Mar 15, 2022 - Technology

Streaming boom propels film industry's pandemic recovery

Global home and theatrical entertainment market, by media type
Reproduced from the 2021 THEME Report; Chart: Axios Visuals

A sharp uptick in paid online video subscriptions and original content production for streaming platforms has helped the movie industry recover from the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new report.

Why it matters: The global streaming and theatrical movie market raked in nearly a combined total of $99.7 billion in 2021, eclipsing pre-pandemic sales.

  • That number excludes Pay-TV subscriptions, which shrank over the last two years as more people adopted streaming alternatives. Pay-TV includes cable, satellite and fiber TV subscriptions.

By the numbers: In 2021, the digital movie market accounted for 72% of the combined theatrical and home/mobile entertainment market, compared to 46% in 2019, according to the annual report from the Motion Picture Association.

  • The global theatrical market, which decreased significantly in response to COVID-19, was worth $21.3 billion in 2021, compared to $42.3 billion in 2019.
  • Subscriptions to streaming services, which jumped 14 percent in 2020, reached a global total of 1.3 billion, a new record high.
  • In the U.S., the estimated number of films that debuted online exclusively was 179, up from 113 in 2019.
  • The number of original series in the U.S. ballooned to 1,826, up from 1,646 in 2019, thanks to investments in original content by streaming companies.

The big picture: The pandemic pushed more Americans to stream content from home. Since the beginning of 2020, 53% of U.S. adults said that their streaming service viewership had increased.

  • Hispanic survey respondents in particular tended to report a higher viewership across digital streaming services, the report added.
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