Brick & Mortar Meltdown at the Movies: Neither Extra-Comfy Chairs Nor Bars Can Reverse the Trend

Ticket sales plunged 31% per person on average since 2002. You can raise ticket prices only so much before the strategy backfires.

By Wolf Richter for WOLF STREET.

There are many ways to watch movies these days without having to go to a brick-and-mortar movie theater. And it shows. Despite population growth and all the efforts by movie theaters to stay relevant – such as offering extra-comfy chairs and adding bars and allowing people to bring those drinks into the theater – ticket sales continue to zig-zag lower. It seems nothing is working to stem the long-term decline.

Movie ticket sales fell 5.2% in 2019 to 1.244 billion tickets, according to movie data provider The Numbers. This is a 21% plunge from the peak in 2002, when 1.58 billion tickets were sold, and a 14% drop from 20 years ago in 1999, and just a hair above where ticket sales had been in 1995:

On a per-capita basis, ticket sales look a whole lot worse. In 2002, there were 287.6 million people in the US; in 2019, there were 328.2 million people. So on a per-capita basis, ticked sales dropped by 31% from 5.5 tickets per person on average in 2002 to 3.8 tickets per person in 2019.

Streaming services that became popular after the widespread arrival of broadband internet in the early 2000s muscled in on cable TV subscriptions, whose growth began to wither by 2010. And in 2013, cable TV subscriptions began to decline, according to MoffettNathanson data, cited by Bloomberg, and have fallen every year since then, picking up downward momentum along the way, leading to a record year-over-year drop of 6.2% in Q3 2019.

But streaming services, along with increasingly affordable large displays, have also been eating away at movie ticket sales.

Higher ticket prices have been the only factor keeping dollar-revenues at the box office from collapsing in parallel with ticket sales. The average ticket price was $9.11 in 2019, according to estimates by The Numbers, which was more than double the price of an average ticket in 1995 ($4.35).

While $9.11 for a ticket sounds punitively high in some markets, in other markets it’s a hard-to-find deal. For example, at the AMC in San Francisco, a ticket for Jumanji: The Next Level is currently priced at $15.99. Two adults ($15.99 each) and two children ($12.99 each), plus grandma ($14.99) add up to $72.95, not including the sodas and beers from the bar and popcorn. This will easily turn into a $100 event, without doing anything special.

Which is the third factor in the relentless decline of movie ticket sales: this stuff can add up!

Ticket prices rose enough that, despite declining movie ticket sales, box office revenues kept meandering higher, hitting a new record in 2018 of $11.96 billion. Inflation covers a lot of sins. But in 2019, box office receipts dropped 5.3% to $11.33 billion.

The chart below shows average ticket prices (red line, right scale) and box office receipts in billions of dollars (black line, left scale):

The dollars are very concentrated. The six top grossing movies in 2019 were all distributed by Walt Disney. Number eight was also a Walt Disney movie. Those seven combined grossed $3.6 billion, or 31% of the total box office. On average, they each grossed over $500 million. The remaining 661 movies that were shown in theaters in 2019, according to The Numbers, grossed together $7.8 billion, or on average less than $12 million each. Here are the top 20 grossing movies in 2019 (if your smartphone clips the five-column table, slide the table to the left):

Top 20 Grossing Movies of 2019
Movie Distributor Gross, $ millions Tickets, millions
1 Avengers: Endgame Walt Disney $858 94.2
2 The Lion King Walt Disney $544 59.7
3 Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Walt Disney $452 49.6
4 Frozen II Walt Disney $450 49.4
5 Toy Story 4 Walt Disney $434 47.6
6 Captain Marvel Walt Disney $427 46.9
7 Spider-Man: Far From Home Sony Pictures $391 42.9
8 Aladdin Walt Disney $356 39.0
9 Joker Warner Bros. $334 36.7
10 Jumanji: The Next Level Sony Pictures $236 25.9
11 It: Chapter Two Warner Bros. $212 23.2
12 Us Universal $175 19.2
13 Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw Universal $174 19.1
14 John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum Lionsgate $171 18.8
15 How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World Universal $161 17.7
16 The Secret Life of Pets 2 Universal $158 17.4
17 Pokémon: Detective Pikachu Warner Bros. $144 15.8
18 Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood Sony Pictures $141 15.5
19 Shazam! Warner Bros. $140 15.4
20 Knives Out Lionsgate $130 14.3

Movie theaters are competing with streaming services that are at least to some extent subsidized by investors, or subsidized by other corporate activities, and stubbornly refuse to generate positive cashflows.

Netflix is the primary example of a perennially cash-flow negative streaming service. It’s easy to see how the cash is getting burned, and how much it has to borrow constantly to keep feeding its cash-burn machine.

The negative cash flows of other top streaming services, such as Hulu (acquired by Walt Disney in 2019), Amazon, and Apple are buried in the vast corporate financial plumbing, and they don’t break out the troublesome details. The companies have other priorities than maximizing cash flow from streaming – including a brutal fight for market share – and they make their money in other activities. These companies can afford to keep the subscription costs low to gain subscribers, even if each subscriber burns cash.

And at $100 a pop for a family outing to the movies, it doesn’t take long to where an annual subscription and watching dozens of movies a year at home on a beautiful big screen makes sense to more and more people.

Broadband has brought structural change to how Americans entertain themselves, how they buy stuff, how they communicate, how they do a million other things. These trends will not miraculously reverse. And raising ticket prices can only paper over structural shifts at brick-and-mortar theaters for so long, before the strategy becomes counterproductive and begins to energize the structural change.

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  155 comments for “Brick & Mortar Meltdown at the Movies: Neither Extra-Comfy Chairs Nor Bars Can Reverse the Trend

  1. Chuck says:

    You forgot two other factors. The movie makers don’t produce very many movies worth watching. Everything is super hero comic book stuff or horror. The other thing is putting up with lousy behavior from other movie goers.

    • MC01 says:

      I suspect very much like music the “truly good stuff” is buried just under the surface but I am not much a film person myself.
      But the point is that you can do no wrong (financially) by catering to children and youths: as a former Disney executive said technically savvy people will always manage to find a way to beat their latest DRM technology but what father worth of this name would give his daughters a ripped Jonas Brothers CD? Cynical but honest and makes sense.

      This kind of marketing was already lampooned in The Simpsons episode “Itchy and Scratchy Land” (E04S06): after seeing a commercial for a new theme park Bart and Lisa start pestering Homer to take them there until,esasperated, he says “If I take you there will you shut your mouths?”.

      • RagnarD says:

        Yes,
        There are always good independent/ foreign films out there….
        Same with music and books and restaurants.

        Yes, Most ppl listen to Bieber, read 50 Shades and eat At McDondald’s. Always have, always will.

    • Willy Winky says:

      Look at that list above – total garbage.

      I have no TV subscription but I download a few of the quality series and perhaps one or two Hollywood movies per year – all for free from Pirate Bay (last year the only Hollywood movie I downloaded was The Joker)

      Netflix runs mostly garbage and has nowhere near the selection of Pirate Bay.

      I would pay to download on PB but that’s not an option.

      I suspect a lot of broke youth use Pirate Bay

      • a citizen says:

        “I suspect a lot of morally compromised people use Pirate Bay.”

        Yeah, that’s more like it.

        • Wisdom Seeker says:

          Don’t feed the Disney monopoly.

          Notice how the copyright law expiration is always extended to protect Mickey Mouse? The law has been contorted far beyond its original intent and value.

