Cord-Cutting Millennials ‘Causing Studios To Take Bigger Risks’ Says LEGO Film Creator

While movie die-hards debate whether “La La Land” or “Fences” will take home the Best Picture honor at Sunday’s Academy Awards, Hollywood is facing a tough reality – how to keep people coming to the theater.

Box office revenue and ticket sales have plateaued over the past few years, and even faced a slight decline from last year, according to The-Numbers, a site that analyzes movie data and trends. What might be most alarming is the lack of millennials choosing to go to the theaters; the demographic has seen a steady drop in admissions since 2012, according to a recent report from the MPAA.

The decreasing number of millennial moviegoers isn’t news to Hollywood producer and CEO of Lin Pictures Daniel Lin. Lin specifically targeted the millennial demographic while producing the LEGO Batman movie, the second in a series of films following the LEGO movie, which topped the box office for two straight weekends after its release earlier this month.

“There’s just so much competition for eyeballs. You know I look at millennials who work in my office and they’re constantly on social media, they’re watching movies on their phones, they don’t necessarily go to the theater that much – it [must] be a big event to go,” Lin said.

And as millennials turn away from the traditional movie experience, streaming services are thriving.

Between Q4 2014 and Q4 2016, the total number of domestic online streaming subscriptions increased 26.3 percent, according to Netflix data. Netflix subscriptions alone rose nearly 11 percent.

In 2014, over 40 percent of U.S. households used some type of streaming services, according to a Nielsen report. And in 2016 during a conference in Las Vegas, Nielsen revealed that number rose to 52 percent according to The Wall Sreet Journal.

But rather than viewing cord-cutting and streaming services as the impending doom of the big screen, Lin said he is “fully embracing” the technology.

“I believe they can coexist, that streaming services and movies can coexist. Services like Netflix are great for our business because they just encourage that type of great story telling, great filmmaking that then encourages studios to take bigger risks,” Lin said.

He even has plans in the future to build a “combination of a live action and animation Pixar in Los Angeles.”

“You know the movie business is tougher than ever, it’s flattening out, some say it’s declining, technology is really challenging us. But the one thing that I believe that will usurp all that is great storytelling. So, what can I do to create an environment for great storytelling? That’s my focus.”

Does anyone here still go to the theaters?  If not, why?  What could be done to enhance the experience of going to the movie theaters?  I have gone to a dinner and movie a couple times with my fiancée, and I believe the experience there is enough to keep me coming back, and they have amazing pizza.  When I lived in Germany, they would serve snacks, mostly ice cream, before a movie.  My local theater now has reclining seats, and I have seen some with beds.  Did “D-BOX” do anything for you?  When I worked in retail, my big pitch was to bring the theater to the home, but what could bring the theater back to the theater?  I would love to hear your input.

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Scott Hart

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60 Comments

  1. It simply COSTS too much to go to a movie nowadays, and the quality of the experience just gets worse. Sillymark recently opened a brand-new theater (and tore down a great 1960s widescreen dome theater to make room for it) and ALL of its screens are natively 1.85 without even any masking, so all widescreen movies are letterboxed just like at home. With a presentation similar to what I get at home, why should I bother going out?

  2. Jesse Skeen

    It simply COSTS too much to go to a movie nowadays

    This has certainly come up in other threads before, but at the risk of repeating myself, I think cost more than anything is why we get more and more big giant franchise movies from familiar properties, remakes, reboots, etc and not much else, and why those are the only things people seem to be willing to pay for these days.

    Granted, I probably live in the most expensive movie market in the country, but the cost of an IMAX 3D ticket has been raised yet again (it last went up three months ago) to $26.29. A RealD 3D ticket is generally about $20, and a standard 2D ticket is generally about $16. To put that into perspective, a new release 2D Blu-ray normally costs about $20 (and will end up costing about half of that after being out a few months), and a new release 3D Blu-ray or 4K UHD disc costs about $25. So it's actually the same price or cheaper to buy a single disc to watch as many times as I want as it costs to see it in theaters once. For two people going to the movies, it'll definitely be cheaper to buy the disc on it's street date than to buy two tickets to the theater. I realize that my prices are higher than a lot of other areas, but prices seem to on a neverending upwards climb.

    As an example – there were two movies coming out in IMAX that my wife and I potentially had interest in. One was 2D, one was 3D, but the price of both types of ticket is still over $25 each, so for my wife and I to see one of those movies, it would be more than $50. One of them is "Logan" which we decided to purchase tickets for – we enjoy Jackman's portrayal of the character even when the movies haven't always been great, so we're reasonably sure that we'll enjoy it and are expecting that we might even love it. For $50+, that was a minimum criteria to get us in the door. It's just too much money to spend on something that we don't know if we'll enjoy. I suspect a lot of people are making similar calculations.

