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What does Covid-19 mean for the Media Industry?

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has driven the world into a global economic recession. Unemployment rates and consumerism has plunged, and many industries have collapsed. The implementation of lockdown policies across numerous countries have resulted in a substantial amount of the world’s population being cooped up at home. This has vastly impacted the media and film industry in different ways.

Acceleration of online media services

The temporary global lockdown has exponentially increased the demand for online media services. Netflix had 15.8 million new subscribers in the first quarter of 2020, exceeding prior expectations by more than two times. Twitch, an online live-streaming media platform, is experiencing a surge in viewership amidst the coronavirus pandemic. Media consumption has escalated globally since the pandemic. As such, companies with core businesses revolving around online media are inadvertently booming. That said, an online platform is highly essential moving forward in times, regardless of business category.

The free fall of film and cinema

Since the pandemic, film production in many countries have been halted and movie theatres have closed. Global box office is projected at a loss of US$5 billion due to the coronavirus outbreak. The inability to continue with scheduled productions and film releases have inevitably resulted in the freefall of the film and cinema industry globally. Major film companies like Warner Bros, Sony and Disney have had to make drastic changes to its release calendars. The repercussions of the pandemic are likely to cause a domino effect and a substantial amount of time would be required before the industry gets back on its feet.

Huge hit to video production companies

As the outbreak becomes increasingly dire, businesses are heavily reducing their advertising budget. The decrease in ad spending is a direct hit to video production firms that rely on business-to-business transactions. Also, social distancing measures implemented in many countries greatly limits filming and production. This further reduces business opportunities for media and production studios centred around corporate video production.

In local context, as simple as physically having a production crew on a shoot is not longer viable as the 2 metres rule comes into play. It is also risky for crew to handle equipment that will be touched and moved by multiple people at multiple places. With all these conundrums, video production agencies will have to jump ship into new territories to remain creative and adaptable in producing visual content to avoid stagnation.

New life for animated videos?

Social distancing measures have more or less rendered live-interviews and filming obsolete. Firms that are looking to capitalise on the high demand of media consumption to spread brand awareness during the pandemic, could turn towards animated videos. For advertisers, simple animations and motion graphics promoting a call-to-action is more than likely the best way to spread awareness of their brands and products during this pandemic. At Bentwood Films, we have diverted on focus editorial videos where we apply our post-production expertise and assets, to help our clients get through the hard times without blowing a budget on advertising.

Overall, the film and media industry has taken a huge hit due to the coronavirus pandemic. Despite the cosmic growth of firms in the media streaming and telecommunications industries, the impacts of a global economic recession will eventually be felt albeit, at a slower rate compared to industries that are directly impacted by the pandemic. Perhaps, this is an underlying stimulant for us to take the next step into a heavily digitalised way of producing films to change up the fundamental algorithm of advertising.

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