Research proves people do want legal streaming
Staff Reporter | On 09, Aug 2017
One of the long-standing myths of the internet and online video is that everyone wants to see everything for free. This month’s HBO hack and the leak of Episode 4 of Game of Thrones’ seventh season saw some people – and even publications, such as Total Film – publish spoilers for the episode before it officially aired, but many waited until the broadcast to tune in, suggesting that illegal streaming is not as prevalent as it once was.
Indeed, the accessibility and affordability of subscription services has seen consumers move to legal options in recent years, with the online media world rapidly growing. In Australia, where some new releases take longer than most countries to arrive, new start-up Beanbag Movies is preparing to launch a new online platform. Research by the firm confirms the demand for legal streaming, at a time when the industry is debating premium VOD as a way of combatting piracy.
Beanbag Movies polled almost 5,000 people across 61 countries as part of its research into the viability of online streaming during a movie’s theatrical release window.
Ash Oliver, co-founder of Beanbag Movies, says: “We know there are movie lovers out there who, like us, have a real desire to see new movies at home instead of going to the cinema. When I think of who Beanbag will help, I think of the time-starved parents, the cash-strapped students, and others who feel it is unnecessary to have to see all movies at the cinema during this window. There are also those who want to watch new international movie releases, but can’t because they are not available locally.”
“Current distribution methods are not able to reach the entire market of potential movie-viewers,” he adds. “There are thousands of people out there who cannot get to the movies or do not want to because it is not practical or desirable. 85 per cent of people surveyed said they often find they cannot make the movies when they want to. Allowing these people to view movies during the theatrical release window is critical in ensuring movies remain profitable now and in the future.
“We found that almost all people who downloaded pirated movies more than 10 times per month were equally as likely as any other person to use our service. This means that if our service were up and running today, over 90 per cent of the time a new movie is watched anywhere in the world would be on a legal platform.”
Exhibitors are concerned about the impact if movies were also streamed during the theatrical release window.
“We support efforts to bring movies to home viewers but we differ in our views of pricing and financial models. Our service is designed to give studios greater peace of mind about foraying into the online streaming business during this window. It will also provide a great opportunity to national film industries, such as Australia’s, to boost production and popularity,” adds Oliver.
Beanbag’s research also suggests that the impact on cinemas may not be as significant as believed.
“Almost all the people we have interviewed consider an at-home digital video and the cinema movie two completely different choices,” he continues.
“We want to meet the interests of all those involved in the industry – customers, studios, cinemas, filmmakers, and distributors. We have considered current cinema attendance in our financial recommendations, and with this we believe our service will deliver immense value to everyone.”