    For the recent Best Picture movies, I saw them all in theaters this year, which I wouldn't normally have done. Regal offered a $35 pass to see them all over a ten day period. (It also included the option to purchase a medium popcorn and soda combo for only $5 – you could buy as many of these combos as you wanted.) If I had paid to see them all individually in theaters, it would have been about $150 for one ticket to each and that's just the cost for me. If I had opted to rent them at home (all of the nominees except one or two are available for rent), that would have been about $45 right now. (And as many people as could fit in my living room could watch for the same price.) Within a couple months, most will be on Netflix, so it'll be even less. Very few of this year's nominees really demanded to be seen on a giant screen, and with the exception of La La Land, none were released in IMAX so none were available to be seen on the largest screens in the first place.

    It has gotten so expensive to go out to see a movie.

    What would make me go back to the movies more regularly? Simple. Make it so that each movie ticket isn't a major financial decision. When a pair of tickets costs more than $50, there are a lot of things that I'm happy to wait for the disc or the stream to check out at home. If theaters brought the costs down so that a pair of tickets once again cost less than buying the disc to own forever, then it would be a lot easier to return to theaters more often and take more chances on a wider variety of movies in theaters. I don't like that things are as expensive as they are – I feel like I'm being forced out of a hobby that I've loved my entire life and I'm not happy about it.

  3. Granted a GOOD theater presentation is worth going out for (but I would still have to draw the line at a $26 ticket!) but those are few and far between. There's no theater in my area that I'd go to just to experience the theater regardless of what they were showing.

    Sad that even with interest in 3D declining, the greedy studios won't wake up and DROP the upcharges for it. Instead they're letting theater run more 2D showings (which they shouldn't be doing, period as I consider that altering the movie) since so many people don't want to pay the upcharges. I've heard IMAX theaters aren't going to be showing "family" movies in 3D anymore because of the total cost for a family to go to a show- so that 3D equipment that cost so much is sitting there doing NOTHING!

  4. Jesse Skeen

    Granted a GOOD theater presentation is worth going out for (but I would still have to draw the line at a $26 ticket!) but those are few and far between.

    To give credit where credit is due, for the price IMAX charges, they consistently deliver a quality performance at the theaters they control that I visit. On the very rare occasions when something wasn't right, IMAX went out of their way to make up for it. I've gotten a level of customer service from IMAX that I simply haven't experienced at any other theater.

    Jesse Skeen

    I've heard IMAX theaters aren't going to be showing "family" movies in 3D anymore because of the total cost for a family to go to a show

    I noticed that Lego Batman Movie was only in IMAX 2D, but my conversation with IMAX led me to believe that this was due to studio preference. They are aware that some of their customers prefer 2D films, and over the past year or so, I've noticed that they've tried to include the occasional 2D showing of a 3D movie as part of the mix – I don't object as long as the 3D version remains available. But I don't think it's a response to cost. At every IMAX theater I've been to, the cost difference between an IMAX 2D presentation and an IMAX 3D presentation has ranged from no difference at all to an extra dollar. If someone is willing to pay the $5-10 upcharge to go from a standard auditorium to an IMAX auditorium, I don't think an extra fifty cents is really going to affect anything. (If anything, that's why my local IMAX raised prices thirty cents just recently – I'm sure they figured that if I was willing to spend $25.99 on a movie, that $26.29 wouldn't be a dealbreaker.)

  5. Jesse Skeen

    Sad that even with interest in 3D declining, the greedy studios won't wake up and DROP the upcharges for it. Instead they're letting theater run more 2D showings (which they shouldn't be doing, period as I consider that altering the movie) since so many people don't want to pay the upcharges. I've heard IMAX theaters aren't going to be showing "family" movies in 3D anymore because of the total cost for a family to go to a show- so that 3D equipment that cost so much is sitting there doing NOTHING!

    Ha ha, Really. I don't even bother with the 3D glasses available at the theatre. I use the clip-ons that came with my LG set. Charging 13 bucks for a 3D film feels like a rip-off when I can use my own glasses now.

  6. Wow. You definitely have my sympathy. i don't like to rub salt in the wound, but if I really want to be cheap I can go to a Tuesday showing for 10 bucks for 3D and 8 for a regular showing. Unfortunately, part of that pricing structure is due to the fact that movie attendance and caring about the theatrical experience where I live is relatively low. They have to price competitively to draw a crowd that would be just at home watching on a 7" screen as on a 50 footer.