          Most of those sequels-of-sequels should be public domain already, particularly Star Wars.

        • noctevolens says:

          Your self-righteous indignation is duly noted.

        • Zantetsu says:

          Wisdom Seeker, it is true that copyright law needs to be changed. But you are committing a false equivalency if you are claiming that pirating 70 year old Mickey Mouse cartoons is the same thing as pirating new movie releases like “no scruples” Willy Winky does.

          Content producers work for their money like everyone else and deserve to be paid when their content is viewed. Don’t like the content or don’t think it’s worth the money? Vote with your wallet and don’t buy. But stealing content and then convincing yourself you are justified is flat out wrong.

          But you know, we already accept lots of bad behavior in our society. It’s why it’s all going to hell. You can’t stand in line at a movie theatre anyway without teenagers dropping f bombs left and right like there is no such thing as public decency.

        • NBay says:

          I love Mickey Mouse, but only when he appears on South Park.
          I’d say 50% of my TV time is South Park, the rest is classic movies, and a few are still coming out….way too few….good dialogue and story lines very rare, some news, (even Fox think) and the ever fewer good documentaries, although I never tire of new and old WW2, still amazed at the size of that, and also learn a lot watching advertising as a study of my fellow citizens.
          BTW, this is South Park marathon night on Comedy Channel.
          Oh yeah, theaters? Mostly as a kid, and to please a shallow lady. for selfish reasons. Can’t recall the last time in one….70’s?

        • NBay says:

          OOPS! Make that Wed for South Park marathon, we changed our winter outside coffee meetings to M-W-F because the weather is fantastic, and it threw me off.
          Part of my suffering for living in CA.

        • Rich says:

          Mickey sticks his hands in your pockets and takes all the cash and CC. The mouse can’t be trained that well so they train the public to allow the outflow of cash from your pocket to the mouse.

          Like other posters have said. None of the movies on that list are worth watching – even for free. They are a waste of my time. We only live so long and to use that precious time to watch garbage makes no sense.

    • Mark says:

      You bet ! These cowardly geeks in Hollywood wouldn’t know how to make a Doctor Zhivago or Lawrence Of Arabia if they tried …. (Doctor Zhivago 7 ?)

      How about further back, when The Pawnbroker and Rod Steiger didn’t win Best Picture ? Why ? Because On The Waterfront and Marlon Brando did!

      In the same year. Enough said

      • JR says:

        It’s not just movies like that they can’t make anymore. They can’t make anything NEW.

        Look at the list – 3 of 20 movies are from original ideas.

        The studios see the money in the tent pole movies, but they don’t see the damage caused by the lack of producing anything new. Ultimately, this is why people are going to other platforms – and why movie theaters are becoming less relevant other than to the really big movies.

        • Jonas Grimm says:

          Why risk it? Every new IP is a risk of a flop. Why bother with the new, when you can still milk the old?

        • NBay says:

          Save up your money and go to the Telluride Solstice Music Festival. Truly a magical venue. Or if you are up for real adventure, go to a Rainbow Gathering…all free…..hippies vs Hitler youth.
          Put yourself in the entertainment, instead of staring at a screen.

      • Endeavor says:

        Dr. Zhivago 7
        Lara and a team of all female Spetnatz commandos drive the Panzer divisions from mother Russia in only 60 days!
        In 3D!

      • MarkinSF says:

        Nice try but Pawnbroker was 1964; On The Waterfront 1954.
        You are definitely in the minority if you think Pawnbroker is a superior film to Waterfront. It’s not even in the same league

    • Pavel says:

      Chuck — precisely!

      Why on earth would I want to spend $50 or so going to a cinema where the soundtrack is blasted almost painfully loudly and one must put up with idiots who don’t turn off their cellphones?

      I may have to wait a few months but why not just enjoy it at home with a few friends and a fine bottle of whatever.

      And don’t get me started on the glut of superhero movies. Granted I am turning into a grumpy old man but all the modern CGI just gives me a headache, plus the ridiculous number of jump cuts they impose on us.

    • Trinacria says:

      Exactly…so many shows on the streaming services, yet most of them don’t interest me nor my wife, and they just aren’t that good….sure there are a few here and there. The super hero stuff is really ludicrous and downright childish. If people keep going, more garbage will be produced as movies sell to yesterday’s audience. So in the future look forward to:
      1. Toy Story 104
      2. The Rise of Skywalker’s grandchildren
      3. Jumanji: the never ending story
      etc, etc etc
      So, my wife gets DVD’s from the library…over the weekend we watched Rio Bravo with John Wayne.

      • a citizen says:

        Rio Bravo is free on Prime and a bunch of other services. Libraries are every bit as vestigial as theaters at this point.

        • Zantetsu says:

          Not sure where you live but where I live libraries are hugely popular and well used. They are not vestigial, they are still relevant and useful.

        • Trinacria says:

          Did not notice Rio Bravo was there, so thank you. We also get DVD’s of Acorn/British police detective series, Australian and New Zealand series for which they charge on Prime, so we get for free at library. We also get….wait for it….books at the library.

        • NBay says:

          Never thought of Wayne as a good actor, more of just a male role model for another time.

        • Greg Hamilton says:

          Libraries are far from vestigial where I live. The libraries near my residence pool their resources and will send the desired DVD or book to the one nearest you free of charge. Their catalogs are online and most films or books are a mouse click away. The only DVD series they didn’t have that I requested recently was the BBC series McMafia which was available on Amazon for a fee. It was enjoyable if overly dramatic.

        • Ethan in NoVA says:

          Checking out a book or movie from a library is no different than using The Pirate Bay. In both cases the author is paid only once for their work ;-)

      • Norm says:

        We (wife and I) went to see a new movie at corporate cineplex a few blocks from our house in Chicago. $30 for the tickets, but we don’t eat pop corn so it might not have been too bad if the movie wasn’t as dismal as it was. But the worst of it was that the feature was supposed to start at 6:45 so we were in our seats at 6:40. For the next 35 minutes we were assaulted by what seemed like a dozen wretched previews of even more wretched movies, plus an uncountable hoard advertisements selling everything from insurance to pickup trucks and a few inspirational shorts that touted the blissful experiences we were all having at the cineplex. Never again!

    • Mike G says:

      In that top 20 I see maybe three that aren’t comic books/cartoons, remakes or sequels. It’s the product.

      • Prairies says:

        Cartoons are where the money is made. Parents can’t say no to kids anymore so to the movie theatre they go.

        • Zantetsu says:

          Way to slander all parents. Very intelligent comment.

        • Prairies says:

          It’s not slander on parents, it’s slander on society. I wouldn’t use such a small stroke. If the parents don’t take their kids before they go to class the next day the kids have the movie told and all spoilers mentioned before they can see it, then if they can’t join in the conversation they are bullied and insulted for being cheap. So yes, parents are forced to say yes. Current society deems it so, just like gift giving at Christmas.

          I will stand on this soap box, advertising forces people to spend out of fear. FOMO is everywhere.

        • NBay says:

          Z-Didn’t you slander all teenagers a few comments back? I guess we can all have bad days. No harm no foul. Life isn’t black and white. :)

        • Zantetsu says:

          NBay — good catch!

          Being a parent and not a teenager obviously made me sensitive to being smeared while oblivious to the smear I made myself.

