Hollywood movies, movie theaters, and cable TV have all seen a decline in recent years. Even global movie sales were down in 2016, making Hollywood movie companies nervous. Is it the economy? Is it the competition of on-demand content streaming services like Netflix?
Cable TV and even air TV have seen a significant decline in viewership across the board. Economic factors play a huge role in cable TV’s decline in the U.S. but it is especially the low cost of streaming services like Netflix that are taking a chunk out of cable TV revenue.
Hollywood movies have turned increasingly to global markets over recent decades as they compensate for lowered interest in the U.S. The international market made up 71 percent of the global box office for Hollywood movies in 2016. Ten years ago it was only 63 percent according to the Los Angeles Times.
Much like cable TV, the cost of seeing Hollywood movies in the theaters is becoming a problem in the United States. Ticket costs for movies are nearly ten dollars each in the U.S. Cable TV bundles are well over $100 per month.
As Hollywood movie studios depend increasingly on foreign ticket sales, other monetary concerns come into play. A 1 percent drop in China’s box office had the Hollywood movie industry cringing in fear last year according to the LA times.
Tickets for Hollywood movies, just like every other internationally sold product depend on currency exchange rates, and the dollar is very inflated, slowing foreign markets and acting as a deterrent to U.S. export trade in general.
Cable TV is in such decline that nearly 25 percent of households will not have cable by the end of 2017 according to the Daily Caller. Yet most cable companies keep raising their rates to keep their incomes stable. A recent Consumerist report indicates that nearly half of the current cable TV clients are considering cutting the cord, about 80 percent of those said cost of cable was the main factor.
Neither cable TV nor movie theaters offer the best prices to see Hollywood’s best movies. Netflix, for example, offers unlimited viewing of thousands of movies, TV shows and documentaries for as little as 7.99 a month. People can choose what they want to watch and when. They can watch at home with as many friends or family members as they like.
China saved ‘Pirates of “The Caribbean’ with a huge box office response to Jack Sparrow [Image by Eric Charbonneau/Invision/AP Images]
Hollywood movies and the theaters that show them, whether international or domestic could be pricing themselves out of a more steady market as well. If movie tickets were half price, wouldn’t the theater be more than twice as full for movies, thus making more money? Dollar movies in the eighties used to fill up fast, even for less than popular movies. A lower ticket price might help save theaters and Hollywood.
Hollywood movie content, as well as TV programming content, is another side of the story. The LA Times conveys that though revenue was down across the board earlier in the year, movies like Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Captain America: Civil War drove up box office revenue to $11.4 billion in the U.S. and Canada.
Similarly, AMC’s The Walking Dead though airing on cable TV only is the number one show in America, with more viewers than any air network TV or cable show. Perhaps the lesson is that if people really like a Hollywood movie or network television program they will pay to see it, even on cable TV. Inversely, if a network’s programming is really bad, people won’t watch it even if it is free.
‘The Walking Dead’ is the number one show on TV despite being on cable, a declining medium [Image by Gene Page/AMC]
In the Hollywood movies heyday when one could see a Hollywood movie on the silver screen for a dime, people went in droves. In fairness, there was no TV either, so of course, they watched. When TV was new, people watched the one or two channels they could get in their area very happily. Cable TV gave them more choices, but now, with video streaming, they can be choosy for much less cost than cable.
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Will Hollywood movies and movie theaters survive the changing entertainment formats? Is this the end for cable TV?
[Featured Image By Artem Furman/Shutterstock]