An examination of the effect of online streaming platforms on cinemas.

Cinemas Movie theatre
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Movie theatres

Siverbird Cinema, Imax, Ozone and so many others have been the source of joy for so many of us, giving us the privilege of streaming our favorite movies on a large screen with a clearer view as opposed to the pirated one. It has also helped in generating a lot of revenue for Nigeria, as it is ranked second after agriculture.

Going to the cinema to watch movies for some is the highlight of various festivals we have in Nigeria and with EbonyLife TV giving us the yearly dose of Christmas holiday movies. At the end of the day, we go home with our tummies full of popcorn, either happy for a well-scripted movie or sad, thinking of the one million things you could have done with the money you spent on the movie. Asides these, watching movies with the crowd has this kind of feeling that you’d love. With different emotions swaying the theatre, be sure to have a good laugh at the end of a movie.

Netflix Nigeria
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Online Streaming Platforms versus Cinemas

With the birth of Netflix Nigeria and Iroko Tv, which has been around for a while, it leaves me to ponder on who will fill the empty seats at the cinemas. There is the convenience of the vast amount of choices they offer. With a population that would rather free services as opposed to paid, the giant room, booming sound, and the communal experience wouldn’t be a good enough reason to pay for a movie theatre. Theatres are losing ground to streaming platforms. I’d rather pay N2,400 per month to stream unlimited content in the comfort of my home than spend close to 5k going to see just a movie.


Consequently, with the current reality that covid19 is showing us, millions of businesses have come to a halt with no exclusion of the movie theatres and has been abandoned for months now. The over-the-top streaming platforms have served as a medium through which entertainment is ensured to be served, regardless.

Way forward

For Niyi Akinmolayan, he believes the two can thrive in a healthy environment. The business and growth of one do not in itself affect the other. Right now, movies that have been previously shown in the cinemas are currently streaming on Netflix Nigeria. If this would be the new normal, I’d rather wait until such a movie gets to the online platform, seeing that watching a movie at the cinema might not be cost-effective.

With this in mind, a few questions that bother me; What is the fate of movie theatres beyond COVID19? 

My submission from my research would be- although the advent of these various streaming platforms might be threatening the cinemas, it does not mean that they would go extinct. This just means that stakeholders in this platform would have to re-strategize and think of a way forward. There is room for healthy competition.

Imagine yourself as a stakeholder, what would be your suggestions?

Also, no thanks to the pandemic which has stimulated at-home movie trends. In the US the movie theatres are tilting towards partnership with these streaming platforms.

Netflix finalized a deal to buy Hollywood’s historic Egyptian Theatre while either Amazon or Netflix is also interested in a buyout of AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc, due to the depressed theatre valuations. For some these big studios are shipping films straight to an online platform in other to recoup some profit. 

Truth is the theatre attendance may never bounce back to the level it once was. Fingers crossed.


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