    The downside is that the theatre just doesn't get the love and attention it needs for a really decent experience. The presentation is passable, but I believe it could be a lot better. We also can't get a stadium seating-style theatre which I would sorely like to have here.

  7. Edwin-S

    Wow. You definitely have my sympathy. i don't like to rub salt in the wound, but if I really want to be cheap I can go to a Tuesday showing for 10 bucks for 3D and 8 for a regular showing. Unfortunately, part of that pricing structure is due to the fact that movie attendance and caring about the theatrical experience where I live is relatively low. They have to price competitively to draw a crowd that would be just at home watching on a 7" screen as on a 50 footer.

    The downside is that the theatre just doesn't get the love and attention it needs for a really decent experience. The presentation is passable, but I believe it could be a lot better. We also can't get a stadium seating-style theatre which I would sorely like to have here.

    I think unfortunately I might have the worst of both worlds – we have extremely high prices here, but I don't think attendance is necessarily any better. Maintenance certainly isn't. Theater chains here still follow the model of building or renovating a new theater, and then letting it slowly fall into disrepair over an extended period to the point where the only option is to do another expensive renovation. I just saw all of the current Best Picture nominees at my local Regal as part of their festival, and after seeing so many movies in such a short period in the same building, the thing that struck me is that each of their auditoriums has developed one minor issue or another, just from general wear and tear, and none of it is being addressed. They've offered free passes if you complain about a problem, but they don't actually ever fix any of them. Some of these things I'm sure could be done inexpensively, it would just be a matter of staying late a few nights, or closing the theater on a Monday or Tuesday. But that doesn't seem to be in their business plan. They'll run it to the ground, and then when people stop showing up altogether, will either close it down and sell off the real estate, or renovate the entire thing and reopen. But either way, it's become apparent to me over the past year that nothing will actually be fixed. And that's why I generally avoid that particular theater whenever possible, even though it's significantly closer to me than any of the theaters I regularly go to.

  8. The main reasons I rarely go to the theater are cost and time. I recently took my wife and 3 kids to the batman lego movie, an afternoon showing. $68 for tickets and $34 for drinks and popcorn. I cant afford that every couple of weeks, especially when I can wait 3 months and either buy it, stream it or get it from redbox. And the only time I have to go by myself, (I have enough willpower to forgo drinks and popcorn), is on the weekend. And with a wife and 3 kids there is always too much going on.

  9. I only wish I could go to my local theater more often. It's reserved seating, dine-in. They've got a great atmosphere and there's not talking or texting going on. I'd go weekly if I could. But I'm of a point in life where the theater is just too loud and I can't enjoy it like I used to. So, the spirit is willing (along with the wallet) but the flesh is weak.

    So, I'm spending too much money on hardware and software at home.

  10. Cranston37

    Cost isn't a killer for me. My local theater has a deal on Tuesdays where for $5 you get a reserved seat in one of those reclining leather chairs and a large popcorn. Huge screen. Dolby Atmos. No crowd. I just go then 😉

    Now, I'm feeling jealous. :razz::)

  11. Limited selection where I’m currently at. I’m working in the rural northwest in a small town. There is a 2 screen theater, and the selection isn’t great. The theater is not to up to date, but I still enjoy it. It has commercials to watch before the movie, but I have to admit, I don’t see “John Deer” advertisements before the movie at home.

    When I’m home, my screen, seats, food and sound beat nearly all the theaters in the area. It generally has to be something my wife and I really want to see when it comes out, or we wait.

  12. For me, it's partly cost, and partly having an enjoyable home experience. I still like to go to the theater for the big blockbuster releases, but smaller releases I can wait to view at home.

    But, the increasing number of people I bump into that when I bring up a show I started watching on Netflix, or a movie I'm going to see, that ask me why I don't have a jail broken Firestick yet is alarming to me. They're watching new releases at home.

  13. I think I mentioned it a while back but a local oil rich family who has donated a ton of money to help hospitals in town (one named after them) and has done many other great things for the community built a huge art deco theater a few blocks from our house and it is simply an amazing place. Built in the style of the 40's with balcony seating in some theaters (adults only) and ushers in full 40's outfits including gloves (and they hand out mints after the shows), the list of great features goes on and on. Best theater in the state, possibly region.

    Best of all, you can see a first run matinee show for $7, including 3D shows. So for $14 I took my kiddo to Lego Batman and had awesome seats, top notch sound etc. I rarely go to any of the other theaters (Cinemark, AMC, etc) now.

