For example, a recent consumer survey revealed people don’t want to pay $20 for a new theatrical movie, now available at an on-demand streaming platform they can access at home.
A more reasonable price for consumers is around $5 to $8, according to a recent A Hollywood Reporter/Morning Consult poll.
Why $20? NBCUniversal, which is offering an on-demand theatrical movie for this price, and perhaps other studios, might perceive strong demand from movie consumers shut out of theaters, due to the COVID-19 issues.
Right now, NBCUniversal is the lone movie studio in distributing a new Dreamworks movie “Trolls World Tour” — intended for movie theaters — and now redirected into people’s living rooms at a $19.99 single on-demand rental play price tag.
This compares with the average U.S. theatrical movie price of $9.37 in Q4 2019, according to the National Association of Theater Owners.
But with the stock market crumbling -- and now 3.3 million people out of work -- consumers might be thinking differently about what their money buys them.
Maybe new streaming services aren’t worth a $10 premium for the convenience of watching the next great theatrical film immediately at home.
Perhaps a smaller TV screen (though much bigger than a couple of decades ago) doesn’t offer the right value for a movie’s entertainment/emotional impact versus a big movie theater.
But maybe it's the Netflix factor -- and overall media glut factor. Premium TV and movie entertainment are everywhere. Also, millennials and young adults -- major movie theatergoing consumers -- aren’t buying it. They want to pay much less -- or very little -- for any content.
Of course, it is not just the glut of new streaming services and the tons of content. It’s the cost — $12.99 a month for most Netflix subscribers, for example -- for what seems like unlimited movie and TV content.
The math now gets worse for movie studios vis-a-vis home streaming, especially considering Disney+ has a $6.99 a month price tag and Apple TV+, a $4.99. Netflix’s competitor, Hulu, is at $11.99 a month for its premium content, with no advertising.
For years, movie studios have pushed to get movies onto premium TV platforms more quickly, especially given streaming. All this looking to break the stranglehold theaters have had when it comes to their 90-day exclusive period for new films.
Are movie studios trying to make up for lost time in a troubling economy, given the temporary closing of movie theaters?
Maybe. But it’s a two-way street -- with consumers looking to make a quick pass ahead of Hollywood’s slower moving car.