Covid-19 is affecting every person around the world in some way or another. Industries likewise are feeling the effects of the virus.
The cost of oil is lower than it has ever been in recent memory and retailers are enacting blanket sales on products. The entertainment industry is no exception with many involved finding themselves out of pocket and in some cases out of a job.
Considering the fact that viewership is at an all time high due to the abundance of free time which most of us find ourselves with it would seem that the entertainment industry should be thriving.
And in many ways it is, however, this is only temporary as an inevitable shortage of shows will soon be a reality and ad revenues are at an all-time low.
If care is not taken to stabilise the situation the entertainment industry, which makes up a substantial proportion of the British economy, could find itself in a downwards spiral due to a decrease in the number of jobs for promoters, technicians, managers and creatives.
How is it affecting entertainment?
Whilst platforms such as Netflix have thrived, with 15.8 million accounts being added between January and March, smaller organisations in the industry have endured severe losses.
Broadcasting companies are suffering from the lack of advertisement as companies have been restricting their marketing budgets in anticipation of the recession which is sure to follow Covid-19.
The virus does not discriminate so of course the film, music and performance industries are all feeling the effects. Many musicians’ careers are in serious danger as the rise of streaming services have made record sales a minor source of income. Therefore, musicians are having to draw the majority of their income from live performances which are of course not possible in this current climate.
Platforms such as BandCamp have looked to support musicians through a system of revenue share (donating $4.3 million in just 24 hours) which has demonstrated a definite sense of community but still may not be enough to support the livelihood of these creatives.
The closure of clubs, bars and restaurants has now made the potential income of musicians and comedians decrease dramatically. This has led to mass rescheduling, but this doesn’t necessarily solve the problem as many will be feel unsafe attending mass gatherings even once the virus has passed. Furthermore, in the current period of lockdown venues have no income and thus are unable to pay their staff. This may lead to venues having to close which will evidently have a detrimental effect on the entertainment industry as a whole. There is a real possibility that the industry may never fully recover from the setbacks Covid-19 has caused.
Likewise, lockdown has forced the film and television industries to postpone any ongoing projects. This has led to mass rescheduling of shooting as well as considerable job loss as the vast number of people that go into making a film can no longer be financially supported.
What to do
Whilst social distancing measures are in place there is very little that can be done. With venues closed and events rescheduled, the industry has effectively frozen. During this time support must be provided as much as possible by platforms and organisations to the performers they manage. This is being done to a certain extent with SoundCloud for example having set up methods of donation to allow people to financially support artists.
In film and TV, attempts could be made to try and film with social distancing rules enforced. This however could lead to further delay and therefore financial loss with the costs of production outweighing the actual content which is produced.
There are certainly steps the government can and are taking to support those currently out of a job. Of course, they recently announced a scheme which looks to reimburse people who are unable to work due to the lockdown which is certainly a positive move. However it doesn’t meet the standard that other nations are setting, such as France whom are promising to equal 84 per cent of its citizens’ wages.
The latest advice from the government has received widespread criticism due to the ambiguity of it. Furthermore, the message that people should try to return to work is all well and good, apart from the fact that it doesn’t consider those who have been laid off by their employers. A large majority of these people being in the entertainment business due to the sudden drop in production and performance.
It may be counterproductive to suggest certain industries should receive more or less support according to their relative importance to the British economy. However, with something as central to our society as entertainment, it is not unreasonable to suggest that the government should provide it with particular financial support as we are one of the leading nations in this business. To lose our position would certainly be detrimental to our culture.
The main question concerning the future is whether people will have the confidence to go out after the lockdown has ended. There is no doubt the majority of the country will feel very hesitant about leaving the house. But undoubtedly there will still be many who brave the post lockdown streets. This could be for better or for worse, better in that it will help stimulate the economy and ensure stability in industries such as that of Entertainment. On the other hand, it could re-vitalise the virus and force the government into a second lockdown.
Young adults will more than likely provide the numbers to revitalise certain venues and organisations, however events aimed at an older audience may struggle to attract the numbers in order to stabilise their revenue. With festival titans such as Glastonbury being cancelled, there may well be new competitors entering the scene which could certainly benefit the industry as a whole. This is particularly likely due to the wave of young creatives hitting the cities of Britain.
Alternatively, the future of entertainment could become much more online focused considering the use of livestreams on Instagram and Facebook by creatives during the lockdown. It has also proved to many that working from home is a real possibility and thus the very culture of Britain may well morph to be much more technology centred.