And then premium streaming entered the fold. Followed by the pandemic. Followed by WarnerMedia’s heavily criticized effort to simultaneously release big budgets theatrical movies in theater at the same time as on its streaming platform HBO Max.
Is the theft of HBO’s “Game of Thrones” still a thing? No. The show came to an end last year.
Some analysts say perhaps ViacomCBS’ Paramount+, as well as major theatrical studio Sony Pictures -- in separate efforts -- may be doing the right thing in the long term to combat this in future years.
While Paramount+ got a late start in ramping up streaming efforts -- being rebranded from the former CBS All Access -- the streamer now has a different approach when it comes to its upcoming movie releases. While family-oriented films will get a theatrical-streaming simultaneous release, more adults-skewing films will open up with exclusive showings in theaters.
The latter may have an interesting side benefit. The Streamable site suggests this plan “reduces piracy on the marquee titles while extracting the biggest possible box office.”
All that got TV Watch thinking about Sony Pictures’ recent theatrically exclusive release -- where it pulled in two of the top four biggest theatrical box-office movies for 2021: “Spider-Man: No Way Home” and “Venom: Let There Be Carnage.”
Unlike other studios toying around with offering its movies on the news streaming platforms, Sony Pictures offered old-school theatrical exclusivity for its action-adventure /fantasy films — and got big rewards.
Then think about what Disney did with “Black Widow” and what WarnerMedia did with “Wonder Women 1984.” Those two action-adventure movies had simultaneous theatrical-streaming openings and -- at least to both companies -- yielded successful business performances for both theaters and streaming.
And yes, just to elaborate, “Thrones” isn’t big in the piracy world any longer, according to a recent report by TorrentFreak.
Its recently released list of pirated TV shows for 2021 had Disney+'s “WandaVision” as the most pirated show of the year.
After this comes “Loki” (Disney+); “The Witcher” (Netflix); “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” (Disney+); “Hawkeye” (Disney+); “What If…?” ( Disney+); “Foundation” (Apple TV+)”; and “Rick and Morty” (Adult Swim/Hulu/HBO Max); “Arcane” (Netflix); and “The Wheel of Time” (Amazon Prime Video).
Disney+ had four of the top 10 most-pirated shows. Surely, a badge of honor of sorts: Consumers really want its content.
Now all it needs to do is find a way to keep theater owners and consumers happy, curtail piracy and hopefully, make money.