          I am duly chastised for my hypocrisy. Actually feels good to admit that I was wrong :)

    • CFA says:

      Chuck, your are absolutely right. Theatrical exhibition has very limited shelf space, bunch of bottlenecks and a small window, which is why studios can’t make a bunch of movies. The poor behavior of other people is unfortunately a reality but one could argue it comes with the “cinema” experience. Good news is, we at XCINEX are working to solve both these problems by building a online marketplace called Venue to remove all bottlenecks and stream first run theatrical movies to the home.

    • Morty Mc Mort says:

      Money and Business – Films cost half a Billion and up to make, Studios are investment and Revenue machines – Existing Franchises are “Bankable” Core market – 14 – 22 Year Old Males – You do the math and charts… Some one said a few years ago.. they call it the Movie “INDUSTRY” for a reason, industry, mass produces MONEY. End story. Real Stories, are a Craft business, not an Industry…

    • Dan says:

      Ray Bradbury (R.I.P.) stopped going to movies after walking out on Saturday Night Fever (1977) with his wife.

    • sierra7 says:

      Chuck:
      Wow! Right out of the gate I read at least half of your post as my main complaints:
      “Everything is super hero comic book stuff or horror. The other thing is putting up with lousy behavior from other movie goers.”
      Couldn’t agree more, especially the last half.
      I’ve come to enjoy my internet access to “utube” sites for so much more in learning, or even light fantasies!

  2. Si says:

    Movie theatres need to follow the new modern business strategy. Build loads of theatres, sell the big dream to investors, burn through billions of investor cash – dah dah! It is only because they have to generate cash they they are in trouble. So last century.

  3. Joseph says:

    Look at the list of movies – shows of make believe and cartoons – are there any adults in the room.  661 movies about what? serious drama, comedies, etc.. or just not as good make movies as the top producers.  Its also group-think and monkey see, monkey do.

  4. Kenny says:

    Reality is more entertaining than going to the movies.

    • X-Pat DE says:

      Certainly more frightening than Hollywood’s best horror movies …

    • NBay says:

      Or better than “reality shows”?

      For the life of me I just cannot figure out the appeal in those.

      And the fact so many actually do watch them, is much more frightening to me than the best horror shows.

  5. Robert says:

    The most annoying thing in the world, and the thing which spoiled the whole experience for me (never to return to SilverSpot) is servers who interrupt a movie to hard sell you bad food.

  6. Tom says:

    I also think that people are “boycotting” because of political statements made by actors/actresses. There’s also the threat of violence at the movie theater as well

    • Keith says:

      I am not sure if it should really be called boycotting as opposed to being reminded about reality. For movies, it is really about escaping the humdrum of life, bills, etc for even just a few hours. When actors decide to lead a political cause, or even worse, having politics invade the movie, it spoils the illusion for the consumer.

      Regarding the violence issue, I think that is just overdone media reporting creating news. I think the issues surrounding Joker were about that. People didn’t like the idea of the movie, and so started a campaign against citing Incels shooting up a theater. Same thing happened with Richard Jewell (great movie, BTW), regarding the “trope” about the female reporter. In this case, the AJC was upset about how their newspaper was presented in the movie and started a campaign against. (I guess I sort of went off the rails here.)

      • a citizen says:

        Your uncertainty notwithstanding, the entire industry has been acting as if the boycotting problem, one they created, doesn’t exist. NFL and NBA are struggling with the exact same issue.

        The difference with Hollywood is they not only have deep issues politically, but culturally as well. Much of their is product is just disgustingly offensive.

        • NBay says:

          Seems good place to point out Will’s 500 yr old observation,
          “All the world’s a stage and all of us are actors”

    • Petunia says:

      Hollywood keeps bashing the deplorables and they keep staying home. Same thing with the NFL. I don’t know why they think this will turn out well for them.

      • char says:

        Their market is 14 to 28 plus kids. Hollywood does not care about the rest because they don’t go to the movies now (or 50 years ago)

      • NBay says:

        Actors and athletes have the same 1st Amendment rights as the rest of us citizens do. They are not public servants. They are not yelling, Fire” in a crowded theatre.

        So it is their filthy rich boss’s problem, not theirs if some people disagree….no matter how high up they are.

        I burned my draft card, for what good it did me (in the Army a few months later) and I can light up a flag any old time I want now that I am no longer in uniform.

  7. Brant Lee says:

    I don’t like going to places where I feel I’m being ‘Worked’ for more and more money. It’s hard to tell the kids NO wanting snacks but it’s also no fun flopping out a $20 for two Cokes and a popcorn.

    • Keith says:

      In fairness to the movie theater, that is where I believe they make their movie. Streaming the content, as it were, mostly goes back to the studio. Concessions is where the theater gets their share of the profits, as I understand it.

    • Mike G says:

      This is also why I rarely go to pro sports events or big concerts unless it’s really compelling, you feel like you’re setting yourself up to be fleeced for anything and everything.

      • HowNow says:

        Agreed! Going to a pro- sporting event is certifiably insane. Recently went to one and felt so stupid during and afterward. Tickets and parking was a fortune, it took about 20 minutes to get out, and had to fight my way out at that. The beer was about 8 times cost at a bar and the plastic container it was in was as thin as a hair on a tick. The hot dogs were likely filled with newspaper. Ads were flashing around the stadium at all times, a massive video showed moments of “action” book-ended by ads for sponsors. Music was blasting at deafening levels. Half-time featured a sponsor’s raffle prize; “free” t-shirts with some sponsor’s imprint was shot out to the crowd… Besides, no one on the playing field was a native of this state. They were all from other states (countries). Maybe it’s just that I’m old and should avoid mosh pits.

    • elysianfield says:

      ” flopping out a $20 for two Cokes and a popcorn”

      Huh… Back in 1964 I flopped out $50 for a ’53 Studebaker two door coupe, with a half-tank of gas. Drove it home.

      Did I ever mention that I had to walk to school 5 miles a day…uphill in both directions?

  8. Joe says:

    Netflix has been producing some real good stuff as well as what is in movies come on this platform in a year to a year and a half. $13.99 for thousands of movies and series a month is far cheaper than hundreds for a couple shows that eventually come up in the net. Also Utube has great artists for great music.
    Such an amazing selection with no crowds or any rude individuals.
    You can pause the shows too when taking a dump…

    • otishertz says:

      The political programming on Netflix is regurgitating.

      I cycle through streaming services. There are about four. I watch one for two months, on the free one month deal, then cancel and go to another free one month deal in two months. That’s when I’m not sharing an account with someone.

      I eventually see all anyone has to offer.

  9. freewary says:

    If moviemakers & associated industry really want more $$, In addition to actually producing some quality films, they could stop shredding the values I’m trying to teach to my children.

    We eliminate 95% of movies from our family watch list due to the trash that’s in them. There are books and board games.

    • Ted says:

      Let’s not forget that in Hollywood there is very little creativity or originality, and a lot of huge, expensive boring movies. When I retired I thought I would spend a lot of time at the movies but turns out I go a lot less because I don’t want to be bored and insulted.

      • Keith says:

        I think the lack of creatively is due to the lack of fresh blood. You see the same names over and over again. Then the spots are handed down to their children. I think that stifles a lot of innovation/creativity. Then, there is the quest for a quick buck, like with the preview I just saw for an absurd storyline for the next Top Gun, starring Tom Cruise as a geriatric pilot. I think there was a Rambo of similar storyline.