    Going to the movies is exciting again and it's much more entertaining than sitting at home watching a movie on the ol' 55" TV. 🙂

  14. This article about cord cutting costs pretty much sums up my thoughts.

    Cord cutting sounds great on paper, but in many cases, you aren't saving any $$$ vs. cable or DTV. Might actually be paying more. Add to that the headaches of finding the shows you want, recording, glitchy playback issues, then the hassle of stopping the service so they don't keep charging your credit card if you don't want their services…

    This is pretty much why I just can't justify cutting out my Directv. So easy to use for the whole family, we get all the lives shows right then, plus so many other shows all for $75 a month. No way I could come in way below that cost wise and keep a family of TV watchers happy.

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/…/cutting-cord-could-cost-much-cable/98894132/

  15. Alf S

    Cord cutting sounds great on paper, but in many cases, you aren't saving any $$$ vs. cable or DTV. Might actually be paying more. Add to that the headaches of finding the shows you want, recording, glitchy playback issues, then the hassle of stopping the service so they don't keep charging your credit card if you don't want their services…

    That was the conclusion I came to last time I looked at it.

    One factor that I don't see people mentioning often in this articles – maybe this is just a quirk of my local cable companies, and not a universal issue, but they charge us a reduced rate for internet services because we're cable subscribers. If I ditched cable, my internet bill would double automatically. So let's say for the sake of discussion that my current bill breaks down as $100 for cable service each month, and $40 for internet service. $140 a month. If I ditch the cable, my internet goes up to $80 a month. So then I have $60 left in the budget to just match what I had with cable, and I don't think can do that with the different services. There are also some shows that I watch on networks that don't participate in Hulu, or have the option to subscribe to those channels just online, so I'd need to buy the entire season on a service like iTunes to follow those shows – and those can run $20-40 a season.

    I watch few enough things that cord cutting can seem like a good idea, but just enough things where practically speaking, it doesn't work out.

    If the cost of my internet service was going to be exactly the same regardless of whether or not I had cable, it might be a different story, but I'm not convinced of that either.

  16. To be fair though guys, you and that article are kind of retroactively changing what the term "cord cutting" means.

    Originally it was supposed to mean doing without TV/streaming services at all and at most using a free OTA antenna and getting by with just that. If you ditch cable only to sign up for these other services, that isn't "cord cutting" at all…

  17. Talking to a 20-something coworker today about tv: she commented she keeps telling her mom that recording shows is pointless now. Everything is streaming now. And my friend seems to watch everything via streaming from the various services.

    I didn't mention my 3TB 6 Tuner Tivo 🙂

  18. Cranston37

    To be fair though guys, you're kind of retroactively changing what the term "cord cutting" means.

    Cord cutting is supposed to mean doing without TV/streaming services at all, and at most getting by with only a free OTA antenna.

    If you ditch cable only to sign up for these other services – that isn't cord cutting, it's just changing your TV provider, and if THAT'S what you're doing then it shouldn't be much of a surprise that there isn't a cost advantage…

    Yup.

    We finally got Cable service in my area, so I dropped satellite and combined video and internet services. 200 down, all the channels I want, and a Tivo and Tivo mini for $145 month. I can stream UHD like a fool too. Before I was paying $180 for Directv and 6mbps DSL (puke).

    I get streaming is out there, and I could get into it with cable internet only, but, we stay weeks behind on DVR'd shows, I dont have the time or want to for tracking down all the shows we watch and keeping them ordered. I just set a season pass and watch shows when I get time.

  19. I mostly go to matinees, which usually save you a couple bucks or more, and there's usually very few people there. I realise a lot of people can't go to matinees just whenever they want (due to work hours, household chores, after-school activities, etc).

  20. DaveF

    Talking to a 20-something coworker today about tv: she commented she keeps telling her mom that recording shows is pointless now. Everything is streaming now.

    And she's absolutely right. It's something I keep trying to tell my parents who subscribe to Sling TV. Shows are all available on demand. You can even start watching something, and it will stay in your "continue watching" page until you delete it.

  21. We have a "Scene" Visa which gives points toward free movies here in Ontario. We use it for everything and pay it off each month.

    I don't think we have actually paid for a movie for at least 5 years. By the time any movie is on a streaming service, we have seen it months ago. You can also use your points for refreshments, although we rarely indulge.

    Cranston37

    And she's absolutely right. It's something I keep trying to tell my parents who subscribe to Sling TV. Shows are all available on demand. You can even start watching something, and it will stay in your "continue watching" page until you delete it.

