A Slowly Fading Marque?

With Americans having to adjust their budgets now more than ever to modestly harmonize with their incoming cash flow, cutting costs for entertainment expenses is indeed on most everyone’s agenda. Those who enjoy watching movies have had to lay this form of entertainment on the budget chopping block as well, but thanks to mediums such as Netflix and Video On Demand, movies can still be enjoyed for a reasonable price that can easily fit into modest budget. The average cost of going to the cinema is roughly around $25 per person, which includes tickets, snacks, drinks, and other refreshments sold at the concession stands. According to the results of an online survey conducted by “Harris Poll®” in December 2013, 57% of Americans favored watching movies at home as opposed to the 21% of Americans who preferred to go to the cinema. With approximately a little over one-half of American moviegoers faithfully visiting the cinemas, will this amount be enough to keep the cinemas alive within the next few years?

The participants who were surveyed in the aforementioned poll were also asked to give their opinions about the pros and cons of going to the cinema to watch movies verses watching movies using another medium. Being able to experience a movie in 3-D and in digitally mastered sound quality seemed to win the majority of votes on the pros’ list despite the fact that “rude moviegoers” was the number one reason on the cons’ list for why the participants would prefer to watch movies from home. The high cost of refreshments sold at the concession stand was another major turn-off for 62% of those surveyed, and an overwhelming 69% felt theaters take advantage of showing 3-D movies as an excuse to charge outrageously higher prices to view them.

With tablets and smartphones gaining more and more popularity for their video-playing capabilities, a majority of the moviegoers who are constantly on-the-go have converted their medium of viewing pleasure from going to the cinema into indulging in Netflix for downloading movies to their portable device. If the cinemas can come up with an idea that tops this convenience along with figuring out a way to offer lower prices for tickets and refreshments, then the cinema might have a fighting chance to stay alive.

©2014 Learus Ohnine

The Resurrection of the “Boob Tube”

Television viewers from around the world can certainly appreciate the way the “Boob Tube” has expanded not only its content by way of regular programming, but also its optional convenience of being able to access most programs at the viewer’s discretion. Gone are the days when it was imperative for television viewers to frantically race home from work in order to catch their favorite prime-time tv show at the exact moment it was to be aired or when the housewife had to postpone her housework during the only available airtimes for her favorite soap opera as to not miss one episode. Television viewing has become so advanced that not only do viewers no longer have to concern themselves with adjusting their own availability according to their favorite program schedules, they don’t even have to be present in front of a television screen to watch it.

VOD, or Video on Demand, has become the most popular (and most convenient) sought-out method for those who have a busy lifestyle and need to stay on-the-go, or even for those who just want to enjoy their favorite television programs and/or movies in the comfort of their own home at their own leisure by way of any preferred technological medium. Video on Demand allows its users to stream selected audio and video content through a “set-top box” connected to their television or personal computer to view in real time, or download content to a digital video recorder (DVR) or any portable media player device for leisurely viewing at any time. Users have the option of viewing their downloaded selected content in much the same style as with a VCR with functions such as fast forwarding, pausing, slow forward and rewind functions, etc.

For those who especially enjoy watching movies from the comfort of their own home without having to travel back and forth to the nearest video rental store, the most popular on-demand provider, Netflix, offers the widest range of variety for movies (and prime time episodes) for a small monthly subscription fee comparably lower than most video store rental rates. Netflix subscribers can choose between watching their favorite selected content online via Internet streaming or DVD and Blu-ray Discs via U.S. mail. Instant-watch devices compatible with Netflix include the Amazon Kindle Fire, the Barnes and Noble Nook Tablet, the Xbox 360, the PlayStation 3, the Nintendo Wii, and the iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch supported by the Android Version 2.2 and above web browser platform.

According to the research firm Rentrak, American households watched approximately 8.5 hours of programming per day through Video on Demand services with an all-in-all total of over 1 billion hours of VOD programming in 2012. With these statistics guaranteed to continue climbing with each passing year, television networks and cable companies can count on VOD to help build a new audience of viewers from all walks of life.

©2013 Learus Ohnine