Pandemic pastimes: the continued rise of streaming services

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Masks off to the entertainment that made it a bit easier to stay inside these past couple months.

By Geoffrey Boyle, Reporter

With the whole world feeling like it’s been completely turned upside down this year, much has been changed in how people consume their entertainment. As of late most movie theaters are either closed or only available for private screenings, so people have relied mainly on online outlets to get their fix of films and TV shows. With the first doses of a vaccine being administered, one would wonder whether people will be rushing back to the theaters for whatever blockbuster comes next or will people continue to watch from the comfort of their couch.

With or without the pandemic, the entertainment industry was already pushing heavily towards bolstering their online presence. With Netflix Originals, Prime Video, and the relatively recent entrance of Disney+, the amount of exclusive content on these streaming platforms was gradually increasing. 

From TV series such as “the Crown” and “The Mandalorian” as well as the many other films and shows made for these services, they’ve all seemed to grab the attention of the viewers all over.

Disney+ is a great example with the release of the second season of “The Mandalorian.”  When the service was first released, that show was the first title to draw people in, but according to The Verge, the content drought caused by the pandemic soon after made people less interested in coming back to Disney+. This was until releases such as “Hamilton” and “Mulan,” and more recently the second season of “The Mandalorian” that helped draw people in with fresh content.

As these services increased in popularity, the consensus of where most people preferred to watch movies and TV has changed. In a study published by Amy Watson in Statista, there was a major shift in people’s preferences observed from 2018 to mid 2020. During this time the percentage of people that preferred in person viewing over streaming flipped from 53% of people preferring theaters in 2018 to 56% of people preferring streaming in June of 2020. 

While a certain worldwide phenomenon definitely had an effect on this change, it would seem that people were already starting to enjoy streaming movies more than going out to see them in a theater.

With the way things are going, it doesn’t look like these streaming services will be going anywhere. While only time can truly tell, with the broader market they can reach and the convenience of delivering new content straight to people’s living rooms, the trends tell a pretty clear story. Streaming services are in and people are ready to browse those online libraries. Let’s just hope they can add shows as fast as we can binge-watch them.