No one would have thought that in a matter of a few months, the entire world would have an unprecedented lockdown, resulting in the shutdown of industries, shops, businesses, and entertainment outlets for an indefinite period to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus. While the cost of shutting down the economy was unbelievably huge – many people remained out of work for months. On the contrary, the cost of not shutting down would have been even higher – and would have resulted in the deaths of an even larger number of people.
Even though the Covid-19 pandemic affected almost all sectors, the devastating effects it had on the entertainment industry deserves a special mention. From the onset of the lockdown until now – when most of the restrictions have been eased in many countries – scheduled movies remain unreleased. In addition, museums were closed down and live theatre and concerts had to be canceled.
All of this leads to an important question: What will be the future of the entertainment industry?
An Uncertain Future
Until a vaccine is available in the market for public use, things cannot go back to the pre-COVID. Countries around the world that saw a huge influx of tourists have now become a picture of despair and hopelessness. How will the industry that was inherently designed to run on ticket sales survive the Covid-19 pandemic?
Even when the economy starts to reopen, the entertainment industry will perhaps be the last to open, because theatres, museums, concert grounds, and cinemas have been labeled as hotspots of the virus. Because of the close proximity of the people in these places, the spread of the virus can be both rapid and unmanageable.
Adapting to Change
Since the entertainment industry cannot be categorized as an essential industry during the COVID pandemic, entertainment businesses need to quickly adapt to the changing environment and use different strategies to keep their businesses afloat.
Businesses are rethinking ways to keep their operations running while simultaneously protecting the health and well-being of their customers. On August 11, 2020, the UK hosted their first live show after several months of a coronavirus-led lockdown, and around 2,500 fans visited the show. Organizers had made sure that each visitor followed SOPs. Instead of allowing people to stand close to each other on the ground, fans were asked to stand inside a platform.
All platforms were placed at a distance. Guests who have booked a platform had to arrive in a single-car – so mainly you can be on the platform with your friends or family. This was a practical measure taken to ensure the safety of the guests. The successful event also implied that with proper planning, the entertainment industry can be back on the track if it quickly adapts to the changing environment and rethinks its strategies.
One of the silver linings in this badly-hit pandemic is that the demand for art or other cultural activities has not been reduced. The economy, at present, has been paused because of the restrictions imposed by the government. People are still willing to say, visit a museum or see a theatre performance. Museums and theatres can bank on the people’s interest in these activities and reach out to them through other means.
The coronavirus crisis suggests that it’s high time every industry embraced the role of technology in reaching a wide audience. During the quarantine period, the screen time period of people increased significantly. For businesses, virtual tours and virtual shows are a great way to connect to the audience and keep their operations running. There are a number of museums that offer virtual tours to people who are interested in seeing and admiring world-class art.
Many Broadway shows were also streaming live during the COVID-led lockdown period. These businesses worked out a way to keep the profits going even in a socially distant world. Businesses that are now reopening should reorganize their business plan and deeply think about going digital and offering more virtual programs to keep the audience hooked.
Also, many movies that were supposed to be released on the big screen were released on video streaming platforms. The importance of such platforms even in the post-COVID world when restrictions are eased to a considerable length cannot be denied. There has been a significant change in people’s habit and more of them are now quite comfortable in watching quality content on their phone screens. To keep their business going, movie creators should think about making the most of online streaming apps. In a similar manner, sports programs also went digital. While the teams played in front of empty stands, fans were able to enjoy the match from their homes.
Not a Bleak Future
The restrictions on the economy are easing. As the economy reopens, the entertainment industry will get some space to breathe. If entertainment-related businesses are successful in implementing the relevant SOPs, they can be back in business easily. The industry will have to take lessons from the pandemic and reorganize its operating model. Businesses that will be quick to adapt to change will be more successful and definitely be able to stay afloat. In many cases, going digital will be a great way for companies to reach a wide audience.
We are living in unprecedented times. Back in January 2020, no one would have thought that a major portion of the new year would be spent in quarantine, fighting against an invisible virus. The entire world fought bravely against the virus and took brave and unpopular decisions to save people’s lives. Now, it’s time for businesses to rethink their business model and work towards increasing their revenue and being back in business.