Netflix & Chill: From Theatres to Couches |

Netflix and Chill: From Theatres to Couches |
A monthly Netflix subscription is more cost effective than spending nearly the same amount on a movie ticket.

The OTT (over the top) platforms have truly revolutionized the world of cinema, ushering in changes from the variety of content available to viewing experiences. A plethora of movies and series are all just a touch away, in the comfort of our homes. The weekend outings to cinema halls are no longer as lucrative as they used to be.

With the advancement of technology, increased accessibility and affordability of electronic mediums, streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, etc. have become hugely popular among boomers and millennials alike.

Influential production companies like Balaji and Zee have also jumped on the bandwagon and started their own online streaming services like Alt Balaji and Zee5. The question that remains to be answered is whether the theatres worldwide will succumb to the competition and become obsolete? A mere relic of the past? The effects vary across countries and differing sensibilities of the audience.

Analysis reveals how both platforms measure up to each other:


Netflix and Chill: From Theatres to Couches |

A monthly Netflix subscription is more cost-effective than spending nearly the same amount on a movie ticket. Additional costs like transport are also eliminated. While the former offers an impressive choice of content for a month, the latter only provides for one viewing experience. Theatre chains in the US have started their own subscription plans to attract viewers. A 2019 article in Forbes titled "How Netflix Is Changing The Future Of Movie Theaters" by Dana Feldman.

Dana says, "Theaters have to fight back against Netflix by becoming more like Netflix. The competition has definitely pushed the theatre chains to step up to the game".


Netflix and Chill: From Theatres to Couches |

Many argue that online streaming services cater to a niche audience, more technologically equipped populace, in turn leaving out audiences who belong to the lower rungs of society. This is in part true to countries like India, where a large section don't have access to the internet or smartphones, relying on theatres for entertainment. While many towns or villages still don't have theatres, OTT services enable viewers to stream content. In this case, theatres are more inclusive of audiences than online platforms.

B.Y.O.P. (Bring Your Own Popcorn)

Netflix and Chill: From Theatres to Couches |

One simply cannot savor snacks at the cinema without burning a hole in their pockets. The exorbitant taxes charged on food and the ban on food items from outside exists, despite The Cinema Regulation Act of 1995 which states that audiences should be allowed to carry their own food and water. Many prefer to watch films at home, with an endless array of snacks and the unbeatable comfort of their couches and beds. "Netflix and chill" has become a new form of date night, akin to asking someone out for a movie (easier on the pocket too!).


Netflix and Chill: From Theatres to Couches |

Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could experience all the pleasures of the world without moving an inch? As enticing as that sounds, it is not always possible. Socializing is an integral part of human culture and theatres provide a suitable environment for a night out with family, friends, and partners. Dinner and a movie or vice versa are still one of the most romantic getaways from the mundanity of everyday life. The thriving of theatres even after the advent of VCRs and online streaming services is testimony to how it trumps these services in providing an outdoor experience. As troubling as it sounds, we should get out of our couches once in a while.

Theatres evoke nostalgia, a reminder of times before phones and computers made entertainment available at homes.


Netflix and Chill: From Theatres to Couches |

A Veteran director like Steven Spielberg, the creator of "Avatar" among other technologically magnificent films is a vocal critic of the OTT platforms and believes that one can truly experience films only in theatres. Enhanced viewing mediums like 3D  and live-action can be enjoyed in halls to the fullest, while the same cannot be done via online platforms. A Marvel or a DC film is lackluster without the viewing experience only theatres can provide. Home theatres still remain a luxury and OTT platforms haven't mastered the art to provide such experiences at home.


Netflix and Chill: From Theatres to Couches |

"In the fiscal year 2019, the occupancy rate for PVR Cinemas across India was around 36 percent. In comparison, the occupancy rate for INOX Cinemas was about 28 percent. Both the cinemas saw an increase in occupancy rates that year over the previous fiscal year", reads a piece titled "Occupancy rate for cinemas in India 2016-2019 based by company", written by Sanika Diwanji in 2019, published in Contrary to public opinion, theatres are not experiencing a dearth of audiences. While online services do give stiff competition to the cinema halls, many have managed to prosper via improved marketing strategies. Big theatre chains are comparatively better off than smaller single-screen theatres who are prone to losses.


Netflix and Chill: From Theatres to Couches |

An article in the Economic Times titled "Netflix revenue soars 700% on desi content, marketing" by Sagar Malviya and Gaurav Laghate published in 2019 reported "Netflix India reported revenues of Rs. 466.7 crore for FY19 with a net profit of Rs. 5.1 crore, according to its filing with the registrar of companies sourced from Veratech Intelligence. In FY18, Netflix India had a turnover of Rs. 58 crore with Rs. 20 lakh net profit, which reflected financials for seven months starting September last year after the actual transfer to local distribution entity from Singapore.

"The platform has turned into a wildly profitable venture and has even begun producing its own original content." While a report from Quartz India named "India’s largest cinema chain is thriving in the era of OTT" as penned by Ananya Bhattacharya.

"In the year ended March 2019, PVR’s revenue from operations grew 32% to Rs3,118.70 crore ($437 million). As of March, footfall at PVR’s cinema halls, too, was up 25% compared with a year ago, while F&B revenue rose 38%", the Print reported. Thus, it is clear that both mediums are prospering at their own rates and there has been no significant or worrying damage to theatre halls in general.


Netflix and Chill: From Theatres to Couches |

Audiences are not spared the frequent "beeps" between scenes in a film that hinder authentic portrayals and heavily censored storylines that do not sit well with the censor board in cinema halls. Censorship is a controversial topic and directors are always at loggerheads with the censor board for infringing on their dramatic freedom and explicit but true enactments of society. Online streaming services fall outside the purview of government censorship and grant an escape to directors to create relatively unfiltered projects. In recent times, shows like Paatal Lok, Sacred Games, etc. have unfurled new, unhinged and poignant content that would otherwise be heavily censored in theatre releases.

Netflix and Chill: From Theatres to Couches |

In a nutshell, theatres don't face the risk of obscurity in the near future.

But, the rise of OTT platforms is the beginning of a new era of entertainment that is slowly but steadily taking over the world.

Theatre chains need to rise to the challenge and discover innovative ways to provide their customers with the best cinematic experiences. Their fate remains to be seen.

Share with us your experiences with both platforms in the comments sections below.


#netflix #netflixandchill #ott #amazonprimevideo #disney+ #hulu #hbogo #movietheatres #zee5 #altbalaji #ayeyouth #youmatter

Recent Posts

See All

About Us

AyeYouth is a youth organization that is committed to sharing stories from all walks of life. We, at ayeyouth, are constantly working to make stories of people reach a wider audience.