Typically, when a new movie is released people flock to the cinema. But what if you didn’t have to join the herd?
What if you could watch your favorite new movie from the comfort of your own home?
Screening Room is a brand-new, Hollywood-focused streaming service that allows you to remain potato-like. The service, created by Sean Parker and Prem Akkaraju, completely eradicates the time-lag between a movie hitting the cinema screens and reaching your personal TV screen. Parker was an original co-founder of Napster, and a top executive at Spotify (and, Facebook, among others).
Screening Room wants to fill a major gap created by Netflix and services like it. Netflix features serious time delays for freshly-released films, and the reason is that the price-points that Netflix charge are simply too low to license frontline releases immediately from major Hollywood studios. It’s a gripe that most subscribers have learned to tolerate, but that doesn’t mean they won’t pay more for more premium content.
Parker and Akkaraju feel they have a fairly straightforward solution to this issue: charge more… a lot more. Users of Screening Room will be required to pay an upfront cost of $150 for a set-top-box, and a further $50 per movie chosen. This will allow the user to watch a movie on the very day it is released, with a 48-hour window of rental enjoyment.
Screening Room brings a series of potential benefits to its users. Firstly, if people have good technology at home (and a large TV screen), this eliminates the need to physically go to the cinema. That includes the expense of traveling to the movies, the over-priced cost of theater popcorn, and about 1,000 other things we all hate. But those benefits only really stand if the service is used in a multi-person household, like a family home for example, or even for those that have high disposable incomes.
Perhaps it all boils down to personal economics. The Hollywood Reporter has looked at the average price of a movie ticket in the US, and found year-over-year increases. In fact, ticket prices are at all time high, currently surpassing $8. So, for a group of friends that regularly go to the cinema, Screening Room could be an valuable option. For a price-conscious, single viewer, the expense of streaming the movie would be far greater than the expense of actually going to the theater.
Screening Room is essentially a luxury offering, but the difficulty that the service may struggle with is getting people to part with the initial $200 before they can watch their first movie. On top of all this, Screening Room’s founders face the unenviable hurdle of clearing the rights for the big, Hollywood-backed blockbusters that high-end users will demand.
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