The COVID-19 pandemic has influenced the whole planet with its major impacts on the economy and businesses across the globe. The COVID-19 spread worldwide in unprecedented ways due to its high infectious and contagious nature and lack of availability of its vaccine. As a result, the greatest medical challenge in the 21st century is yet to be faced by physicians worldwide. Though the emergence of the virus can be traced back to Asia, many European countries along with the U.S. have been struck massively by the pandemic. The virus has spread across all regions ranging from North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Middle East, and Africa up to South America. The COVID-19 has been declared as a pandemic by World Health Organization (WHO) due to its increased spread across the globe. After the declaration of the pandemic, various countries announced the complete lockdown such as India, China, and other Asian countries to decrease its spread. According to the situation report of 7th June, 2021 by WHO stated 174 million cases of the corona have been reported globally and 3.7 million patients are dead due to the coronavirus. On a slightly positive note, a total of 157 million people have recovered and total of 1.9 million vaccine doses have been administered as well.
People are spending more time at home, which means there are more entertainment hours to fill, and in times of uncertainty, the public turns to trusted news outlets and their digital services for answers. In contextual to ‘at-home-entertainment' providers and news outlets are engaging users more and reaching new and larger audiences. Gaming is among the category with the largest increase in consumption is also gaining heavy experience with an increase in consumption. Though consumption is up, revenue is down overall as advertising spending on which the media and entertainment industry is heavily reliant is shrinking and entire segments of the industry are coming to a halt.
Both, the small and large businesses associated with media and entertainment sector are cutting marketing budgets. Entire segments of these industries have come to a halt: movie theaters have closed, film producers and distributors are struggling without the prospect of a theatrical release, live music – the music industry's primary source of revenue – has come to a halt, and sports are losing money on all fronts.
In April 2020, the Canadian Media Producers Association had put as much as USD 2.5 billion that has drastically lowered due to recent shutdown along with the losses of 172,000 jobs.
Because people were largely confined to their homes and the television set (or the mobile phone screen) was their only point of contact with the outside world, and thus the only source of news and diversion, television channels saw a spike in viewership.
According to the rating agency CRISIL, revenue in India's media and entertainment (M&E) sector is expected to increase by 27 percent to Rs 1.37 lakh crore in fiscal 2022, following a 26 percent decline in FY21. However, the report stated that the time it will take to return to pre-pandemic levels will be relatively shorter for segments such as digital and television (TV), while print, films, outdoor, and radio will take longer.
Advertisement (ad) and subscription revenue contribute nearly equally to the overall M&E sector's topline, but because the former is strongly correlated with economic growth, the pandemic has had a greater impact on it.
The TV segment, which accounts for roughly half of the sector's revenue has fully recovered and is expected to grow at a healthy rate in FY22. While ad revenue initially fell sharply, it recovered thanks to the airing of new content, sports events like the Indian Premier League (IPL), and the festive season. Even at the height of the chaos, TV subscriptions remained strong.
Meanwhile, the print segment, which accounts for a fifth of the M&E sector's revenue, is slowly improving and will be able to recover by the end of the fiscal year. Thus, the COVID-19 has impacted the revenues and price level of media and entertainment sector market significantly.
During COVID-19, the content consumption has skyrocketed. Regrettably, this did not translate into an increase in revenue which is amusing. Wage cuts and job losses occurred as a result of the overall economic downturn, reducing consumers' overall purchasing power. As a result, their spending was limited to only the most essential items, implying that at least during the period of the extension, they were able to save money.
In July 2020, as the lockdown was gradually lifted, restrictions were eased, and life began to return to normal, revenue streams began to pick up again – albeit slowly. Furthermore, with the start of the holiday season, general entertainment channels surpassed pre-COVID revenue levels, but most niche channels have yet to do so. However, there has been one notable exception of news channel where the role of news channel have been highly benefitted as most of the viewers were concerned about the latest updates on coronavirus.
Hence, the consumers have started using online platforms for education, shopping, and banking in greater numbers than they have in the past and this has overall enhanced the demand for the media & entertainment.
Digital is the way of the future. There will be an enormous increase in the retention of existing digital consumers as well as the addition of new users. Consumption of online gaming and demand for OTT originals will only rise as technological advancements make them more accessible. The best part is that their business model is subscription-based rather than ad-supported. To survive the initial disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, M&E (media and entertainment) companies have made significant job cuts and business changes, but as they transition from response to recovery, they can develop strategies that will position them to be more successful once the pandemic has passed.
The ongoing COVID-19 crisis is causing a lot of uncertainty and change, as well as a lot of questions that have no obvious answers: Which changes are likely to last? What will the new world's appearance be like? What will people and businesses do to adapt? Even as U.S. technology, media, and telecommunications companies focus on the global pandemic and its immediate consequences, they will eventually need to pivot towards recovering from crisis.
Office closures are a result of social distancing policies, forcing more employees to work remotely. This could raise the risk of a cyber-attack. In the aftermath of the crisis, compensation and benefits may not be adequate.
Pandemic has taken a toll on every aspect of life, including the global economy. With the significant downfalls in many sectors, a collaborative effort of government, industry players, and consumers can win the fight against COVID-19.
It still continues to inflict the world with appalling economic and social dilemmas, capable enough to leave severe backlash on the economy for the next several years. The first wave had already inflicted severe blows to the population as well as the economy. The currently experiencing second wave is expected to be more disastrous not only to the masses but also to financial markets
Furthermore, the media & entertainment firms will likely become more reliant on technology in order to maximize cost-cutting and revenue-generating opportunities. Profit protection and cash management with greater technology integration will become strategic importance for M&E companies as monetization and revenue in terms of ad-spend continue to struggle. The industry is likely to stay focused on long-term sustainability.
With social distancing policies in place, OTT consumption in Canada may begin to shift from mobile screens to large TV screens, as viewers spend more time at home. In the medium term, this will slow the process of cord cutting/shaving, benefiting broadband internet and fiber-to-the-home providers.