Would you pay good money for cinema releases at home?

11 Mar 2016

Napster co-founder and former Facebook president Sean Parker is working on a new project that could see movies delivered to your small screen the day they hit cinemas.

In what would surely be a crushing blow to cinemas – which have navigated through several ages of home entertainment relatively well – Sean Parker is apparently a key investor in a new business idea called Screening Room.

The premise is pretty simple. Customers buy a special set-top box for around $150 (€135) that sends new cinema releases straight to your TV screen.

Future Human

The movies are available for 48 hours and, should you wish to watch any, they cost $50 (€45) a pop.

It sounds remarkably expensive – even in comparison to a regular, non half-price Wednesday trip to your local cinema – but there’s method to this economic madness.

According to Variety, which broke the story, charging such a number is the only way to get everyone on board.

A bit for everyone

Theatres get a cut of the fee and, as a cherry on top, customers who watch a film on Screening Room bag two free tickets to a cinema. That way the cinema makes money on its food and drink sales, which is where the real profit is.

With cinema attendances holding up throughout this current digital revolution in the home,  another reason to stay on the couch is surely something theatre-owners would fight.

There are a bunch of obstacles to overcome for the Screening Room. Not least the licensing agreements many filmmaking companies already have throughout the world, utilising various devices for their own limited releases.

Another obstacle, surely, is this would be looking to tap into the movies -at-home market, which is pretty fine with illegally downloading content for nothing.

Pushing content into homes the day of release, for all the security measures content creators like to think they put in place, would surely only feed into this. But, really, would you pay $150 for cinema releases at home, and $50 a pop to watch them?

Main image via Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic