Netflix continually seeks to push the boundaries of the traditional cinema experience, and at the recent CinemaCon, an annual theater convention, the competition that Netflix poses to traditional cinema was omnipresent.

A source of contention between Netflix and traditional cinema is the showing of Netflix movies itself. As the production studio of original content, Netflix allows theatre companies to purchase and show Netflix films in their cinemas. However, theatre companies do not receive an exclusive right to Netflix movies and thus these movies often end up on Netflix itself after a short period of showing.

Nevertheless, some theatre owners believe that Netflix and Cinema can co-exist due to the unique cultural impact and experience a film can bring when watching it in a theatre. Furthermore, they assert that it is impossible for humans to rely on technology entirely and be cooped up at home all day.

Read the full article on Channel NewsAsia: Netflix looms large as theater owners assess industry future


Netflix has long been regarded as a form of disruptive technology which subscription-based movie and TV streaming service had disrupted the television and movie industry in altering how we consume entertainment content.  

Despite the convenience brought about by disruptive technologies, it is opined here that the economic impacts may consequently result in a less varied and more general pool of products for consumers.  This is apparent in Netflix’s elimination of ‘mom-and-pop’ DVD rental stores and the industry as a whole. Some commentators go further to argue that aside from the economic effects to small businesses, the rise of disruptive technology may bring damaging social consequences through how it affects people’s interaction with others.

As such, it is conceivable that cinemas will lament Netflix’s move to publish movies on their service after a short period of showing. This is because it may inevitably deprive them from obtaining revenue as consumers may decide it is not worth the expense to paying for a ticket to watch a movie just a few weeks in advance.

However, the power of Netflix is unlikely to be as disruptive to the cinema industry as it may be argued that the two operate in distinct spheres. Netflix and cinema have been found to be complementary to each other as outlined in this study.  It is likely that this complementary nature may be attributed to humans’ desire for a collective experience when watching a film in the cinema which is entirely unique on its own.

Questions for further personal evaluation:

  1. What are other disruptive technologies which may be commonly found in the world we live in today?
  2. How can traditional businesses cope with the rise of disruptive technologies?

Useful vocabulary:

  1. omnipresent’: ​Having an effect everywhere at the same time
  2. lament’: a complaint
  3. contention’: the disagreement that results from opposing arguments