Consider Hollywood thoroughly “disrupted”. Digital killed the movie theater star.
Before the pandemic, the theatrical and digital markets for entertainment were roughly similar in size. Last year, however, digital revenue was more than three times that of global box office, according to a new report by the Motion Picture Association.
These are pandemic numbers and theaters occasionally show some signs of life with The Batman pulling in big numbers, but there’s little question that the shift has officially arrived. A lot of people are just not going back to theaters and the major studios have owners who are frantically trying to build their own Netflix with varying degrees of success.
Even Disney+ and HBO Max still depend on Big Tech platforms like Amazon’s Fire TVs and sticks which belong to a competitor who is also running a platform. Hollywood may want to ask product owners what happened when Amazon decided to compete against them on its own platform.
The MPA’s annual study of theatrical and home entertainment, published Monday, crystalized just how much streaming has come to dominate the media landscape. In 2021, the digital market accounted for 72% of the combined theatrical and home market. In 2019, digital accounted for $45.5 billion worldwide; last year it ballooned to $71.9 billion.
Which means that the shift to prioritizing digital is also here to stay and that will impact the entire star and auteur culture of the industry.
Hollywood, as we know it, is on the way out. A whole lot of money is being thrown at entertainment, but it’s going to be increasingly filtered through Big Tech and will play by its rules.