Netflix boss thinks we’ll still go to movies even if new releases hit streaming

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings believes punters will still go the cinema to watch films, even if they can be streamed at home during the initial release window.

Speaking at the Code Conference, Hastings likened cinema visits to going out to dinner, rather than simply preparing food at home.

He argues the communal experience of going to the movies will still entice people to pay to visit theaters “just like you go out to dinner even though you know how to cook.”

We’re not sure Hastings’ argument holds up here. Cooking at home is harder than going out to dinner. Watching a film at home is far easier than going out to the movies.

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Whether the primary reason for going to the cinema is to see it on the biggest screen possible, or to see it as quickly as possible, or simply for something to do on a Friday night is also up for serious debate.

The dramatic increase in affordability of large high definition (and 4K) televisions and surround sound systems means the gap between the movie theatre and the couch isn’t what it was.

There are undoubtedly certain movies that demand to be seen on the big screen, an epic Chris Nolan flick perhaps, but would the latest Kevin Hart comedy really be worth a trip to the multiplex, if you could watch it at home?

There’s also the expense to consider. Unless you smuggle in your own refreshments, it’s difficult to do a date night for two for under £30/$30, never mind factoring in the children.

And what of that big screen experience? In our humble opinion there’s been a general disintegration of cinema etiquette over the last few years. Sitting there and being quiet, apparently, isn’t what it used to be.

Still, Hastings believes (via The Verge), that it’s “inevitable that the current window system breaks down,” meaning a democratisation of availability for new releases, regardless of the format.

Netflix, of course is also working towards an eventuality where it won’t need movie studios’ permission to stream titles whenever it likes; i.e. making the films itself.

“I think it’s fair to say we’ve been amazingly successful at series and we’re just getting started on movies,” he said.

Would you still go to the movies to see the latest releases if they could be streamed at home on the day of release? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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