  22. Cranston37

    And she's absolutely right. It's something I keep trying to tell my parents who subscribe to Sling TV. Shows are all available on demand. You can even start watching something, and it will stay in your "continue watching" page until you delete it.

    Ah! How delightful it must be to have these services. Canada unfortunately does not. Sometimes when you cross the border for a day, check out our Netflix — pathetic!

  23. George_W_K

    For me, it's partly cost, and partly having an enjoyable home experience. I still like to go to the theater for the big blockbuster releases, but smaller releases I can wait to view at home.

    But, the increasing number of people I bump into that when I bring up a show I started watching on Netflix, or a movie I'm going to see, that ask me why I don't have a jail broken Firestick yet is alarming to me. They're watching new releases at home.

    And the quality of what they're watching at home is deplorable. Ugh! The quality isn't any better than the bootleg DVD's. My boss has one of those SkyStream boxes and watches the new movies. How can you bear to watch them like that?

  24. Re: jailbroken fire stick and other similar devices – the surest way to get a show you like canceled, or a movie series you like discontinued, is to watch it on one of those things. Not only is the content theft alarming in and of itself, it also denies the studios and networks the ratings metrics they need to measure if something is reaching its audience.

    This post isn't directed at anyone specific; I'm just really concerned about those hacked devices. If everyone started using one of those illegal devices tomorrow instead of getting content through legitimate means (whether that's via cable or broadcast or streaming), I'd be out of a job. This whole entertainment industry could collapse if people stop paying for stuff they watch.

  25. Josh Steinberg

    Re: jailbroken fire stick and other similar devices – the surest way to get a show you like canceled, or a movie series you like discontinued, is to watch it on one of those things. Not only is the content theft alarming in and of itself, it also denies the studios and networks the ratings metrics they need to measure if something is reaching its audience.

    This post isn't directed at anyone specific; I'm just really concerned about those hacked devices. If everyone started using one of those illegal devices tomorrow instead of getting content through legitimate means (whether that's via cable or broadcast or streaming), I'd be out of a job. This whole entertainment industry could collapse if people stop paying for stuff they watch.

    I wholeheartedly agree!

  26. Ron1973

    And the quality of what they're watching at home is deplorable. Ugh! The quality isn't any better than the bootleg DVD's. My boss has one of those SkyStream boxes and watches the new movies. How can you bear to watch them like that?

    People stream stuff on their phones nowadays. I don't get that either.

  27. Josh Steinberg

    Re: jailbroken fire stick and other similar devices – the surest way to get a show you like canceled, or a movie series you like discontinued, is to watch it on one of those things. Not only is the content theft alarming in and of itself, it also denies the studios and networks the ratings metrics they need to measure if something is reaching its audience.

    This post isn't directed at anyone specific; I'm just really concerned about those hacked devices. If everyone started using one of those illegal devices tomorrow instead of getting content through legitimate means (whether that's via cable or broadcast or streaming), I'd be out of a job. This whole entertainment industry could collapse if people stop paying for stuff they watch.

    Very well said.

    How does used disc sales affect things? Because that is one thing I do partake in.

  28. George_W_K

    Very well said.

    How does used disc sales affect things? Because that is one thing I do partake in.

    I don't work in home video anymore so I can't give an authoritative answer on that. But when I was working for a tiny label, that wasn't really on our radar. Someone bought it and paid for it the first time and we got a sale. But illegal downloading was on the radar. I remember my bosses thinking it was some kind of mad scientist super genius level stuff, and then I brought in my laptop, and showed them how easy it was, and suddenly they started paying more attention to that.

  29. Ron1973

    And the quality of what they're watching at home is deplorable. Ugh! The quality isn't any better than the bootleg DVD's. My boss has one of those SkyStream boxes and watches the new movies. How can you bear to watch them like that?

    Not sure what a skystream is but, HDX & UHD on Vudu is very good quality imo.

  30. Josh Steinberg

    Re: jailbroken fire stick and other similar devices – the surest way to get a show you like canceled, or a movie series you like discontinued, is to watch it on one of those things. Not only is the content theft alarming in and of itself, it also denies the studios and networks the ratings metrics they need to measure if something is reaching its audience.

    While I share the sentiment, I'm not sure this is accurate. Correct me if I'm wrong, but viewership numbers, and so decisions on whether to renew or cancel shows, come from Nielsen ratings. The network ostensibly have no idea if John Q Public is watching or pirating a show…unless JQP is a Nielsen viewer and reports that he's not watching a show. And even then, practically, if JQP / Nielsen viewer reports that he is watching a show — even if he's getting it via illegitimate means — the Nielsen ratings would show only that the viewer reported watching it.

