Keeping the Lights On: How the Media Industries are Grappling with COVID-19

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Cinemas are closed, stadiums are empty. The world of entertainment and media, as we know it, has turned upside down, and coronavirus is the one to blame. 

With the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic across the world and to varying degrees, everyone can witness how businesses are holding up against the crisis. Entertainment and media industry is amongst the sectors that were hit hardest by the pandemic, employing roughly 30 million people worldwide and deploying a number of them. 

Billions of dollars have dramatically dropped as film releases were delayed and moved to future dates indefinitely. Meanwhile, the revenues for various event organisers could lead to a decline due to postponed and cancelled book fairs, concerts, film and literary festivals and other social entertainment gatherings. Even the professional sports and esports industries have already tumbled with stadiums closed and overseas tournaments postponed. 

Amidst all the crises that these sectors are facing today, how do they manage to keep the lights on? 

The substantial impact of COVID-19 is not addressed to the arts sectors alone, but global artists and everyone else behind the cameras and stadium curtains are also fighting to maintain their livelihood. Here’s how:

The Power of Online Streamings

The way we watch movies and TV series has drastically changed after the COVID-19 outbreak.  Whilst most regular programs are temporarily off air, online streamings became more and more popular than ever. This is one great way for the arts and gaming sectors to survive the global economic crisis brought about by this pandemic. 

When self isolation and quarantine measures were implemented, many people were left at home with limited access to entertainment. With all the weird things happening in the world today, people will need something to keep them entertained. Spending much of their time streaming online has resulted in an increased virtual media consumption.    

With a 60% increase rate of online video streamings and gaming in Southeast Asia including Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore, individual artists and different streaming platforms, such as Netflix, Viu, and HBO, have found an effective strategy to reach their growing market of viewers. 

Many celebrities have shifted to the online world by maximizing the use of their YouTube channels, given YouTube is now the dominant video platform in online history. Aside from vlogs and virtual speeches we perceive from different influencers and celebrity speakers, artists are also streaming live acoustic concerts, intimate performances, and virtual house tours to engage with their supporters and keep them entertained at home in the midst of these trying times.   

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The Role of Social Media to News and Current Affairs

With a pandemic crisis going on, what we all need is access to relevant news and public information. Since programs and newspapers are limited, social media is the best way to spread news and important announcements in a very quick manner these days. The Internet has been bringing the world together by exchanging news broadcasts from one state to another, spreading pandemic awareness and the up-to-date number of confirmed cases and deaths amongst people worldwide. 

In this light, the availability of social media becomes a dominant instrument for news programs to cater to awareness and information to the public. News channels are utilizing Facebook and YouTube Live Streams, where audiences are free to watch, give personal insights, and share information with their friends. 

After all, the most important thing for the entertainment and media industry is to keep the public informed about the current state of COVID-19 and the safety measures they need to survive the pandemic. If all goes well in time, these crises and disruptions will be just temporary and everything will get back to normal.    

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