Online TVs and Films

Online TVs scope

For many years, there has been a battle between movies and Television (TVs). As things appear in the entertainment industry, this war will not end any time soon. Before the TV was invented, watching films in the cinema is one of the best choices for people who loved visual entertainment. As technology develops, watching films online enables them to watch shows and even some films without going to the cinema. Some people predict that film will be replaced by Online TVs or the place of domination of cinema among the people will be influenced by Online TVs in the future. Contrastingly, others believe that films are there to stay citing that the culture of watching movies together is so much embedded in the society that it is quite difficult to defy the norm.

However, it is quite important to note that online TVs come with convenience that is equally difficult to ignore. Specifically, it comes with high quality videos and gives an individual a chance to have personalized experience such as the freedom to choose what to watch at any time and at any place. The emergence of online streaming has caused major panic to those in the film independent industry as most people seem to be shifting to online streaming. The uncertainties surrounding the future of cinemas prompt the need for investigating the matter to establish whether online TVs are here to kill independent films. This paper explores the impact of online TVs on independent films.

The revolution of the entertainment industry speaks volumes about the future of the independent film industry. The history of cinemas can be traced back to the late 19th century where it is documented that the film industry dominated the visual entertainment sector until the 1950s before the introduction of TVs which diminished the popularity of cinemas to a greater extent (NSMM, 2011).

However, the film industry would later regain its popularity in the 1980s by implementing such strategies as moving expanding cinemas to smaller cities to reach a bigger audience. During the 1980s movie theatres would face yet another rival in the name of home video that saw the emergence of DVDs (digital versatile discs) where people would buy the discs and watch at homes instead of going to the Cinema halls (Jones, 2013).

Although the film industry has successfully fought the competition brought about by TVs and DVDs, it has never reclaimed the influence and position it once held in the better half of the 20th century. In the modern world, most people prefer watching movies on TVs and even worse, TV companies have invested heavily in online content to tap the opportunity that has been availed by the internet. With the advancement of technology and wireless internet connection such as WIFI, online streaming has become the most convenient way through which an individual can watch a movie. Projections indicate that movie theatres will continue to face shortages of customers as many are moving towards online viewership.

Online TVs give viewers a chance to have a customized experience unlike when in a movie theatre. While using internet TVs, viewers can decide what to watch while at the comfort of their homes (Hart, 2008). Besides, online streaming has been made convenient as one can access films through a tablet, a mobile phone or a laptop unlike in the past where individuals could only access online movies through a TV or a desktop. Reports indicate that people are gradually moving to online viewership where 63% of worldwide consumers have admitted to having used a laptop, a phone, or a smart TV to watch online movies (Jones, 2013). This percentage indicates than more than half of the world’s movie viewers have adopted online streaming as a result of enhanced customer experience.

Also, online TVs have been reported to a massive following among the young audience who make up the biggest percentage of viewers. The increased followership is attributed to the fact that they do not have to follow the fixed schedule of a movie theatre to watch their favorite movies as one can access his/her film at the touch of a button. In addition, online streaming has gained more audience because people can access movies any place of the world provided there is internet connectivity.

Price is one of the major contributing factors to the current shift to online TVs. Most viewers argue that online streaming has reduced the costs of accessing a movie substantially (Jones, 2013). For instance, the average cost of obtaining a movie theatre ticket in Europe is estimated to be ₤10 (Morgan, 2019). Viewers argue that this amount is enough to buy an online movie and keep it for future retrieval. Also, most viewers admit that the cost of monthly subscribing to an online movie platform such as Netflix or Amazon is way lower than going to a cinema in a month. Besides, after the subscription, an individual viewer can have limited access to a wide variety of movies to watch over the month. Also, the viewers attest to the fact that while in the movie theatres, they are forced to spend more than buying a ticket as most are tempted to buy snacks and drinks sold in the cinemas. The amount of money spent to watch a movie in a cinema cannot be compared with a monthly subscription and watching at homes.

Online TVs offer up to date information concerning various interesting movies in the market. The platforms offer such important updates as the movies that are most watched, new films in the market, and information about movies that are trending (Jones, 2013). Such kind of information is vital to modern viewers who are mostly interested in knowing the trending issues.

Also, internet TVs allow users to access trending movies with ease by categorizing either among the most popularly watched or in the trending section (Morgan, 2019). Crucially, such categorization gives the user a chance to have instant access to a film leading to instant gratification. A majority of viewers prefer remaining up to date about the current trends in the market and the ability to access a film with ease which is not provided in the independent film industry.

Many film studios have also joined the bandwagon in the shift to online business. Most studios admit that the cost of publishing numerous film prints and distributing them in various theatres is gradually becoming unsustainable owing to the decreasing number of movie goers (Hart, 2008). In addition, the costs associated with advertising new products are relatively higher than using online video platforms such as Online TVs. The benefits of supplementing the current systems of delivery with online ones have become inevitable for most of the film producers (Morgan, 2019). Some of the advantages of targeting the online audience are the reduction of production, distribution, and delivery costs.

Besides, online TVs allow film studios to gain access to new markets. These benefits are necessitated by the rapid development of online infrastructures such as high-speed networks of digital communication or information super-highway, rapid internet growth, and the ever-rising subscription rates to online streaming platforms. All these factors usually guarantee access to mass audiences, leading to an increase in sales and revenues. Thus, it is quite essential to note that there is a high likelihood of making more profits on online TVs than in the movie theatres.

