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New Study: Consumers Prefer Streaming New Movies at Home to Going to Theaters in Post-Pandemic World

Aubrey Meister

During the pandemic, the entertainment industry saw drastic changes. With movie theaters closing, concerts being canceled, and sporting events taking place without fans, many people tuned in to events from their living rooms. Disney+ and HBO Max responded to this by offering same-day streaming of theatrical releases.

Disney introduced Premier Access, which makes theatrical releases available to Disney+ subscribers for an additional $29.99 per film. HBO Max allows subscribers to stream theatrical releases for no additional cost. Despite the success of films like Black Widow on Disney+, movie theaters are suffering.

Now that the world is returning to “normal,” people have the option to go to the movie theater to see new films, but do they want to? A new study from Hub Entertainment Research shows that most consumers want to continue watching new releases from home.

According to the study, two-thirds of consumers believe they will regularly stream new movies from home in the next year. Only 36% of consumers plan to go to the movie theater to see new releases.

Throughout the course of the pandemic, the number of consumers who paid to stream a new movie at home jumped from 19% in July 2020 to 33% in June 2021. More consumers paid for new movies at home despite the availability of the vaccine and coronavirus restrictions easing.

Even though the coronavirus was seemingly improving by April 2021, 19% of the consumers surveyed bought a new smart TV around that time or after. The study notes that the vaccine was widely available in April as well. It looks like consumers are prepared to continue watching content from the comfort of their homes. With new smart TVs and other streaming devices, consumers may be more inclined to remain at home.

“Before the pandemic, more viewers were already paying a premium to watch new movies at home,” said Jon Giegengack, principal at Hub and one of the study’s authors. “HBO Max and Disney poured more gas on the fire by redefining the release window for new movies. Add in the fact that many upgraded their home viewing tech during the pandemic, and we have perfect conditions for driving consumption of PVOD even after anxiety about theaters has faded completely.”

Disney+

Disney+ is an ad-free video streaming service that offers exclusive series and films from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic, The Muppets, and more.

The Disney streaming service costs $7.99 / month, or $79.99 / year ($6.67 / month). You can bundle it with Hulu and ESPN+ for just $13.99 a month (cheaper than Netflix).

The app supports unlimited downloads, four simultaneous streamers, up to 7 profiles, 4K streaming, and includes hundreds of avatars.

The service includes 25+ new original series, 10+ original movies, 7,500 past episodes, 100 recent movies, and 400 library titles including the entire Disney Vault. You can stream original series like “The Mandalorian”, “Falcon and the Winter Soldier”, “Loki”, and “Monsters at Work.”

You can see the full list of available Disney, Disney Channel, Star Wars, Pixar, Marvel, Nat Geo shows and movies, or all available Disney Plus content by checking out our Disney+ Streaming Movie List.

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Depending on what happens with the COVID Delta variant, additional releases could be pushed to Disney+ Premier Access rather than premiering exclusively in theaters. Disney had planned for Jungle Cruise to be the final Premier Access movie. As of this point, no additional titles are scheduled for that format.

In comparison, Warner Bros. has several more movies planned to premiere simultaneously on HBO Max and in theaters in 2021, a move that AT&T feels confident about. WarnerMedia officials have previously stated that the day-and-date premiere strategy would not be continued into 2022.

Within the past week, fears about the spread of the Delta variant have forced Paramount Pictures to cancel the planned September 17 release of the family film Clifford The Big Red Dog. Although no other film releases have been canceled or altered due to the variant yet, many industry insiders are watching the headlines regarding the COVID spread very closely.

HBO Max

HBO Max is a subscription video streaming service that gives access to the full HBO library, along with exclusive Max Originals, and access to every Warner Bros. film on HBO Max on the same day that it hits theaters.

HBO Max has two tiers, an ad-supported plan for $9.99 and ad-free plan for $14.99. HBO Max without ads also includes features like the ability to download offline and 4K streaming.

Subscribers will have access to hit HBO series like Succession, Mare of Easttown, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and more.

All HBO Max subscribers will get the full libraries of shows like “Friends”, “The Big Bang Theory”, “South Park”, “Fresh Prince of Bel Air”, “The West Wing”, and more.

They also will get Max Originals that aren’t available to HBO channel subscribers, like “The Flight Attendant” (Kaley Cuoco), “Love Life” (Anna Kendrick), as well as reboots to “Sex In The City” and “Gossip Girl.”

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