Would You Pay $50 To Stream a Newly Released Movie at Home?

Would You Pay 50$ To Stream A Newly Released Movie At Home?
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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.


(Image licensed under Creative Commons, Attribution-Share Alike, 3.0 Unported)

12 Responses

  1. Jeff Robinson

    The Music Industry needs to be charging the same kind of premium per subscription for Streamed Audio. $79.99 a month for 30 million songs? DEAL.

    I wonder what the actual break-even subscription rate would be for Spotify so that they could afford to pay ALL the royalties they are supposed to at the scale they are supposed to?

    Paul, ask Daniel Ek what that number would be. More subscribers in the future means that subscription rate would come down.

    • Paul Resnikoff

      I just emailed Daniel for his target number. I’ll tell you what he says (if he has a concrete number he wants to disseminate).

  2. Vail, CO

    This is a feature, not a service. Once the $50 thing takes off, you’ll see the exact same model taken up by Netflix and MGO for immediate movie access.

  3. Stay away, Sean Parker

    I would never, ever touch anything related to Sean Parker.

  4. Adam C Smith

    NEVER! I’ve been just fine waiting up to a year to watch it at a price i can live with, not changing that now…maybe something those 1%-ers would pay for.

  5. FarePlay

    You kill the theaters and you destroy the perceived value of movies. We’ve see how that’s destroyed the music business. First piracy, then a decade of Freemium.

    No surprise Parkers behind this. First Napster, then Spotify. BTW no piracy no spotify.

  6. Denise

    Oh God! I hope this never happens… My vote is a resounding NO!