    And for that matter, if we're honest with ourselves, folks (like me) who use a DVR and skip commercials are also a "surest way to get a show canceled" since we're also bypassing the revenue source for the shows. And again, my com-skipping has no direct effect on a show's performance since I"m not a Nielsen viewer. And last I knew, TiVo doesn't report their DVR data to Nielsen or Networks. (Again, let me know if I'm wrong 🙂 )

  31. The only time my wife and I have not fast forwarded through commercials since about 1986 have been in hotels. We discovered the process on our Beta machine, continued through VHS and DVD-R and still do it every day with our PVR. One point however, we still see the ads in FF mode, and if there is anything that applies to us, or that we find interesting, (about 1%), we stop, rewind and watch. This has alowed us to keep our sanity over the years.

  32. TJPC

    One point however, we still see the ads in FF mode, and if there is anything that applies to us, or that we find interesting, (about 1%), we stop, rewind and watch.

    For my wife and I, this would mostly be restaurant commercials (Olive Garden does food porn really, really well!) and any commercial with a dog in it! 😀

  33. DaveF

    While I share the sentiment, I'm not sure this is accurate. Correct me if I'm wrong, but viewership numbers, and so decisions on whether to renew or cancel shows, come from Nielsen ratings. The network ostensibly have no idea if John Q Public is watching or pirating a show…unless JQP is a Nielsen viewer and reports that he's not watching a show. And even then, practically, if JQP / Nielsen viewer reports that he is watching a show — even if he's getting it via illegitimate means — the Nielsen ratings would show only that the viewer reported watching it.

    I was thinking more in the context of cord cutters – I figure someone using a hacked firestick or whatever is using that in place of legitimate streaming services. So maybe you're a big Game Of Thrones fan, but instead of using HBO Go or HBO Now, you use the illegal box, and then HBO is down a viewer. (OK, one viewer isn't gonna make a difference on that show, but for a bubble show, it could be a different story.) Maybe you used to have Hulu, and you streamed all of your network programming there, but with a jailbroken device, they can't tell that you're watching anymore.

    DaveF

    And for that matter, if we're honest with ourselves, folks (like me) who use a DVR and skip commercials are also a "surest way to get a show canceled" since we're also bypassing the revenue source for the shows. And again, my com-skipping has no direct effect on a show's performance since I"m not a Nielsen viewer. And last I knew, TiVo doesn't report their DVR data to Nielsen or Networks. (Again, let me know if I'm wrong 🙂 )

    I was under the impression that DVRs were collecting data and sending that back to the cable companies. So even if it doesn't directly translate to ratings, I've seen plenty of press releases and such about "most TIVO'd moment ever!" and DVR numbers giving boosts to ratings, etc. So it might not be 100% data collection, but I think there is some information they get out of it.

    And I do wonder about DVRs and commercial skipping, long term. I use one too. I'm actually really amazed that the cable company hasn't yet built in some control that won't allow certain commercials to be skipped. Speaking purely hypothetically, I wouldn't be shocked if that's a future innovation – maybe companies will be able to pay an extra fee to lock their commercials so they can't be skipped. If I was advertising a product or service, I'm not sure I'd want to spend my dollars on TV advertising on anything other than a live event.

  34. Josh Steinberg

    I was thinking more in the context of cord cutters – I figure someone using a hacked firestick or whatever is using that in place of legitimate streaming services. So maybe you're a big Game Of Thrones fan, but instead of using HBO Go or HBO Now, you use the illegal box, and then HBO is down a viewer. (OK, one viewer isn't gonna make a difference on that show, but for a bubble show, it could be a different story.) Maybe you used to have Hulu, and you streamed all of your network programming there, but with a jailbroken device, they can't tell that you're watching anymore.

    This was a big thing in Canada awhile ago. People were border jumping and accessing the US Netflix and HBO streams to keep current on shows like "Game of Thrones". Netflix has put in blocking software to stop this kind of thing. It is just typical of a company to resort to treating the symptom rather than the cause of such behavior which is solely due to the fact that Netflix Canada is inferior to the US version in terms of availability of new shows or current content.

    They supply an inferior quality service in Canada and then complain that people are using VPNs to border jump. The border jumpers also include paying subscribers of Netflix Canada, who figure that they should have equal access to content as US subscribers.

    In short, Netflix fucks over their Canadian subscribers and then bitches when those same subscribers use VPNs to access content that they think they should have access to.

