When Streaming Services May Start Making More Money Than Studios

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A lot of households around the world have started investing in streaming services. In the States and in the UK, Netflix has been particularly dominant, but there are plenty of other options for streaming, too. And a recent study on the other side of the pond found that revenue for streaming services may overtake revenue from box offices much sooner than we might expect. In fact, the new report indicates that box office might be pulling in less than streaming services in the U.K. by 2020.

The new report obviously involves a fair bit of speculation, but it generally explains that revenue from subscription streaming services is set to increase a whopping 30% over the next few years. If the estimates hold true, in that year, U.K. streaming services will make £1.42 billion, or 1.81 billion in U.S. dollars. At that same point, theaters will only be bringing in £1.41 billion, according to estimates, edging the streaming services ahead.

It should be pointed out that this doesn't necessarily mean that theaters are totally screwed or that people will stop flocking to big screens. Instead, the PwC report (via The Guardian) notes that the number of theatergoers, and even movie theaters is currently on the rise and will continue to grow through 2021. So, it's not all bad news for theaters. It's just better news for the streaming services.

Where the studios may lose money is on Blu-ray and DVD sales. As more stuff is available streaming, fewer people will be expected to collect Blu-rays and DVDs and the hard copy era of owning films may continue to wane. Digital copies are also purchased from retailers like Amazon, as well, which has its own streaming service.

Of course, this is only in the U.K. In 2016, the box office revenue in the U.S. was $11.3 billion. In that same time span, Netflix's revenue was $8.83 billion--but that's just Netflix. We're not talking about adding in Hulu or Amazon, much less Crackle or HBO's streaming service. And Netflix and Amazon have both started producing medium-sized movie projects, as well. It's clear the nature of the way we view content is changing, but people are still showing up to see big movies in theaters. How long that will continue to be a trend is still up in the air, but we anticipate the tension between Netflix and theaters to continue in the near future.

For now, there are a slew of big budget, exciting movies coming out this summer, and even more small indies. Many of these may end up on streaming services down the line, but if you'd like to see them on the big screen in all their glory, take a look at the upcoming summer film rundown for all the good stuff coming up.

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Jessica Rawden
Managing Editor

Jessica Rawden is Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. She’s been kicking out news stories since 2007 and joined the full-time staff in 2014. She oversees news content, hiring and training for the site, and her areas of expertise include theme parks, rom-coms, Hallmark (particularly Christmas movie season), reality TV, celebrity interviews and primetime. She loves a good animated movie. Jessica has a Masters in Library Science degree from Indiana University, and used to be found behind a reference desk most definitely not shushing people. She now uses those skills in researching and tracking down information in very different ways.