It’s Time For Hollywood To Make The Internet Better

Steven Spielberg once said, “Every time I go to a movie, it’s magic, no matter what the movie’s about.” But with streaming, that magical experience is much less consistent, something that should give film studios pause.

Virtually every month of the past ten years, I could have truthfully written that people are streaming more video than ever before. And while the decline of the cinema has been arrhythmic, it showed clear signs of decay before Covid-19. So when covid-19 forced us all inside to watch a docuseries about tigers, the internet felt the strain

Streaming services like Netflix reduced quality to address network congestion. And variation internet service speed and reliability between locations became clear.

You can search these variations in speed and price in Broadband Landing’s database of internet providers by zip code within the US. When you consider that these variations mean people in rural areas can spend up to 10-times more than people in large cities and still have worse internet, you start to see a problem for Hollywood. 

It’s a running and obvious joke that studios want to see streaming kill movie theaters. Streaming subscription services give studios much more predictable revenue, but slow internet renders any streaming service quality inconsistent; The magical experience of movies that Spielberg described is buffering, and will be shown at 240p; That isn’t going to help studios.

Hollywood needs to improve internet quality in the US. 5G shows promises to provide fast internet streaming to the rural US without laying new cables. However, we are still far away from genuinely affordable 5G for capable of pulling down a huge amount of data is still far away.

In 2018, Netflix was responsible for 15% of all global downstream internet traffic. Netflix also has some incredibly complex solutions to minimize the distance each byte of data must travel along the internet pipes. The company literally installs open connect appliances in the hubs of ISPs, that have the entire Netflix Libary stored on them like a big ass Plex server.

While this kind of workaround is helping a bit, those in rural areas, still need faster, more reliable, and less costly internet. It’s time for Hollywood to help make that happen.