    As for HBO, people were/are pirating "Game of Thrones" because the US airings are ahead of Canadian airings. People watching the series in Canada want to keep current, so they pirate the content because HBO does not provide streaming in Canada. If HBO streaming were available, the pirating of the show would drop substantially, since many of the people doing so have said they are only doing it because the content isn't being provided day and date with the US airings.

  35. Edwin-S

    In short, Netflix fucks over their Canadian subscribers and then bitches when those same subscribers use VPNs to access content that they think they should have access to.

    In the defense of Netflix, licensing agreements are very complex. I used to work for a small home video label back at the dawn of Netflix, and we provided them with streaming content when they began offering that service. The thing was, because our content was produced with a variety of partners, we had different rights available for different titles. For some titles, we could only offer them to streaming services like Netflix for domestic (U.S.) use only; for other titles, they were North America only. Some were international. Some were weird combos of some of those options. So I just don't think it's a case of Netflix thinking Canadians are inferior as people and deserve less options; it's probably more of a matter that a lot of content today has varying rights restrictions behind the scenes and different breakdowns over who controls what rights in which territory. From the little experience I had dealing with Netflix, I think they would really like it if licensing was simpler and everything could be made available everywhere equally. For a lot of U.S. titles on Netflix, they're bundled together as a package deal. It may be that some of the titles within those deals don't include Canadian rights. Netflix may have tried to go to the Canadian rights holder to arrange another deal (as they would do with my former company when we could only provide certain rights and not others) and been rebuffed. As far as the VPNs go, I bet that Netflix wishes they could just offer one service everywhere and not have to care about that – but contractually, if they're only allowed to distribute a title in one territory and not another, they have to enforce that otherwise they could be sued by the rights holder for violating the contract.

    Edwin-S

    As for HBO, people were/are pirating "Game of Thrones" because the US airings are ahead of Canadian airings. People watching the series in Canada want to keep current, so they pirate the content because HBO does not provide streaming in Canada. If HBO streaming were available, the pirating of the show would drop substantially, since many of the people doing so have said they are only doing it because the content isn't being provided day and date with the US airings.

    I have far more sympathy for HBO subscribers and less sympathy for HBO itself in these circumstances – HBO controls the worldwide rights to Game Of Thrones and they own the show. There's absolutely no reason for the show not to be day and date everywhere, given its popularity and the ease of distribution. This isn't a case of Netflix trying to license something else and facing limitations in what they can procure to offer you, this is HBO doing some kind of weird staggered release thing which doesn't benefit anyone in an internet age.

  36. Every month on TCM there are several movies that play on the US network but not in Canada. We get a substitute due to copyright differences. This includes all Laurel and Hardy movies and at least one of the Topper films.
    This is also the reason Warner Archive will not mail MOD discs to Canada, although for some reason out public library has many of them.

  37. Cranston37

    To be fair though guys, you're kind of retroactively changing what the term "cord cutting" means.

    Cord cutting is supposed to mean doing without TV/streaming services at all, and at most getting by with only a free OTA antenna.

    If you ditch cable only to sign up for these other services – that isn't cord cutting, it's just changing your TV provider, and if THAT'S what you're doing then it shouldn't be much of a surprise that there isn't a cost advantage…

    I understand what you're saying, but I've always understood and believe the wide use of the cord-cutting term as referring to people "cutting" either corded television or telephone services in favor of modern & wireless (and usually less expensive) alternatives (streaming video services or wireless cell).

    But you are correct – if someone just swaps out 1 expensive package for another – what's the point. However, we don't spend anywhere near as much as we used to. Cable TV is out & so is the home phone.

    We have HD Broadcast, Roku & XBox & 1 streaming service at a time. Roku has many excellent free streaming apps too – Smithsonian, CBS News 24/7, YouTube, SkyNews, ABC, Pandora, Shout Factory TV, Pluto, Vimeo, Pandora, PBS and many other very good ones including local TV stations.

    We might try some other pay streams for 1 month here or there – but honestly – there is so MUCH available through broadcast, Netflix, Roku, and our huge Blu-ray collection that we always have an excellent selection to watch every single day. I don't miss those big bills or those hundreds of useless cable channels.

    Internet service is reasonable right now. Even if it is a little "higher" than it is bundled with cable TV, it's still much cheaper. I don't go back and spend that saved $ just getting more subscription services. In other words – we have Netflix – but don't have Hulu, Amazon, etc. One is more than enough. We use what we have and are very happy.