      • joe says:

        Yeah. I tried to watch The Last Jedi on bluray, twice. First time I fell asleep and second time I didn’t finish it. I still can’t remember anything that happened. That’s the problem with most Hollywood movies now, boring. The YouTube spoiler reviews like Critical Drinker and Screen Rant plot pitches are more entertaining and don’t waste so much time.

        Shape of things to come – last good movie I saw (on YouTube) Crazy Alien, a Chinese movie. Foreign films are getting better while US movies are getting worse. And you can’t see foreign films in theaters so why go there when the foreign films are only on streaming.

        • Greg Hamilton says:

          For a moment I thought you said “The Shape of Thing to Come” was the last good movie you saw. I remember that science fiction classic staring Raymond Massey. It made a strong impression on me as a child and was quite prophetic. That film was way ahead of its time unfortunately as our world seems headed in that direction. I also thought the original Star Trek series created a brighter future but I think H.G. Wells vision will win out in the end. Please prove me wrong people.

      • It just hit me last year. I realized I couldn’t watch another superhero movie, period. Then I discovered Iko Uwais, and now I can’t watch fake action movies. The reprocessing of formula fare obviously works for Disney, but count me out, I’m gone. I still appreciate fine acting, and there are plenty of movies I like, but they tend to have smaller vs. larger budgets.

    • RD Blakeslee says:

      … and good old-time movies, available on used DVDs for sale online.

      • flashlight joe says:

        “Pre-owned” movies are also available for sale from Goodwilll stores and public libraries. I now have a collection which I lend out to friends.

        They are cheap (1$ – 2$). Not so good movies are donated again. Bad and disgusting movies are trashed.

        Yes, you have to hunt for the good movies.

  10. Old-school says:

    For the bold AMC has 72% of float shorted and dividend is 12%. Selling way under book value. It might be overdone. Definitely high risk. If there is good news it could pop because short interest is very high.

    • Wisdom Seeker says:

      Or the dividend could get cut to zero, and the shorts could make their 100% profit, albeit after enduring a few counter-trend rallies. But then, those roller-coaster thrills would be more exciting than anything AMC has to offer…

  11. Unamused says:

    Streaming services track you, collect your data, and create dossiers. They limit your choices to what they want make available, cheap, and corral your mind. They find out what you like so they can feed you more of the same, until everything has a limited, limiting sameness to it. So do ebooks.

    It’s another mechanism of mass control, like online retail as-a-service, and transportation-as-a-service, and breakfast-lunch-and-dinner as a ‘service’, and ‘social media’, which is groupthink as a service. In the US it’s hard to go to a store and buy a movie DVD, or a music CD, or a good book, because they’re all ‘services’ now.

    Are you being served? Good.

    You can even order in for popcorn while you watch the same movie today you watched yesterday, with a different title. They make it easy for you to stay home to cultivate your screen addiction, avoiding actual human interaction until you’re unable to cope with actual human interaction. It keeps you off the streets in every way except for your frenzied commute to your brain-dead job in your mortgaged SUV. People no longer know their neighbors, or care, and have few real friends, if any. Online dating works great for people until they actually have to meet somebody. Hard to impress your date with an empty head, but her head is empty too so she likes you anyway. And she’ll forget you in the morning.

    So the bijous are in decline. Live theatre is in decline. Live dancing with live music is in decline. Bowling and billiards are in decline. Bookstores are in decline. They mostly sell used books now, the ones that are left. ‘Convenience’ is up.

    You see where this is going. It’s the atomisation of society. Future generations are being raised to be screen junkies, dysfunctional as adults, to make them subservient to their corporate masters, who will discard them as weak and unwanted, Eloi for the Morlochs.

    “How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world, That has such people in’t!”

    https://psmag.com/social-justice/americans-are-staying-as-far-away-from-each-other-as-possible

    • doug says:

      good link. enjoyed. thx.

      Historically a haircut and a movie ticket were about the same price. Not sure it that is still true.

      • Unamused says:

        You’re welcome Doug. Take over for me, would you? I’m teaching Napoleonic history and fabrication techniques to the kids and have no time for this, old and stretched too thin like a hobbit with a ring. Much appreciated.

    • Trent says:

      you are so right and its so scary

      • Unamused says:

        Posting comments to this web site got me going.

        The problem with too many of the young these days is that they’re old before they’ve even lived. All too soon life will stop giving them things and one by one will take them all away. I blame the replacement of culture with marketing and the replacement of accomplishment with entertainment but there’s plenty of blame to go all around.

        Most old people, and now even young people, are content to go gently into that good night, but I may be unlike most people. Some of us old people know that nearly all our good days are behind us, with very few still before us, so we’re in a hurry to do all the things we wanted to do once we found them. Aging is a slow-motion near-death experience that speeds up. Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way, but it it not my way.

        Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone?

        Adieu, or au revoir? Time will tell, one way or the other.

        • Trent says:

          I found myself becoming more and more what you describe somewhere around 2016. In my case dealing with people usually leads to the same outcome. Had a long term relationship with a lady for about four years that ended in 2010. Kinda crushed my faith in the opposite sex. Also living thru 2008 had a large effect on me. What isn’t a lie after you live thru something like that and the aftermath? The past 12 years ive assumed everything the government tells me is a lie and its proven correct about 99.9% of the time. After doing this so many times you throw up your hands and say F it. Online dating is a joke, I don’t believe in religion so refuse to join a church. People you know from work aren’t “friends”. Friends move away and you have to make new friends every year. Life has become an endless treadmill. The world is a vampire.

        • IdahoPotato says:

          A schoolbus stops next my home daily.

          A majority of the kids and teenagers look stressed and bored, eyes transfixed on screens. Something is not right.

        • Zantetsu says:

          IdahoPotato, America is rotting from the inside out. It’s probably true everywhere really, but I am only familiar with how things are going here, and assume that just like with the obesity epidemic America is leading the way.

          Probably people who grew up in the 50’s were already thinking that way about my generation who were growing up in the 80’s. We already were less social than they were. But the trend is only accelerating unfortunately.

        • Endeavor says:

          I harken back to my youth in the 1960’s when I saw Soylent Green when it first appeared. Overcrowded world with people living nose to nose in stairways and junk cars. Food provided by the state in the form of crackers made from human remains. Expected that as our future and have to admit times are darn good compared to that.

        • Harrold says:

          The world is a vampire, sent to drain
          Secret destroyers, hold you up to the flames
          And what do I get, for my pain?
          Betrayed desires, and a piece of the game

          Even though I know – I suppose I’ll show
          All my cool and cold – like old Job

          Despite all my rage I am still just a rat in a cage
          Despite all my rage I am still just a rat in a cage
          Then someone will say what is lost can never be saved
          Despite all my rage I am still just a rat in a cage

        • Trent says:

          @Unamused

          Also I think we should throw housing into the mix of things that bring on atomization. I’ve been renting apartments in the city for the last 12 years. Once they raise the rent I generally move. The people you knew for the last year or two, gone. So its either buy a house and be in debt forever, or never set down roots.

        • Greg Hamilton says:

          Sounds like you need to watch Rodney Dangerfield’s “Back to School” with with a few friends to cheer yourself up. There’s nothing quite like Rodney quoting Dylan Thomas. Have some laughs life is short.

    • Beardawg says:

      Pretty prophetic. As much as I want to say it is not me, I too am a Stepford wife (or Dude or whatever). I used to think it was just me getting older and more set in my ways, but I realize now I have been programmed to like what I like and to avoid others who do not, it’s just easier, less confrontational, less stress/headache. That said, because of my age/experience, I still have interpersonal skills when needed. Most born after 1985 ??? Yikes.

