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Did Streaming Services Take Over 2020?

Dec 8, 2020

During a pandemic, there are very few things that Mack Reed, senior, can do to stay busy: “Jeopardy,” playing bass, and watching the “Simpsons”. 

It’s no secret that the pandemic killed the movie theater, as seen with the announcement of the permanent closure of the Mann Hopkins Cinema 6 on Nov. 19. 

2020 has really set up streaming services as one of the only forms of escapism that isn’t tarnished by the looming presence of the pandemic, and the numbers speak for themselves. 

At the end of 2019, Netflix had over 167 million subscribers. But during the first quarter of 2020, its subscriptions skyrocketed due to the final month of the quarter (March) being the start of the global coronavirus pandemic in many countries. By April 2020, Netflix had almost 183 million subscribers, increasing to nearly 193 million subscribers by July 2020.

Even after Netflix’s increased price for the standard plan, $13 to $14 a month, the platform still gained 2.2 million subscribers this fall. 

Whether it’s his own or someone else’s account, Reed is in no shortage of content with access to Hulu, Disney+, Netflix, HBO Max, and Amazon Video. 

1.04 million households watched the season two premiere of “The Mandalorian” on the day it debuted, according to Samba TV, which measures viewership on connected-TV devices. 

“I haven’t seen a movie since COVID broke out, and it’s been sad seeing the Hopkins theater close,” said Reed. 

Warner Bros. Pictures via HBO Max also just buried the grave of movie theaters everywhere. On Dec. 3, the service announced that they will simultaneously release films like “Wonder Woman 1984”, “Matrix 4”, “The Suicide Squad”, “Space Jam: A New Legacy”, and other titles in theaters and exclusivley on their service at no extra charge. 

Between all this content and streaming services acquiring news and sports broadcasting, how will cable television survive, let alone movie theaters?

In 2019, there were 90.3 million US households subscribed to cable/satellite TV, and that figure is projected to be down to 82.9 million households in 2020. According to USA Today, it is estimated that 50.2 million US subscribers would have “cut the cord” by 2021.

“The future is streaming,” said Reed. “I was into streaming services before the pandemic, but not as much as I am now. There is not much to do when I can’t even go outside.”

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