Streaming is about to hit center stage for the American audience in a way that will make the last 5 years seem like the pregame before the “Big Game”
Why is that? Because the entertainment world has already begun reeling in the face of a pandemic that is forcing movie theaters to close, concerts to be cancelled and even simple catering places to shutter. With no live American sports to keep us entertained people will turn to these services that we can beam into our living rooms as a way to take our minds off of things and keep our sanity.
Here is a speculative idea of what I see happening in streaming over the next 2-4 months.
We will see summer movie premiers at home
Yes right now the talk from major studios centers more around postponing releases until the fall or 2021. That may be the case for some films. But studios have too much inventory to just sit on projects and a large almost captive audience that will be looking for exciting new content. In 2014 the movie “The Interview” was supposed to be a theatrical release. But fears over hacking and other more dire threats caused it not to be a wide theatrical release after all. What happened instead? It was released nationally via streaming.
This is what I think will happen this year. While the movie industry has had a complicated relationship with the lure of home theaters and giant TV screens, I believe that there will be almost no choice but to release what should have been theatrical movies online at a premium price. Viewers should not expect to see The Fast And The Furious this summer for free, but a $15.00 on-demand option might not be out of the question. Like I said, studious have not broached this yet. But if there is a national lock down along the lines of what happened in China and is currently happening in Italy that leaks into the summer expect the show to go on.
Disney+ already released Frozen 2. This weekend it launched on the service months ahead of its original planned launch date. It basically invited families to stay home and stream instead of going to the movies to see Onward. Expect to see this more from Disney with any property it can get out there. The big nugget (yes I did that on purpose) would be the already filmed second season of the Mandalorian. The show was the big takeaway from the streaming service and is currently planned for a fall release. Here’s to betting that it will be available a lot sooner. It will be a public relations boon for the already popular company that has had to close parks throughout the world in the face of this issue.
Peacock will debut for free for everybody
Comcast has already waved fees for Internet in the face of the pandemic. Just imagine what it would do for its image if it rolled out its streaming service with no fees at all instead of a complicated tiered system with different rules for one set of customers and so on. In the end, services like Peacock are likely going to be ad-supported almost broadcast like options. Launching Peacock for free to start with would very much endear the service for a generation of Americans who will remember the network that encouraged them to stay home and laugh.
I was planning to see Billy Joel in Charlotte next month. Unless things get a lot better and very fast I figure this is not going to happen. This does not make me unique. For those looking for entertainment I would expect to see major entertainers begin a series of sponsored live concerts via platforms like iTunes. Live shows that double as both entertainment and telethons to raise money for food banks or hospitals. During war time celebs visit the troops. During a national self isolation campaign or worse, they will need to reach out to the rest of us somehow. I think this is how it will happen.
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