have a hard time keeping up with it, and I really enjoy watching movies on the most current format. I can only imagine how foreign this all might be to the occasional viewer. Distributors should focus not only how movies are viewed at home, but more importantly, how the customer wants to view them. With so many options, it is really important that the right movies make it to the right viewers. Currently, to get as much content as possible, a mix of them all is necessary, so availability is key.
As history shows, what customers really want is to see the content they want to see for a reasonable price, and they are willing to pay for this as most formats had big sales at the time it was relevant. Why not give them a better option? Often times I’ve thought to pay more for my Netflix subscription to get exactly what I want and lose all of the content that I don’t necessarily need. Sorting out customer behaviors and wants is a big hold up, but it becomes much worse for the sake of profit and inability to keep up with the latest demands.
In the meantime, I will continue my personal efforts on knowing what the new way to watch is. I recently was reading up on a newer site that is gaining interest, Popcorn Time. It offers the latest content with limited to no cost. Although the biggest hurdle it must overcome is the dreaded piracy label it has already been tagged with in its early stages.