    • Jon says:

      Good post !

    • Lisa_Hooker says:

      Almost twenty years ago I saw what friends were spending on cable. I decided to instead purchase DVDs of classic and award winning films (they were actually shot on film back then), and films that had special memories for me. I spent around $10-$40/month, on and off. Rule of thumb was – would I watch this three times over the next ten years. Now have well over 350. The hard part is deciding which to watch. Quite a number have not been watched yet. Never boring and great films.

      Another thought that’s been bothering me for years. With what is presented to us filtered by the profiles “they” build, we see less and less of the unexpected. I call it the loss of the “serendipity factor” which I feel is reducing innovation. You can’t connect the dots when you have fewer and fewer dots.

      I am also slowly turning into a curmudgeon.

      • Nick says:

        Search for “List all films on Neflix” and you will have a huge selection, based on year, genre, etc.

        Don’t forget Youtube as well. Lots of old films. Use Firefox as your browser and download the Youtube ad blocker; result? We rarely see advertisements or video commericals.

    • Hart says:

      True. Mastering made simple when you own the attention of the masses – à la Gil Scott-Heron’s 1970 “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”

  12. Pieter says:

    Bought our first TV this year. Both my wife and I are readers, but wanted something vs. a laptop to watch Masterpiece theater on PBS. So we got a 55 inch LG for $279. Wow it lifelike and makes the shows very nice visually. We don’t go out to the movies since 2013 (a James Bond film). Everything can be enjoyed from home now.

  13. Cobalt Programmer says:

    Food inside movie theaters, beer supplied to adults! Who came up with this idea? Even if I choose not to eat, my next seat neighbor will eat a lot of pizza, chips, soda for kids and beer for himself. Ruined my experiences.

    Movies make a lot of money. For example, Avengers end game was a hit more than Indian movies in India. Same with Joker which opened with fanfare in India.
    The most dangerous movie producers of US, the Walt Disney had a very successful remakes of lion king, this and that. They are the one giving unrealistic expectations of life. Usually, movies that pull kids tends to take the whole family to movies.

    Obviously the female version of terminator and other movies bombed. More female centered movies are coming. I want to see couple of movies in theaters next year. Bad boys for life and Christopher Nolan movie.

    Times are indeed changing.

    • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

      Cobalt-Disney productions have been dangerous on another level for many decades (not by design, mind you, but from our accepted American banality that anything that makes money must be okay). I’m 67, now, but have observed during my lifetime (including my younger years coinciding with that of commercial television) that almost always, the ‘safe’ programming to place in front of your preschooler while you deal with the demands around the house would be something from Disney. What is the system of governance in so many of these tales? Might it be-ROYALTY? What effect this has, and has had on young minds in formation, years before encountering any coherent education dealing with world history or U.S. Civics I leave for your consideration.

      May we all find a better day.

      • Harrold says:

        Have you seen that Elvis Presley? The way he dances is immoral! And the music, this so called rock and roll, its nothing but noise! Bring back Duke Ellington, Glenn Miller and Judy Garland!

      • Cobalt Programmer says:

        Wait for the Tablet kids to grow up.
        I guess now, grand parents are not involved in the family. They are selfish to stay away. Sometimes, they cannot live with the working parents in the big cities because of space.

  14. David Hall says:

    The drive-in theaters are gone. I remember one from my childhood. They made a profit by turning it into a trailer park.

    Drama and fiction may be amusing, but movies do not pay the bills.

    • tom says:

      Have one by us that is open each summer.

      Maybe I will have to go to one. Last movie I watched in a theater or drive in was Gandhi……been a few years.

  15. A says:

    Have they tried making better movies?

    • Mr. T says:

      And without the imperative of social engineering!

      • RD Blakeslee says:

        You-all do realize that the Chinese are in process of buying out Hollywood, don’t you? The inscrutable ones will eventually make what they are doing to the Uyghurs the norm for the world.

  16. I shorted Cineplex when someone on Garth Turner’s blog said to buy it. That blog is very useful for doing the opposite of the advice of total imbeciles on his blog (replies) with the exception of myself.

    • nick kelly says:

      Cineplex shares soar on $2.15 billion takeover offer from …
      https://business.financialpost.com › News › Retail & Marketing
      Dec 16, 2019 – Cineworld will pay $34 a share in cash for Cineplex, a 42 per cent premium to Friday’s closing price. The deal will be funded by $2.3 billion of …

      But they won’t make much off me. Last movie I saw was ‘King’s Speech’ which was my first in years. Who would have guessed that Marvel Comics would be a main casting source?

      I hear there is a Batman vs Superman flick. All about Robin?

    • Pete in Toronto says:

      For those who don’t follow Canadian stocks, the movie exhibitor Cineplex has a 75% market share in Canada.

      (They recently diversified into game-bars called The Rec Room, a competitor to Dave & Busters.)

  17. Breamrod says:

    can you imagine drive ins today ? gang bangers, loud fat obnoxious people, etc, etc. No our culture is slowly going down the drain. Attendance is down at pro sports. It costs too much. The’ve ruined nascar for the average redneck by raising the prices thru the roof. All of this decline is just another example of a declining standard of living for the bottom 70% of Americans.

    • Bobber says:

      Productivity and ingenuity continue to improve and progress. So if the standard of living has declined for some, those losses, and then some, have been captured by others.

  18. Ook says:

    A movie was a quarter in 1930. That’s about $3.85 in today’s money, and arguably going to the movies was much more of a special experience back then. Plus, I don’t think movies started with 30 minutes of commercials back then.
    So, even adjusted for inflation prices have gone way up, and any upper-middle-class family can create a better experience at home with a 55-inch 4K screen and some good speakers.

    • sierra7 says:

      OOK:

      In San Francisco:
      The movies “back then” usually started off with “…coming attractions”….short, shorts of the coming movies…..or maybe a short cartoon film.
      Children: 10c; adults more but not more than 25c.
      In the ’30’s there were also “intermission” offers of prizes related to ticket numbers that might be sets of glasses; dishes, etc.
      And, there were usually two movies. Very rarely just one.
      This in the “neighborhood” movie houses.

      In “town” there were the “upper” class movie houses like the Orpheum, Fox and couple others.
      You could pay after WW2 50c and be seated “upstairs” in front of the “balcony” in what was referred to as, “lodges” (pronounced: “low-gez”) Those seats were rockers and very, very comfortable.
      Fox Theatre was classy……beautiful sculptured surroundings (My Italian immigrant sculptor uncle did lots of work there under the WPA). I was and still am sad that Fox was eventually torn down. (Property too valuable; Van Ness Ave and Market St.
      Popcorn if available was no more than 10c. No beer. No pizza!
      I spent lots of time in my off work at the local movie houses in the outer Mission. (El Rey and Granada theaters) Distractions from the incessant depression money arguments in the house.

      Someone mentioned the quality of movies US/European….Black and white films created in England (Great Britain) was far ahead of the US. Much more realistic. Their “angles” of filming really brought “reality” of the humans acting to the screen.

      Ok, enough nostalgia. Today I’m in my 90th year and have been retired since 1994. Started a book club in my community 20 years ago and most of us are still doing our reading once a month. I watch my great number of grandchildren and some great G’s struggling with the modern economy. They are very adaptable. They struggle but so far no one is “in the streets”. They share housing; transportation; and their lives with their contemporaries. Yes, it’s gonna be “different” for them as far as housing is concerned. But they will cope and survive.

