In 2003, Ben Affleck predicted the Netflix streaming model, which has since become a way of life for many who consume television shows or movies. In 2003, it was hard to predict that the movie and television industry would end up similar to the music industry, where paid-for streaming services were starting up after file sharing services, such as Napster, took prominence. Now, Netflix has become so huge that the service has become more popular than broadcast television.
Netflix was created in 1997, and started out renting DVDs by mail. In 2007, the company started their streaming service. In 2012, Netflix started producing their own content, with Lilyhammer being their first original show. Since then, they have produced hits such as Orange is the New Black, House of Cards, 13 Reasons Why, and Stranger Things. Recently, even Barack and Michele Obama got into the action by signing a huge production deal with Netflix - in addition to the service snagging Ryan Murphy and Shonda Rhimes.
A Twitter user by the name of John Backus recently posted a clip in which Ben Affleck talked about file sharing and noted how the industry had been too slow to adapt its latest paradigms. He said it was economically feasible for the music industry to have an annual subscription service, but he talked about movies as well. Turns out, he was right - even with his timing. Affleck said in 2003:
"I think an annual subscription-based system is one that works. It’ll be movies on demand, but it’ll be a tiered structure...But there’s a lot more adoption that has to happen, technologically speaking, right now before people can watch movies, or at least integrate it in terms of a PC or web connection. The technology’s not quite there yet, but it will be within, I’d say, five years."
... wow. Ben Affleck perfectly predicting Spotify and Netflix in a random 2003 interview— John Backus (@backus) July 8, 2018
Almost exactly right about the unit economics of annual music subscriptions and the timing of online movie streaming. Solid point too on how shareware (Napster) is a necessary predecessor pic.twitter.com/mpEgRPK4zL
There has been a lot of speculation over the past few years that Netflix has become so successful it could kill the movie theater industry. Many have noted that not only has Netflix been producing its own successful films, but home theater technology has advanced so much it will soon be more convenient for people to just stay home to consume their films. In return, it's been predicted that more movies will be released exclusively to Netflix rather than theater chains.
However, the fears (or joys for some) seem to be over-exaggerated. First of all, people have been talking about the death of the movie theater since the 1970s. However, the reality is that theaters are still making huge profits. There is nothing that beats the joy of taking your family to a huge multiplex, enjoying popcorn, and cheering or gasping at scenes with other people in the theater. Netflix and other streaming services are huge, but they will not stop audiences from packing movie theaters - at least not in the near future.
Source: John Backus/Twitter