Online streaming services vs. the movie theater

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Regals Cinema

By Anthony N. Muccigrossi

The days of spending $11.50 on a movie ticket, popcorn, and the almost $5 bottle of water are over. A film lover can pay less than the price of a ticket, and enjoy unlimited films all month long.

With the creation of online streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, film lovers are watching movies without ever leaving the comfort of their residence.

“The more devices you can access to watch a movie, I think it makes movies more [desirable],” Dr. Cathleen Londino, a Film professor at Kean, said.

While the tradition of watching a film at a movie theatre still exists, online streaming is changing the consumer market in more ways than one. Since its establishment in 1997, Netflix has adapted and changed the way consumers watch films and television shows.

According to a company timeline, Netflix originated as a movie rental service using the internet as the marketplace. Just two years later, in 1999, Netflix began to charge a monthly fee, which allowed consumers to rent unlimited movies.

“With modern technology now, with big screen TVs and surround sound, you can get the same experience at home that you can at the movies,” Bill Kolbenschlag, a Journalism and Public Relations lecturer at Kean said.

According to, the price of a movie ticket at South Plainfield, N.J., Regal Cinema 16 is $11.50.

In retrospect, Amazon Prime, a service that includes music streaming, e-books, and free shipping on orders, as well as online streaming of movies and shows for Prime subscribers, costs $99.00 a year.

Broken down to $8.25 a month, movie enthusiasts can watch unlimited films a month, for less than the cost of a single movie ticket.

Looking at company data, Netflix had 4.2 million subscribers in 2005. In 2015, more than 57 million subscribers use it as their streaming platform.

“I used to love going to the movies, but now I just can’t stand the crowds anymore,” Kolbenschlag said.

Hulu, like Netflix and Amazon Prime, also offers movies and television shows. However, Hulu’s website states that currently running shows can be streamed to a subscriber’s device. The main difference between Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu, is that Hulu uses advertising as a method of generating money.

With all the online streaming, movie theaters are facing competition from around the world. To make the movie theatre’s more appealing, theatres such as AMC have included dinning options and cinema suites, which allow guests 21 and over to enjoy alcohol beverages while watching the movie.

Online streaming doesn’t place an age blockade on movie lovers who are younger than the age of 21.

“Watching a movie on Netflix is more personable,” Phil Giannino, a senior Communication/Media student said.

However, rather than spend money on a movie ticket and food, the money- pinching person can enjoy full access to thousands of films and television shows for under $10.00 a month. Unlike the movie theatre, you aren’t forced to watch the 15 to 20 minutes of previews before a movie actually begins.

From a convenience standpoint, people also seen online streaming as a way to multitask and stop and resume a film.

A lover of film only needs three things: a subscription to a streaming service, a computer or tablet, and internet connection, and the movie theatre comes to them anywhere in the world.

With the present generation glued to their technology, it isn’t uncommon to see people watching their favorite shows at a Starbucks or on a train.

Since the implementation of Wi-Fi on Airplanes, film lovers can use streaming services at 30,000 feet in the air.

To draw more people to their services, online streaming platforms have created original shows such as “House of Cards” and “Orange is the New Black,” which were created exclusively for Netflix.

Amazon Studios, in a press release in January, announced that Woody Allen will write and direct his first television series.

“Woody Allen is a visionary creator who has made some of the greatest films of all time, and it’s an honor to be working with him on his first television series,” Roy Price, Vice President of Amazon Studios, said in a press release.

Writers and directors no longer have to solely persuade television stations to buy their series, being that the market has increased to include online streaming services.

When it comes to the shift from watching a movie in a theatre to online, Mr. Kolbenshlag reflected on the noise generated from people talking, crinkling the popcorn bag, and making noise with their soda and straw.

When it comes to the benefit of online streaming, versus the movie theatre, Giannino mentioned, “You don’t have that awkward person that laugh’s at every little thing that’s not funny.”



  1. Great write-up!
    My opinion is that free movies online without downloading are a better option then cable because cable is more expensive so as movie theaters.



  1. […] “You don’t have that awkward person that laugh’s at every little thing that’s not funny.” […]


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