      Another commenter mentioned the availability of classical (really any kind) music on you-tube. I usually end my evenings watching listening (I played classical music in my youth) to wonderful orchestras from around the world. I’m always impressed with all the young talent that is out there. It’s outstanding!

      I we older folk don’t destroy this world in our time I have great hope that the young will cope. Just like we did.
      I give them lots of credit.

  19. Augusto says:

    Going to the Movies is obscene. How did a cheap family of four outing become some $100 event? And yet you have all the Hollywood crowd lecturing the public on “issues”. Maybe they want to help the proletariat in their own backyard, by lowering their own take? Not likely

    • Trent says:

      because prices go up and wages do not.

    • Jon says:

      I don’t watch movies in theater for many reasons
      First is.. no gokd movies out there to watch per me
      Second js.. too expensive

      I’d rather take a stroll with buddies and talk but again my buddies are busy working their ass off to pay for their mansion and big expensive cars

    • Joe Bob Gonzales says:

      I feel the same way about pro sports.
      have you priced tickets there lately.

      insane.

  20. Prairies says:

    The content provided is part of the issue, but not as big of an issue as the cost of the experience. People can wait for a cheap theatre to show the movie a few weeks after release but by then social media spoilers have ruined the movie for those that didn’t dump a paycheque on the movie experience on opening week.

    The lockdown by Disney on how theatres have to run Star Wars and Frozen without any competition for 2 entire weeks is also another BS move because they now hold a monopoly on what movie goers get to see. So those movies at the top only get there because no competition is allowed to be placed against them during opening weeks.

    • doug says:

      ‘The lockdown by Disney on how theatres have to run ‘

      Yes, independent exhibitors are going the way of the dodo…

      Total control by the folks that own the film, not the folks that own the theatre, vertical integration, consolidation, is the current trend.

  21. Iamafan says:

    I spent my one hundred bucks on Kool and the Gang this New Year.
    Absolutely Fantastic. Party.

  22. DR DOOM says:

    I have a homemade 15db gain digital tv antenna with a 1/4 wave dipole . Even out here in the hills of the smoky mountains I can get a few stations with my Rube Goldberg set-up.I have a Roku device and watch Pluto TV for free via the Internet. My wife watches EVERY HALLMARK CHRISTMAS MOVIE via a subscription from Thanksgiving through Christmas and then she cancels Hallmark and subscribes for Starz to watch the Outlander episodes in Feburary. I self medicate with malt.I have to watch the worm chase it’s tail and get the freeze at times but we don’t care. Going to see a movie is just a memory. To Wolfs point there are a lot of options even out in the hills.

    • Iamafan says:

      “I self medicate with malt.” Hopefully using the Wolf mug.

      Best comment I have heard so far. I am right behind you on this.

    • Anon1970 says:

      Check with your local library and see if it is a member of kanopy.com. My county library is and I can watch 8 films or docs free per month. With your Roku device, you can watch your films on a widescreen TV with good reception. You can also access kanopy on your computer without Roku.

      Kanopy offers thousands of choices, many of which you would have difficulty accessing elsewhere, especially for free.

  23. JB says:

    And don’t forget Redbox (some are blue) . If you can wait a few months the movie will be available on CD blue ray for 2 bucks. The format is non compressed hence excellent resolution. Yes Disney is becoming the elephant in the room. However I believe much of their content will only be available in the near future via their streaming services , which has had a remarkable subscription sign-up.

  24. Old Engineer says:

    If my 11 year old grandson and his friends are any indication the movies are in for a hard time. They are used to short videos from You Tube and will not go to see long movies. None of them. They have no interest in SciFi or Superhero stuff at all.
    If that trend is widespread and continues then the movies may have to go back to making “shorts” like they used to show before the main features.

  25. CreditGB says:

    Movie Plots:
    1. Flash bang, cars crashing, super human or non humans performing physically impossible leaps, feats, and are just about to lose it all before recovering to save whatever is at risk.

    2. Heavy political suggestions, gays, diversity, white is bad, only women are superior, brown or female or non genders is holy, “we shall overcome”, the earth is dying at our hands…yada, yada, yada,….

    How many hundreds of versions of these plots can there be? BORED TO TEARS!!!

    TV Plots?
    Running out of time. Competing against (fill in the blank). High drama of some personal strife, crying men, crying women, victims all, will they complete the (task, adventure, survive) in time? Real nail biting stuff right? Its like being in purgatory.

    And they wonder why no one goes to movies or watches this crap over and over with 1/3 of it ads on cable?

    How stupid are these marketers anyway?

  26. CreditGB says:

    Sorry, I got a little on the negative side on my post. I’ll calm down.

    • a citizen says:

      um, no…….you pretty much nailed it……

      Is why I’ve been watching a lot more historical documentary on Prime, lately.

    • ft says:

      No need to apologize. It’s ok to call crap crap.

    • Joe Bob Gonzales says:

      I agree with you. I have cut my tv time a lot.
      rather spend the evenings reading, listening to music, and a small glass of port.

      tv is all mudsharking diversity b.s.and pro state propaganda.
      even the commercials are full of that garbage.

      one gets tired of the lectures and the subliminal political crap passing as entertainment.

      its all brainwashing propaganda I disagree with.

      note, I dont hate any group, color, or sexual preference. what you do with your life is your biz. seriously. leave me alone to do my thing and I will leave you alone.

      what I dont like is being force fed garbage agendas.

    • Robert says:

      No, it was great- just thinking about people wanting to see The Joker makes me want to puke. Our anything Tarantino.

    • Anthony Aluknavich says:

      Nah, you hit it on the head. For what it’s worth, most of us”old timers” don’t watch any of that crap….period.

  27. Jdog says:

    I like movies, and can easily afford to go, but I do not go to movies for one simple reason. I hate Hollywood, and I hate the Corporations who make movies.
    I suspect there are many more people like me who simply do not want to support the Corporations and the industry which is attempting to run our country into the ground with their liberal agenda.
    I do not support gun confiscation, I do not support illegal immigration, I do not support the agenda of driving homosexuality down the throats of American people, and therefore I do not support Hollywood in any way, shape, or form.

    • stan6565 says:

      These days, when I try and buy films for my son to watch, I get everything but what has been produced in USA.

      Portuguese, Romanian, French, Brazilian. Japanese and Korean! Russian, Turkish, Serbian. Some amazing stories and animations. And, totally unknown actors, whom one can choose to believe or not on the basis of their performance, rather than having the same lame same lame lame and same LA best shoved down your throat endlessly and indeed endlessly with same dumb phrases and expressions.

      The choice is there, just needs a great deal of effort of sifting though and discarding isht in order to get good quality film entertainment. What is absolutely guaranteed, you won’t get any value for money in NY, LA or London. That’s why their business model is collapsing. Not Mr Trump or Brexit or Mr Xi.

    • Ned says:

      Remember all the “Stop piracy” pleas, and “This is our bread and butter you pirates are stealing” B.S.? The politically correct hate whitey brainwashing we are supposed to pay to watch? More power to the Pirates. How about the hundred million dollar media CEO salaries?

      Firefox, ad block plus, youtube ad blocker…it’s all free and with a movie screen painted on a well, see “How to paint a movie screen”, and a good used video projector and sound system, you can hose parties of ten people or so on old couches, charge then a “projector bulb voluntary donation” and you will come out ahead.

