Is Netflix Destroying the Cinema Experience?

March 9, 2020

As Oscar-nominated hits like The Irishman enter the zeitgeist, it’s no wonder Netflix is now focusing on producing its own content. In fact, at the turn of 2020 it was revealed that the streaming platform planned to spend $17 billion on content throughout the year.

This trumps some of its biggest competitors, including Amazon, who planned to spend $6.5 billion, and Apple, who planned to spend $6 billion. But with the licensing rights to some of the most watched shows on television, including Friends, Black Mirror and the Big Bang Theory, it calls into question why they’d make this move.

Why is Netflix spending so much on original content?

Far beyond the creative thrill of making their own content, it turns out, this is a strategic business decision. Spending forecasts have shown that Netflix can save up to 50% by producing original content. Despite the initial cash burnout, it more than returns the investment.

Conversely, buying licensing rights costs a pretty penny. In 2019, the company spent $15.3 billion on licensing agreements – $100 million of that was spent on Friends alone. With savings of up to 50%, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the platform moving entirely towards original content in a few years to come.

The mixed media model

Another innovative avenue Netflix has been pursuing is mixed media – producing content to be shown in cinemas and later uploading it to the streaming service itself. Certainly, this worked well for The Irishman, which was nominated for 10 Academy Awards.

Following suit are another nine films, but it’s interesting to note how they will fare at the box office with the Netflix option on the table. It is said that the films are sent to movie theatres purely for the honour of award nominations. Perhaps this makes up for their paltry return on investment – The Irishman, for example, made $8 million at the box office, but cost $159 million to make.

But what they gain in award nomination prestige, and presumably an uptake in new subscribers thanks to this success, they may lose in the viewer experience.

Cinema content on a small screen

Next time you put on a Netflix show, look out for a little message that says it’s shot in 4K Ultra HD. As technology advances, and film studios become a little more generous with budgets, they produce content in the highest picture quality possible.

Of course, where this content really belongs is on the cinema screen. With 8,294,400 pixels in 4k Ultra HD, compared to just 405,504 in standard definition, this content almost appears three-dimensional.

Unfortunately, it’s just not the same on home televisions. Notably, Forbes reported multiple complaints about movies on LCD televisions due to issues with frame rates. If Netflix is going to continue its trend of producing cinematic quality content, then the viewing area needs to do it justice.

Home cinema: the best of both worlds

For many, the toil of going to a cinema or paying outrageous prices for popcorn is simply not worth it. In this age of home cinema technology, we have to question it, particularly when the home cinema experience puts it all on your doorstep.

From high quality audio to crystal clear images, home cinema screens really do content like Stranger Things justice. Plus, there’s no judgement for hiding behind your seat at home! Ideal for anything from informal entertainment gatherings to marathon boxset sessions, the home cinema is the new way to enjoy our endless access to premium quality entertainment.

For a lifetime return on investment and awe-inspiring viewing experiences, contact the SONA team today.