  38. Alf S

    This article about cord cutting costs pretty much sums up my thoughts.

    Cord cutting sounds great on paper, but in many cases, you aren't saving any $$$ vs. cable or DTV. Might actually be paying more.

    Well, I must be the exception. I'm saving a bunch of money compared to what I used to pay for Dish Network (over $100 monthly when I dropped them). I have OTA for the major networks, a Hulu subscription ($8.00/month), Netflix ($10/month) and Amazon Prime ($8.25/month, which I mainly keep for the shipping). Those three streaming services ($26.25/month) still work out way cheaper than what I paid Dish (over $100/month).

  39. AndyMcKinney

    Well, I must be the exception. I'm saving a bunch of money compared to what I used to pay for Dish Network (over $100 monthly when I dropped them). I have OTA for the major networks, a Hulu subscription ($8.00/month), Netflix ($10/month) and Amazon Prime ($8.25/month, which I mainly keep for the shipping). Those three streaming services ($26.25/month) still work out way cheaper than what I paid Dish (over $100/month).

    How much for internet service?

  40. George_W_K

    How much for internet service?

    That can be the kicker. I've not seriously looked at "cord cutting" in a few years. But out there, the impression is that you get much better pricing for "triple play" packages. Remove TV and phone and the internet only prices go up.

    But it's moot. My wife must have her real-time Survivor and Amazing Race. And we both enjoy watching new series first run. So dropping to only streaming services doesn't appeal enough yet.

  41. Ironically I have all the sports channels "blocked" in my cable package, but apparently in Canada, you must have cable to get most of them. My daughter has been downloading and streaming for years, but since living with her fiancé, has been subscribing to cable, since he is an avid sports fan.

  42. DaveF

    My wife must have her real-time Survivor and Amazing Race. And we both enjoy watching new series first run. So dropping to only streaming services doesn't appeal enough yet.

    Survivor, Amazing Race, and other network shows are available via antenna, next day on Hulu for $7.99, and a lot of the $20 streaming services have CBS, ABC, NBC, and Fox live. Cable's not the only game in town anymore.

  43. DaveF

    My wife must have her real-time Survivor and Amazing Race. And we both enjoy watching new series first run. So dropping to only streaming services doesn't appeal enough yet.

    Is an antenna not a viable option where you live?

  44. Cranston37

    Survivor, Amazing Race, and other network shows are available via antenna, next day on Hulu for $7.99, and a lot of the $20 streaming services have CBS, ABC, NBC, and Fox live. Cable's not the only game in town anymore.

    None of these on line services are available in Canada.

  45. Cranston37

    Survivor, Amazing Race, and other network shows are available via antenna, next day on Hulu for $7.99, and a lot of the $20 streaming services have CBS, ABC, NBC, and Fox live. Cable's not the only game in town anymore.

    AndyMcKinney

    Is an antenna not a viable option where you live?

    Not practically. I'd have to install a rooftop antenna, run coax through the house and merge it into the household cabling in the basement.

    And also, TiVo doesn't support OTA anymore.

    So two strikes and it's out.

  46. DaveF

    Not practically. I'd have to install a rooftop antenna, run coax through the house and merge it into the household cabling in the basement.

    That seems to be a pretty extreme set-up – everybody I know that uses one just has it sitting next to the TV. Mine is behind the TV and works great…

  47. David Norman

    Certain TIVO do support OTA though unless I'm totally out of it,

    Previous gen Roamio, low-end 4-tuner model supported OTA. Roamio Plus and Pro with six tuners are cable card only. Bolt follows that pattern: four tuner with low capacity does OTA, six tuner with big capacity is cable card only.

    Cranston37

    That seems to be a pretty extreme set-up. Everybody I know that uses one just has it sitting next to the TV. Mine is behind the TV and works great…

    I tried it when I moved into the current house. Due to layout and distance from broadcasters, indoor digital antennas don't work well enough. (I did this at my previous home for several years before finally going to cable. It worked about 95% of the time. But there were some weather related issues and other quirks that ultimately were part of the motivation to go to the more stable cable subscription.)

  48. DaveF

    Previous gen Roamio, low-end 4-tuner model supported OTA. Roamio Plus and Pro with six tuners are cable card only. Bolt follows that pattern: four tuner with low capacity does OTA, six tuner with big capacity is cable card only.

    It's been a while since I've been to the TIVO site. I also see a Roamio that looks like it is specifically made for OTA and has a lot of the built in apps for Netflix, Hulu, etc I knew the upper tier Roamio had removed the OTA, but I wasn't sure if the Bolt had completely done away with options

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