Film History

Threats to Film History: How Digital Streaming Crowds Out Art-House Films and Older Movies

Video film streaming is one of the most popular activities on the internet in the modern world. Amazon Prime and Netflix offer the best platforms where you can stream thousands, if not millions, of films or other TV titles. Films are just a button away.

It is a complete change from the past where you had to use a tape player that sometimes chewed up VHS tapes. You no longer have to litter your sitting room with DVDs that would often collect scratches and dust.

Today, there are tens of TV series that keep you entertained at any time of the day. In short, the entertainment industry has transformed the world.

Is it a blessing in disguise?

However, film buffs and historians believe this is a blessing in disguise. They believe that the rapid changes that have replaced tapes and discs are bugs and not features. To them, film streaming is a threat to film history.

The main argument presented by the film historians is that the mass audience is gravitating towards the major streaming services. Therefore, those services have incentives that make them focus on self-produced and recent titles. The result is the sidelining of the old and historical films.

Crowding out effect

David Bordwell believes that film streaming creates a crowding-out effect on older films. Mr.Bordwell is a film historian and scholar at the University of Wisconsin. He further noted that it will make people have fewer motives when highlighting classics in the catalogs. Therefore, there will be more foreign titles than the old films. In the end, the old films will be sidelined as there are no significant restorations initiated in the industry.

Extinction of the old films

Film buffs are concerned that old films will become extinct in the coming years. In the 1980s, VHS tape players were popular in every homestead. They were spreading to every corner of the world rapidly as major studios capitalized on the marketing potential of the tapes in their catalogs for home viewing.

The trend went on through the era of DVDs. In this era, major brands such as Disney, Universal, and Warner Bros capitalized on the opportunity. They were some of the notable marketers and preservers of films from their archives. However, the trend faded as physical discs were phased out by film streaming.

Therefore, the old films may become extinct as they are gradually being replaced by the new titles. This worries film historians as it is a great threat to film history.

An abundance of new films for streaming 

Today, Netflix offers tens of TV titles and more than 4000 films for streaming. However, only 19 films were produced before 1950. The platform avails classic films that are popular among their subscribers. New films are in abundance as compared to the old films

Film enthusiasts who prefer old films are required to have a separate subscription. Therefore, this discourages many viewers and they prefer subscribing for the classic packages which are majorly composed of new films.

Final thought

Film streaming is a great threat to film history. New films are being fronted in the streaming platforms and they will soon create a crowding effect on the old films. The result will be the extinction of the old films and erosion of the rich film history.

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