Jeffrey Katzenberg Predicts That Future Moviegoers Will "Pay By The Inch"

Coverage Type: 

Jeffrey Katzenberg has an intriguing prediction for the future of film distribution.

The DreamWorks Animation chief says that within 10 years, movies will only get three weekends in the theater, and then will be available everywhere, at which point viewers will pay based on the size of the screen they watch it on.

"A movie will come out and you will have 17 days [of theatrical exclusivity], that’s exactly three weekends, which is 95% of the revenue for 98% of movies," said Katzenberg. "On the 18th day, these movies will be available everywhere ubiquitously and you will pay for the size. A movie screen will be $15. A 75" TV will be $4.00. A smartphone will be $1.99. When that happens, and it will happen, it will reinvent the enterprise of movies."

Given the rapidly growing use of smaller screens to consume media, a reduced theatrical window makes sense to allow for multi-platform distribution. The "pay by the inch you watch" element, however, is a little more left-field. Right now, services that offer the same media on multiple screens, such as Netflix and iTunes, charge by flat subscription or single purchase price, regardless of screen size.

It seems that there would have to be some gradual shift in these business models to change consumer expectations of the cost of multi-platform delivery.