Star Wars: the Last Jedi raked in over US$220m in its first weekend alone – but it’s not enough to keep cinema alive. The premiere weekend was easily the highest grossing of 2017, but industry analysts say this year was still 3.9 per cent lower than last year, and this trend will only continue.
What’s to blame? Streaming, duh. And maybe the enormous ticket prices at the cinemas but hey – you gotta have a scapegoat for these things, right?
Pocketbook did some research into the effect the streaming industry has on the cinemas – particularly over the traditionally strong post-Christmas period.
After analysing the anonymised spending habits of more than 200,000 Pocketbook users, as a percentage of population, it showed Netflix and other streaming services are drastically overtaking cinemas in terms of people who transact in December. And it doesn’t looks this trend will change any time soon.
“As the graph shows, streaming (red) is on an impressive trajectory from 2014 to 2017 while cinema (blue) is largely flat-lining when comparing December patronage across the three years,” Pocketbook said.
Looking at the past three silly seasons, streaming increased from 2.77 per cent of the population in December 2014, to 17.79 per cent in December 2015, to 26.4 per cent in December 2016.
“Based on these projections and growth in streaming services between January and June this year, just over half of the population (50.18 per cent) will tune into streaming services over the Christmas break,” Pocketbook predicts.
When compared to the year-on-year growth witnessed in streaming, Pocketbook says cinema patronage is “sputtering along”.
In December 2014, 8.48 per cent of the population went to the cinemas, 11.79 per cent did so in December 2015, while 11.93 per cent visited the big screen in December 2016. Based on these figures, and the data available for the first half of 2017, Pocketbook reckons 12.99 per cent of Australians will visit the cinemas this December.
While Netflix and Stan both started officially in Australia in 2015, Netflix was already popular via proxy servers with 200,000 Australians already subscribing before the local launch. In 2014, it was Australia’s second most popular paid content media company – before it was even available.
Adding to cinema’s competition in December, it seems Netflix and Stan have adopted the Summer blockbuster cinema model for original content.
Netflix is releasing the second series of The Crown, and Stan is reassuring those on a stay-cation with a new series of outback terror series Wolf Creek. Stan is also releasing its much-anticipated spin off series, Romper Stomper, which originally starred Russell Crowe, as a New Year’s Day hangover cure.
“Will Luke Skywalker’s return challenge our findings and bring streamers back from the dark side?” Pocketbook wonders.
“Probably not, but Stranger Things have happened.”