  28. unit472 says:

    With the proliferation of TV channels, streaming services and theater films it won’t be long before everybody who wants to an actor, actress or reality TV star will get the opportunity. Of course, the pareto principle will still be operative so 80% of the revenue will go to the top 20% of talent.

    Still, there was a time when low budget film companies could thrive outside the orbit of the big studios and outfits like American International and Hammer Films found a niche for their horror and drive-in offerings. The problem today is all the content creators want a mass audience and or industry awards. No one is willing to make schlock, shock or smut anymore.

  29. Thomas says:

    I own a pretty nice lap top. I use it for work and all the encyclopedic stuff anyone can use a computer for. In the evening I get into YouTube and have found some amazingly good movies – beyond the encyclopedic other videos stuff.

  30. LibDis says:

    The number one decline for the US brick and mortar is crappy, beyond crappy, movies. The movies suck, and that is not going to change.

    Hollywood makes a fortune peddling this junk all over Asia, and there are a lot more Asians than Americans.

    The industry, as many of us remember growing up, is dead and buried.

  31. elkern says:

    As a long-time Sci-Fi & Comix fan, I want to see the Big Spectaculars on the big screen. IMO, Marvel has done a great job with the Avengers franchise, not taking them too seriously, keeping them light, with plenty of humor. DC took the opposite track with the dark, broody Batman series, and I stay away from those (though I liked Wonder Woman & Aquaman).

    I would gladly pay full price to see visually stunning Classics (Lawrence of Arabia, comes to mind) on Big Screen, but IP hoarding (and maybe some tech problems?) discourages that.

    Datapoints: I went to see the new Star Wars movie, the Sunday after it opened, and there were only a dozen people in a room built for 2-300. Saw Midway the last day of 3-week run; only 2 other people there. How can they pay to heat the building??? Regal is only keeping it’s head above water by minimizing work-force. Ticket-booth is only open at peak hours; usually get tix at popcorn counter. Emps presumably work a bunch of short shifts, with no benefits.

    • Petunia says:

      I saw the last two Starwars movies, at least I think they were the last two, two truly awful movies. Won’t be seeing the next one.

  32. doug says:

    In the past,(out of touch now so unsure) A single blockbuster movie could lift the entire industry for the season.

    Not sure if that is still true.
    And yes, Unit, it does seem that low budget movies are no longer a thing.
    I had thought the internet would have brought the opposite, which shows how little insight I have.

  33. Joe Bob Gonzales says:

    a few things

    1. I used to go to flicks weekly. stopped because I do not want to support actors whose sanctimonious views I disagree with.

    its a boycott.

    2. there is so much free stuff, why bother. with roku, prime, crackle, free youtube movies, the public library…..there is not enough time to watch everything.

    3. the top flicks are in dvd and at the library for free soon enough.

    4. I dropped hbo, etc cable tv and saved almost 1800 year. upgraded to a higher speed internet, although speed is often a function of the servers and backup. or so I read. (in 10 years, thats 18,000 after tax dollars. shit adds up)

    4a. two words: android streamer.

    you can scorn flyover country all you want. no problem. we will just keep our money.

  34. Zantetsu says:

    Why don’t you just say what you *really* want?

  35. Cookie says:

    I don’t go to the movies anymore. Not only are they expensive, I also don’t like anymore lecture about political correctness and social justice bs.

    • Anon1970 says:

      My biggest complaint about movie houses is the high sound volume. Are most of their customers already hard of hearing? I find myself sticking part of a Kleenex in each ear since I can’t adjust the volume. I have not been to a movie house in over a year.

  36. kk says:

    I just find it hard to believe that all these businesses like Netflix are crazy; for years we heard that amazon would never make money, now Bezos is the richest man on the planet. And how could a business giving away search ever make money? We know 98% of new businesses fail, so by criticising every business idea you will be right almost all the time – almost!

    • Petunia says:

      Netflix is a tv substitute but better. I watch a lot of foreign content which I could never do on regular cable.

      • Lisa_Hooker says:

        @Petunia Our local OTA PBS station has 4 subchannels plus another channel that carries the MHz network. The programming on all four PBS channels is so poor that most of the time I prefer to watch German and Scandinavian mysteries with English subtitles instead.

        • Anon1970 says:

          Movie suggestion: Three-part German mini series: “Generation War”, in German with English subtitles.

    • Lisa_Hooker says:

      @kk Is Bezos rich because of the cash he earned from his businesses? Or, is he rich because of the “market valuation” of the stock he has held since Amazon’s inception?

      • Anthony Aluknavich says:

        He didn’t get all those billions from a salary savings plan, that’s for sure…LOL

  37. Michael David Hardy says:

    Go to the theatre paying $20+ for tickets or getting it at Redbox for $1.75? Hmmm, tough decision – let me think.

  38. Michael Gorback says:

    Cut the cord years ago with Roku. I have subscriptions to Netflix and Hulu, and Hulu is only so I can get “The Profit”.

    Netflix rocks and if they have cash flow problems they should raise their rates. I’d gladly pay more.

    Unlimited content every month in SD for the basic plan price of a movie ticket, limited to one screen. Kick it up to the standard plan for $13 and get 2 screens, which means you can split it with a friend, cut the cost to $6.50 each and bring it up to HD. At $16 you get ultra HD but 4 screens. Share it with 4 friends and you have ultra HD for $4. So guess what? I share a premium plan with my kids in California.

    And there’s the bonus of “Netflix and Chill “. Try doing that activity at the movie theater. Give me HD for $13 (or shared premium for $4), a bottle of wine for $20, and a large pizza delivered for $17 and I can have one hell of a date. Compare that to $18 for 2 tickets, $16 for 2 medium popcorn, and $12 for 2 sodas, but no “chill”.

  39. kiers says:

    Another “social” interaction (going to cinema) disappears. Netflix is a conspiratorial loss leader (like a state owned enterprise)helping to drive and build out the internet broadband roll out, so that eventually “TV” will be delivering customized ads to each viewer, and further putting you into your isolated bubble for manipulation by the paying corporations.

    Broadcast technology in cable where everybody sees the same thing at the same time is in its last days as content delivery networks build out with Netflix.

    The internet will be watching your entire existence:
    Google: what are you thinking, what’s your concerns, your calendar appointments;
    Netflix: what do you do for entertainment
    Amazon: what do you buy
    FB: who are your friends, what do you talk about how do u socialize.

    And none of it will be under user ownership rights: he who owns the transistor owns the signal on the transistor!

    • Lisa_Hooker says:

      All of the data that flows to Google, Netflix, Amazon, FB can be tapped into by the carriers (AT&T, Verizon et. al.) – any time they have the inclination. How many of these links are encrypted end-to-end? That’s why the US NSA goes to carriers for data. A VPN can mask your data stream with a different IP address, but if you’re really paranoid use the Tor network – a different anonymous IP every time and encrypted. But how many of us can be bothered?

    • Lisa_Hooker says:

      Over-The-Air TV cannot deliver personalized streams. It is “broadcast” with no “target.” That is why OTA TV will be going away. It cannot provide a targeted audience and they want the frequencies for broadband internet.

      • Anon1970 says:

        OTA is either very expensive or plagued by commercials.

        • Lisa_Hooker says:

          More and more I’m finding the commercials are only marginally worse than the quality of the actual programs. I also find the ubiquitous sitcom re-re-re-reruns from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s less than entertaining.

