Covid-19 has accelerated the debate around theatrical runs, premium VOD and a streaming-centric future. For instance, Disney’s Premier Access approach and several studios opting for a move to streaming-centric releases are redefining release windows. As release date schedules continue to slide, more media companies may look to have parallel film premiers – in the cinema, as well as via exclusive partnerships with streaming service providers, as they look to make back some of the revenues lost due to the pandemic.
As consumers remain cautious about returning to cinemas and studios examine alternative revenue models, we can expect to see several other options being explored in 2021. These will include condensing release windows, partnerships between cinemas and studios to share VOD revenue, and experimentation by cinemas in new areas like e-gaming, e-sports, unique experiences (think Alamo Drafthouse) and corporate seminars. Already in 2020 for example, we saw cinemas broadcasting live Premier League football on the big screen, and this may be another option to incentivize the public back through the doors.
On the other hand, we’ll see revised premium recurring bundles that incorporate several of these unique experiences in the home as well, providing new revenue opportunities for content platforms and service providers. Also expect to see new offerings beyond just media and entertainment, incorporating areas like ride-sharing, fitness, storage, food delivery and unlimited bike or scooter rentals.