Going to the movie theaters, once an all-American pastime, is not as popular as it used to be. Increasingly, consumers are staying home. Box office sales fluctuate from year to year but the downward trend is unmistakable. In 2015, 1.3 billion movie tickets were sold in the U.S., an increase over the 1.21 billion tickets sold in 2014. However, ticket sales had not been that low since 1995.
Many people are opting for online streaming subscriptions with companies like Netflix and Hulu instead of going to the box office. With 40 million and 9 million U.S subscribers respectively, it's no wonder box-office sales have gone down. Why are Americans staying home to watch TV shows and movies instead? Here's a list of the top 4 reasons:
- Rise of movie ticket prices
In 2015, the average movie ticket price in the U.S was $8.43. Ticket prices have consistently increased since 2000 and have jumped from an average of $7.89 in 2010. Obviously, that doesn't include the cost of popcorn and other snacks. If you're an avid moviegoer, those other costs can add up quickly. Why fork over all that money to go to the theater when you can pay $7.99 a month for Netflix or Hulu?
- Original Content on Netflix and Hulu
Netflix offers its own television shows like "Orange Is the New Black" and "House of Cards," both of which are critically acclaimed. Netflix has also tried its hand at original movies with A-list actors, like "The Beasts of No Nation," starring Idris Elba, and "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon II," released this year. Sometime this year they will also release "War Machine," a satirical comedy based on the book The Operators: The Wild and Terrifying Inside Story of America's War in Afghanistan, starring Brad Pitt. Hulu also has original content and picked up Fox's "The Mindy Project" and Stephen King and J.J. Abrams' 11/22/63.
Both online streaming programs allow you to watch your favorite TV shows and movies on devices that are convenient for you, not just on TV. You can pause and rewind when you want to and put your feet up and relax. You can watch both streaming services on your smartphone, laptop, game console or Blu Ray player. You can also watch Hulu on Apple TV and Google Chromecast. You can binge-watch (see #4) and catch up with your favorite movies and television shows. As a bonus, Netflix offers its subscribers an option to view programming on multiple devices simultaneously. Hulu does not currently offer this.
4. Binge-watching culture
In 2015 Americans watched 42.5 billion hours of Netflix programming . Both Netflix and Hulu offer thousands of titles, including movies, television shows and original content. Missed "Scandal" last night? You can catch up the next day on Hulu. Just started watching "Grey's Anatomy"? Catch up with season 1 on Netflix. Hulu allows subscribers to keep up with current TV shows a day after they air on TV. Netflix allows you to catch up with your favorite shows after the season already ended.