The shift to online streaming can be attributed to the fact the various film content providers have come up with measures to protect the property rights of the content owners. As a result, online TVs have gained the trust of online movie providers (Hart, 2008). Observably, it is becoming increasingly difficult or rather impossible to access movies outside the online movie platforms. The only way through which one can access a film online is through subscribing to various content providers. Internet TVs have worked relentlessly to remove the notion that online streaming is prone to piracy and illegal distribution of films. Such efforts have enhanced the credibility of online video content providers, leading to their increasing popularity.

The business model of online TVs is tailor-made for consumers. For instance, Netflix has invested heavily in artificial intelligence that focuses on collecting customer data based on watch history, demographics, and ratings. The use of AI to offer customized is key to increasing customer loyalty and satisfaction. According to Forbes magazine, 80% of the content that is watched on Netflix is attributable to recommendations (Morgan, 2019). In the modern world, industries are striving to provide services based on the predictions of what consumers may need next. Online TVs are leading by example and they seem to understand that they must stay ahead to thrive in the competitive environment of entertainment industry. I so doing, they have been able to disrupt the visual entertainment sector thereby thwarting the efforts of potential rivals such as the independent film industry.

The growing number of online streamers translates that to the fact that cinemas are headed to extinction in the near future. For instance, statistics indicate that there are over 1.2 billion video streamers in the world and the number is expected to continue rising.

In the U.S alone, there are more than 170 million users of online video services and the number is projected to hit 198 million by 2021 (Statista, 2018). On the other hand, cinema popularity indicates an irregular worldwide trend and a declining trend in America. For example, according to a 2017 report, Box office reached a global record of $40.6 billion but recorded a decline of 2% in America from $11.6 billion in 2016 to $11.1 billion (Statista, 2018).

As expected, the drop was attributed to high ticket costs and the rising popularity of online streaming. With such kind of statistics, it is apparent that online streaming is growing with a force to reckon. Also, the statistics are suggestive of the fact consumers are moving from traditional forms of watching films such as in the cinemas and live television to modern forms. Besides, the rising numbers of online viewers indicate the impact that online TVs have had and continue to have on other key players in the industry of visual entertainment. Particularly, cinemas have been on the receiving end and if the current trend is something to go by, then they are on the verge of extinction in the foreseeable especially in America.

Online videos have been linked to a higher quality than those shown in the movie theatres. In the modern era, consumers demand nothing but the best out of a product. Online TVs have focused on providing the most quality videos to their consumers thereby identifying themselves provision of top-notch products (Jones, 2013). This identity has enabled online video providers to gain a competitive advantage over the rest of the players across the industry.

Although critiques may argue that the quality of their products is dependent upon the subscription premium, it is notable that these companies tend to charge subscription fees according to the financial ability of an individual user. However, even the lowest-paying subscribers are treated to comparatively good video quality. While it is true that the independent film industry has also invested in quality, it can be argued that it is easier to afford the same quality while streaming online than when watching in the movie theatres.

Online video providers have concentrated on providing quality outputs through original content. This is an initiative that keeps way ahead of the cinema sector. Film lovers tend to be fascinated by original shows and that is what some internet movie providers such as Netflix have capitalized on by launching original shows such as “House of Cards” and “Bird Box” (Morgan, 2019). The latter show is reported to have viewed by 45 million users. This number shows how viewers are attracted to original content, something that many online TVs are doing. Such programs lead to an increase in the number of online video subscribers.

While the independent film industry continues to face an imminent danger of extinction in the wake of rising online streaming, statistics of those who go to the movie theatres are indicative of a promising future. As of 2017, both America and Canada had a total of 348 million movie goers. Out of this number, 264 million were regarded as frequent visitors to movie theatres (Statista, 2018). These numbers show that there people who still believe in cinemas despite the influence of online TVs. Also, the statistics show that those behind cinemas can create their strategies to remain relevant in the highly competitive sector of entertainment.

In summary, online TVs seem to be on a mission to dominate the industry of visual entertainment. The success of the online video providers is either necessitated by favorable factors such as the advancement of the internet and the advancement of technology or strategic measures such as the provision of highly customized services, affordable prices, up to date information about movies, quality products, effective business models, and original products.  Also, internet TVs have capitalized on security of the owners’ intellectual property, gaining the trust of content owners. Interestingly, some film studios have opted for online selling to reduce business expenses.

Moreover, the current trend in the visual entertainment sector seems to favor online TVs as the number of individuals subscribing to online video services is on the rise. On the other hand, the independent film industry has been negatively affected by online TVs but statistics of the movie goers suggest that there are hopes of creating a comeback by employing strategies that shall enable them to remain competitive in the entertainment market. Thus, the challenges that the cinemas are facing are manageable despite the rising popularity of online TVs. However, movie theatres are facing an uphill task.


Hart, J. A. (2008). Technology, Television, and Competition : the Politics of Digital TV. Cambridge Univ Pr.

Jones, A. J. (2013). GRIN – The Future of Internet Television. www.Grin.Com.

Morgan, B. (2019). What Is The Netflix Effect? Forbes.

NSMM. (2011, January 7). A very short history of cinema  – National Science and Media Museum blog. National Science and Media Museum Blog; Eleanor Mitchell.

Statista. (2018). • Statista – The Statistics Portal for Market Data, Market Research and Market Studies. Statista.Com; Statista.

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