Is TV Winning the Fight with Film?

By Anubhuti Kumar, Staff Writer

Until very recently, “date night” was almost synonymous with dinner and a movie. Yet 2015 saw the rise and dominance of “Netflix and chill.”  As it becomes easier to instantly access entertainment from the comfort of home and for more affordable prices than a movie theater outing, it seems as though film may be falling from the pedestal it has sat comfortably on for over a century.

We seem to be standing on a precipice of the delicate balance between film and television, and while it may mean change for the entertainment industry, it may not be as dramatic as some fear. The rising popularity of TV means it has become more than just a stepping stool for actors to make their big break into Hollywood, as televisions actors are stars in their own right with huge followings. TV revivals have garnered excitement and intrigue, based on the commotion surrounding “Fuller House” and “Gilmore Girls: Seasons.”

While television may be gaining momentum in the supposed competition, film isn’t losing ground. Take Ashton Kutcher for example. He starred on “That’s 70’s Show,” and since moving into film, he’s now back on the small screen having played a lead in “Two and a Half Men” and currently starring in a Netflix comedy series called “The Ranch.” This career track shows that stars aren’t disavowing film, but are approaching the two different businesses that make up the entertainment industry based on the appeals of each.

What brought about this elevation of television’s status is the realization of the medium’s strengths. While there are die-hard film fans, movies only last around two hours, allowing a certain cap on viewer investment in characters. On the other hand, television shows can last for years — some for over a decade  — changing and growing with their viewers, leading to an attachment that cannot be mimicked in the cinematic form.

The phenomenon of binge watching has further solidified television’s position, as people can now catch up on current and past shows, forming bonds with characters both old and new. Holding this kind of attention from fans is undoubtedly appealing for an actor, but so is being a movie star.

Film is not going anywhere. The Hollywood tradition is still the strongest in the world. The entertainment industry is just beginning to realize the power of both mediums, capitalizing to reach ever-larger audiences, catering to more and more specific content demands.

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