Entertainment Disruptors: Why We Stopped Going to the Movies

According to MPAA, although box office revenue increased slightly from 2012 to 2013, movie admissions to US and Canadian movie theaters was down from 1.36 billion to 1.34 billion. In the last 10 years, movie-house attendance peaked in 2004 at 1.5 billion, and it’s been trending downward since.



Launched in 1999, Netflix pioneers subscription-based movie rentals. By the end of 2002, it has 857,000 members. By 2004, it has 2.6 million members. By end of 2013, it has 48 million+ members all over the world.


DVD sales reach a peak in 2004 at $22 billion, but they still represent a healthy portion of at-home watching. WSJ.com reports that DVD sales were $7.78 billion in 2013, while subscription streaming services (like Netflix) accounted for about $3.16 billion.

Mobile Devices

With the iPad introduction in 2010 and a steady stream of strong competitors, mobile tablets have made on-demand movie and TV-watching easier than ever. Emarketer says 34.9% of mobile device users watch movies on their tablets; 28% say they watch movies on their smartphones.

Amazon Video on Demand

Uber retailer Amazon.com launched its video streaming service in 2006 and partnered with TiVO in 2007 for digital video download services. It boasted a library of 5,000 titles; today it’s reported to have more than 40,000 movie and television titles.


Another disruption to traditional cinema experiences, TiVo came on the scene in the late 1990s and last year reported 34% growth in subscriptions to 4.2 million. Being the earliest and biggest on the scene lent itself to TiVo becoming synonymous with digitally recording televised programs. TiVo as a verb can also refer to the company’s competitors, including DirecTV, satellite and other easy-to-install digital recording devices.

Other Streaming Movie Services

iTunes, Hulu, Apple TV and other streaming services are cutting into not only each other’s shares of the market, but it also cuts into moviegoers times in theaters.

For young and upcoming filmmakers, the American moviegoer is a highly sought-after group because of its loyalty and resistance to changes in the economy. NATOOnline says in the past 40 years, the US has been through seven recessions and box office sales remained strong through all of them. Comparatively, movie tickets are the least expensive of ticket-based entertainment such as sporting events, rock concerts and live theater.


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