        • Gandalf says:

          Anon, unless you live in a rural area, you can get a good quality HD TV OTA antenna for $40 or so.
          The RCA ANT751 is the one I use, and is small enough to mount indoors even. Add a Winegard amplifier and quad shielded cables and this whole setup costs $100 or less.

          Add an AirTV box for $80, or AirTV2 box for $100 to distribute to your smart TVs or Firestick/Roku. Or buy cable splitters and more cable to connect to more TVs.

          Several websites are available that tell you where ALL the OTA stations are in your area. In some cities, the major channels come mainly from one direction, so you don’t need to turn your antenna around

          These are ONE TIME costs. Equivalent to one to four months worth of cable TV, depending on who is ripping you off for your cable TV

          Lots of cable and streaming TV content have commercials, just like OTA TV

      • Gandalf says:

        OTA TV is NOT going away anytime soon. You probably haven’t noticed, but the major networks – ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, CW, still produce huge amounts of regularly scheduled and fairly popular content, which are distributed through their local OTA stations. These local stations have FTC regulated distribution rights for this content to the territories covered by their OTA broadcasts.

        So, this OTA content is NOT broadcast with no “target”. Cable and internet providers that want to show this content in the territories covered by the OTA broadcasts have to pay money to these local stations. Every so often, disputes over money in contract negotiations means a major OTA network gets cut off from a local cable/internet provider- this tends to happen most during the NFL season, when the major OTA networks have maximum leverage

        One of the biggest content still carried almost exclusively by OTA TV is NFL football. The reason is simple – Congress gave the NFL an exemption from anti-trust anti-monopoly regulation in exchange for the NFL guaranteeing that it would transmit its games by OTA TV forever.

        Sling TV is one internet content provider that has the ability to blend OTA TV with the Internet – you hook up their AirTV box to an OTA antenna and you can view the local OTA content of that city anywhere in the US via smart TV (Firestick, Roku).

        In some cities, it’s possible to get over 100 channels with OTA TV. Many of the smaller channels specialize in broadcasting to immigrants in foreign languages (Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Farsi, etc.), others broadcast lots of old (and cheap) content – old TV shows, game shows, movies – these are a real nostalgic blast into the past

        “Cutting the cord” has been a growing problem for cable companies as their subscriptions are dropping steadily.

        OTA TV is alive and well, and is competing vigorously with cable and internet content, its comeback boosted by the increasing cost of cable TV, completely contrary to what you posted.

        • Lisa_Hooker says:

          I disagree. I’ve been an OTA TV consumer exclusively, never had cable or dish. I also worked for years in the broadcast and content creation industries which helps with understanding. Broadcasters are competing by cutting what they pay for program material to the bone. They buy 3 hours of football, basketball, hockey, baseball, etc., then fill the other 21 hours with rerun crud, game shows, or hours long “news” – the cheapest to produce.

          Broadcasting by definition is not targeted to individuals as is streaming internet. You are wanted at the end of an internet stream where you are an individual. A local broadcast demographic grouping is insufficiently precise for maximum ad revenue. Additionally, broadcasters do not own frequencies, they are licensed by the government which can and does change the terms of a license. Government can and does reallocate frequencies to other purposes. The networks are big. Google, Amazon, Facebook, Netflix, and e-commerce are bigger. It will take quite some time, but OTA TV is eventually dwindling away to very little, perhaps nothing, due to ever decreasing ad revenue and the value of the bandwidth for other purposes.

        • Gandalf says:

          You are describing the decline of OTA TV from its heyday in the 1970s through the 1980s, when cable started to dominate.

          Cable channels had a brief period of ascendency in the 1990s and early 2000s, but has ALSO been declining since, with mass layoffs and a decline in quality of programming.

          Both cable channels and OTA TV have been afflicted further by loss of eyeballs to the Internet and especially in the younger generations to smartphones. Kids nowadays are constantly on their phones, on social media, talking or video streaming with friends, or listening to music, or on the internet doing video games. They don’t watch much TV, period.

          It’s this loss of eyeballs that’s caused the crapification of both OTA TV and cable channels as advertising revenue dropped.

          That’s not the same thing as saying targeted advertising to deliver TV shows or movies through a streaming service is highly profitable – it isn’t, which is why ONLY old, cheap movies are available on such services like Popcorn, Pluto, IMDB, etc. The recent first run movies are too expensive for such advertising supported services

          I am discounting Netflix from this discussion. It may have a huge subscriber base, but it is TOTALLY a cash burn debt bomb that I don’t see ever becoming profitable enough to pay off its massive debt much less justify its current stock market valuation. It is using debt to pay out the nose for what content it can still get, that hasn’t been sequestered by its growing list of competitors. It’s subscription fee can’t come close to paying for all that content. It is trying to turn itself into an HBO by producing new high end award winning content, financed with even more debt. – as far as I can tell most of this new content, like “Roma”, which won an Oscar for Best Director, might be critically acclaimed, but nobody watches it. Netflix’s stock market value is far far higher than HBO

          Yes, the FTC controls the airwaves. And one of the things it did was to enable OTA TV to do 1080p HD quality digital transmissions in the mid 2000s. This put OTA TV on par with Blu Ray and hi def cable quality.

          There’s a huge installed base of local stations and owners that the FTC has to satisfy and answer to. The FTC CANNOT just take away their airwave bandwidth – the entire market value of a local station is based on its FTC licensed bandwidth and any major network affiliations it might have. You would see gigantic lawsuits for compensation if the FTC started stripping bandwidth away

          As for targeted advertising, what’s more targeted than knowing that a local OTA station reaches … local residents? Maybe because you’ve never had cable or other streaming content providers you’ve never noticed that the ecosystem of advertisers is totally different. Local stations have lots of local businesses and professionals advertising their products and services for local residents, and far fewer national advertisers.

          No, I believe OTA TV hit bottom a few years ago and is on the upswing as people discover just how much *free* entertainment content is on OTA TV and how easy it is to cut the cord and how cheap it is. And as crapification and increased advertising hits the cable channels, there’s little to distinguish cable from OTA TV.

          What’s still steadily going downhill are the cable channels, as they get unbundled and sliced up in the streaming wars and crapify further

          The major streaming services right now are all trying to carry premium content, but they can’t possibly sustain their streaming service long term with just the current price of subscriptions – every single one of them is subsidized right now, by debt (Netflix) or by a giant parent company willing to use it as a loss leader to gain market share in the streaming wars (Disney).

          Everything about this state of affairs tells you that subscription prices for the streaming services will have to go up in the future or they will also have to crapify to less expensive sustainable levels like OTA TV, cable channels, and current *free* streaming services like Popcorn

  40. Dan says:

    I was shocked when my girlfriend turned on the Golden Globes. It used to be a backwater of TV actors to the Academy Award Stars. But there was all the talent chasing the firehose money.

    There was a bubble in movie theatres some decades ago.

  41. carlos says:

    Most movies these days are just too political (leftists) or too cartoonish.
    So I gave up.
    I cut the cord 3 years ago and got Netflix.
    And then got rid of netflix for the political leftist insanity.
    I now watch Pluto TV. Streamed with brave.com . Both free.
    And that’s enough.

  42. Mike says:

    :) So many comments. This already proves the point. People vote with their money and yes something is wrong with theaters theses days. Most movies are very dark these days, you can’t even see. The sound tracks are also dramatic, most made by one crappy composer called Hans Zimmer. No way to pause or mute. The agenda? Some kind of feminist agenda, women (bleach blond) giving orders, not having kids or sacrificing family life for carrier and shooting people. Who wants to watch this?

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