Video streaming services: The Multiplex killer


Come weekend, and we all get busy planning how to spend it, invoking the best of our creativity to figure out how best to spend our leisure time with our families, our loved ones. It’s become so customary to plan the weekend leisure activity that if you have some work related activities, at office or at home, that usurps your leisure-centric activities of the weekend, you may like to take a leave during the weekdays to have some leisure time to compensate.

Look at your Weekend engagements, you would find more than 50% of the time you visited a cinema theatre during a weekend. Is that unusual? I feel, that completely makes sense to spend time in a cinema theatre during the weekend. You don’t need to plan too much for it. You just need to make a choice of movie. Food is readily available there. And with the advent of Multiplexes you have a list of movies to choose from at the same venue. Usually these multiplexes are located in or near a mall where you can indulge in some shopping, buying your groceries or even window shopping after the movies.

The modern day multiplexes are a result of various experiments running through multiple location across the North American continent through the nineteenth century. While the cinemas expanded from having one screen to dual-screen and three-screen cinemas as early as 1915, opening of the first Multiplex or Megaplex, as it used to be known at that time, is credited to an 18-screen Cineplex that was co-founded by Nat Taylor in Toronto’s Eaton Centre that opened in April 1979. Since then, the multiplex journey has expanded its reach from first world countries to developing and the third world countries. From metropolis to cities to second tier towns. The journey has seen no turn-back in the last fifty years. It has grown so much that it has become a major source of employment and has taken a distinct identity in every major and growing economies in the last fifty years. The modern day multiplexes not only provide a range of entertainment choices, it also provides the owning companies a possibility of optimum utilization of shared infrastructure and resources which majority of time would lay unutilized while a movie show is running on one screen.

In 2018, it looks quite impossible for this business to drag. It’s booming with the booming cities, town and economies around the world. It surely has a strong potential for growth. The increasing investments by the big companies into this entertainment industry is continuously fueling the supply that can match eye to eye with the growing demand. But every great story has an end or at least a slow-down period. It stands true for this business too.

A relatively new entry in the Entertainment business seems to be the blue-eyed boy in the industry. In the late nineties, when the entertainment industry took the next big leap in engaging technology and internet to supply content direct to the users, TV sets and the reach of mobile phones in the remotest areas of the world, Video-on-Demand has become a buzzword in the entertainment industry. While the industry was just coping up with the Direct-to-Home (DTH) technology in many growing economies, the second blow to the hopes of Multiplex growth story was the launch of Online Streaming companies to stream content- Movies, popular TV Shows, Soaps and series produced exclusively for these streaming companies. The choice of entertainment provided by these companies is boundless with video streaming of latest movies, sporting events, TV shows and that too the customer can watch them at any point of time they want, on any device they want. You can watch them with your loved ones on a large TV screen. You can also watch them on your hand held mobile device with complete privacy. You no longer have to be dependent on the TV timings. No dependency on TV Broadcasters. Neither you need to go to out of your home, or office, or cafeteria or even your commute to a nearby theatre. Content of your choice is available at a time and place of your choice. Now we see there’s a clear clash between DTH services and Video Streaming services to provide more relevant content to the customers. In 2018, with the reach beyond home TV sets the video streaming companies seem to be winning over the DTH services. And with the advent of Android TVs, the content that was now available on mobile devices, will also be available on TV sets, which means the Video streaming companies will have a clear victory over the DTH services. The DTH Services are giving a fight back to the Video Streaming services with a possibility to record/schedule recording of broadcasts and play them at a later time. I don’t see the DTH services surviving for more than a decade from now. Whichever wins between DTH and Video Streaming service, one thing is for sure, the humongous investments the Cineplex industry have made is set to have a great beating. It will be a question to see if the Multiplex business survives this aftermath unless they re-invent their businesses. With FMCG and consumer durable business going mostly online, it will pose further challenges for the survival of multiplexes. The need to come out of his/her house for a customer will be even farther.

Here’s a comparison of the three services based on various parameters of customer choice while availing such entertainment-

Area of comparison Best Good Average
Choice of content Video Streaming service Direct to Home service Multiplex
Choice of Location Video Streaming service Direct to Home service Multiplex
Choice of device Video Streaming service Direct to Home service Multiplex
Choice of food during show Multiplex (readily available) Video Streaming service, Direct to Home service (Needs home delivery)
Show time Video Streaming service Direct to Home service (with DVR) Multiplex


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