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Did OTT Steal this Summer’s Movies?

Summer movie theater sales took a hit. Is OTT to blame?

Posted on September 5th, 2017 by Lisa Hagin

Remember Friday night at the movies? Popcorn? Coke? Loitering in the lobby with a group of your best friends? It may be time to reimagine them. As summer draws to a close, looking at box office sales from the season and comparing them to summers past, the numbers are worth a long, contemplative look. Overall summer sales are down 14% and experts are calling it the slowest summer in 25 years. Maybe it is time to really think through the impact of the OTT revolution and why it works.

Actors, execs and moviegoers flock to OTT content

Netflix has spent $6 billion on original content thus far in 2017. Amazon is set to spend $4.5 billion, doubling down on what they spent just two years ago. And A-list actors are appearing in more and more OTT content. Is it possible they are able to forecast the future of weekend movie-going? Variety called it a “TV Renaissance,” offering blockbuster actors longer-term contracts, a less rigorous filming schedule and greater visibility. There are large OTT providers hiring for a broad range of shows, allowing actors to explore a riskier creative. If movie sales are down, Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon are on HBO, while actors are freely saying linear and non-linear television offers better acting opportunities, how will movie studios and theaters adjust?

And how will advertisers be impacted?

62% of media-buyers anticipate an increase in OTT ad spending, which is a natural progression as Disney gets into the streaming business and rumors circulate that Apple may offer an HBO/Starz/Showtime bundle.

Broadcasters need to begin preparing to take their traditional television content OTT.

It isn’t a question of if – but really a question of how quickly. Imagine if a few more television streaming services are introduced as steadily as they were in the last few years. If OTT ad revenue increased 30% in the last year, we can continue to expect the numbers will thrive. Yes, there are important factors to consider during the OTT transition and there are also OTT solutions to address common hang-ups in the process. The movie-going experience is changing in an palpable way. As we help OTT blockbusters play out on mobile devices, we wonder – Will we still have “movie stars?” Will movie theaters continue to be the epitome of a high schooler’s Friday night? Maybe the movie-going experience will have a renaissance of its own.  

Posted in: OTT