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Pandora's Box is Open: Warner Bros, HBO Max, and the Future of Movies

Updated: Jan 18, 2023

It was recently announced that all Warner Brothers movies in 2021 will be streamed on HBO Max. As theater designers, we have been waiting for a legendary drop like this. The simultaneous streaming in the theater and in your home - called ‘Day and Date’ - used to only be available to Hollywood insiders. In order to access Day and Date, those who were willing to foot the expensive bill and sign legal agreements installed special boxes that could read the encrypted movie file. Finally, Day and Date is becoming more widely available. If you can stream, you can watch!

Today, we are consuming more video content than ever before. Our TVs have gone from the living room to our pockets. The expanding market has attracted all the big players, namely Amazon and Apple. It’s finally common knowledge what Disney discovered decades ago: content is king! Netflix was the new catalyst; the DVD-subscription service turned studio that everyone knows and loves. Now there are a multitude of other streaming services looking for your monthly subscription and leaving you constantly asking Google “which service is that movie on?”. And when we find out, is it one of the handful that we have access too? And how many services are we expected to sign up for?

For music streaming, we are typically satisfied with our one preferred service like Spotify, Pandora, or Tidal. Using more than one on a daily basis would seem like overkill - and a waste of money. So why when it comes to movie streaming we can’t get everything we need from one service? This difference boils down to the core of content monetization. Musicians get very little compensation for their music via streaming services - a sacrifice Hollywood is not willing to make. And why would they as long as we are willing sign up for multiple monthly subscriptions?

Streaming services have since become studios themselves, developing their own content. The content distribution is limited only to those who pay the price - keeping that demand high. The subscription model, as opposed to Pay-per-View, keeps a steady flow of income coming to the service, whether you watch or not. Just like that gym membership you use twice in January but pay for all year.

As theatre designers, it’s not just about the chair you sit in, and the acoustic engineering of the room - we care about your experience from the moment you say “Hey, what should we watch tonight?”. We know that the hunt for what to watch and how to stream it can take the fun out of your movie night. We’re constantly keeping our eye on the industry and making sure we are thinking out of the box to advise our clients on how to mitigate any streaming fatigue. Maybe you’ll be interested in a consolidation service, or want advice on movie storage to curate your own digital library, we are developing some unique solutions in our lab. We’ll keep you posted and look forward to talking to you soon about how you can stream seamlessly.

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