Streaming vs. Cinema: 5 Reasons Why Movie Theaters Still Win

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There is an unsung battle between Internet-based entertainment versus traditional media entertainment. From music streaming almost killing off the radio and album sales (the ones on CD), the trend has reached audio-visual content. Over the years, this significant change saw cable companies starting to lose their grip on the market because of paid streaming channels.

Aside from featuring TV shows, these channels also offer long-form content, such as films and documentaries, that can potentially cause ripples in cinemas in sales. And paid streaming channels seem to be winning as they provide original content and the convenience of watching movies in the comfort of the audience’s homes.

But don’t disregard cinemas just yet. A new breed of movie theaters has come to challenge paid streaming: boutique cinemas. This type of theater offers an enticing new experience that makes watching movies a genuinely exciting experience and gives people enough reason to get out of their homes.

To dig deeper, here are five reasons why cinemas still attract more people compared to streaming channels:

1.   Immersive Experience and Up-to-Date Blockbuster Hits

The main reason why people – millennials, in particular – still cannot bid adieu to cinemas is the immersive viewing experience they offer. In fact, international statistics show that those who belong to this generation are more likely to be passionate about movies than other generations. This is proven by the fact that they still buy tickets in advance and arrive at the theaters earlier than the scheduled screening time.

Plus, this generation is also more likely to want to watch a highly anticipated film before it even becomes a blockbuster hit. Because they provide unlimited access to almost any kind of content, paid streaming channels often experience delays in the release of new movies in their platforms.

2.   Convenience and Luxury in One

Streaming is favored mainly because of the convenience it offers. After all, why go out if you can binge-watch movies while laying down on the couch?

Boutique cinemas provide convenience without sacrificing that theater-like film viewing experience. As with traditional movie theaters, these cinemas have big screens and surround-sound audio that the average home doesn’t have.

Compared to traditional movie theaters, boutique cinemas provide a luxurious film-watching experience. These establishments offer spacious seating, a relaxed atmosphere, and a comfortable viewing setup, which appeal to millennials the most overall.

Also, most boutique cinemas provide food service similar to what you can find in restaurants. This means you won’t even have to stand to get your provisions while watching the movie.

3.   Better Food Than Popcorn

Speaking of food, boutique cinemas don’t follow the traditional popcorn-and-movie combo. Instead, they provide a more extensive range of food and beverage choices. From wine, beer, and cocktails to restaurant-quality food, you will surely enjoy your time being served with delectable food while enjoying your show.

4.   Alternative Cinematic Experience

Cinema isn’t just about passively watching a movie in a theater. It can be more memorable and unique, especially if you choose the right boutique cinema. Many establishments are thinking outside of the box and offering complementary experiences to their customers.

This can be through wearable device-assisted viewing using virtual reality technology or a  real-life setup. Some concept examples include watching:

  • A horror flick from an abandoned house
  • A romantic comedy from a hot tub
  • A film musical with a choral group singing the soundtracks right then and there

There are also independent theaters in Dubai that offer business class-level movie watching experiences. This cinema allows pre-ordering of food and delivers mouthwatering dishes a la carte directly to the private lounge where you will also be watching the film. The best part is that serving is done discreetly so you can enjoy your movie and food without any interruptions.

5.   Cinemas as Event Venues

Private events such as birthdays and bridal showers as well as corporate gatherings can also be done in boutique cinemas. With their unique setup, complete amenities, and a vast selection of food and drinks, these establishments offer the ambience and unforgettable experience you wish to provide your guests.

When planning a party in the cinema, you can take advantage of the technology available and bank on the fun factor that comes with the unique experience. Because they already have impressive audio-visual equipment, you can simply coordinate with the technician to set up any of the following:

  • Presentations for corporate events, training, and workshops
  • Slideshows and home videos for birthdays and other personal events

The Future of Cinema

Technology has changed how the world works dramatically, and film viewing is no exception. Still, resourcefulness and creativity prevail as boutique cinema keeps the audience craving for a better viewing experience than binge-watching on the couch with takeout on hand.


Paul Fox is the Director of Roxy Cinemas under Meraas Group/DXB Entertainments. Roxy Cinemas currently has five Dubai locations: The Beach, La Mer, City Walk, Box Park, and Bollywood Parks.