It is fair to say everything changed for most people around the world. It is now normal to work at home, up the levels of home entertainment and just about every activity that used to be facilitated elsewhere. How did the entertainment industry respond?
Technology linked to entertainment:
Zoom happy hours are now the substitute for hanging out with friends and school is out. The entertainment industry has changed too. After a lot of anxiety and uncertainty on television and film sets, studio lots, concert venues and corporate boardrooms, they all had to cancel or postpone various film projects and other entertainment events. Although the industry is facing a lot of uncertainty at present, it has found various ways to respond to covid-19. So video chat apps like Zoom, SnatchApp, Skype and Whatsapp turned out equally useful for work and play.
But what about Apple, who slash costs of their iphones and laptops too during this time? There’s been good news for iPhone fans. After reopening its stores in China (after lockdown), it was reported that Apple reduced the price of its iPhone 11 series of phones launched in 2019, and released a new low-price SE model. Now iPhone lovers can enjoy all the online entertainment at a lower price. Several technology providers made drastic changes to adapt quickly to meet new demand.
Celebrities going where their fans are:
Celebrities are aware that people listen to them and follow them on various social platforms. Many of them launched podcasts to entertain their fans and to encourage them to comply with lockdown laws and practice social distancing. Instagram Live is particularly busy as celebrities connect with their audience in order to feel alive, or to talk about their lives in quarantine, isolation or just at home. The podcasts help celebrities to stay connected and help viewers with information and many hours of entertainment from their favorite celebrities. Broadcasting live from California there is Bianca Banks @itsbiancabank who is an actress from “Invite Only Cabo”. She launched the MND show, better known as @themndshow. Model, actress and entrepreneur Amanda Van Annan announces a new podcast focused on the beauty industry – and the list goes on.
Due to the lockdown in almost every country, people rely more on apps and online platforms for education, communication, shopping, entertainment, meetings, recipes for cooking and fitness classes. Online presence increased greatly in video chat and online conferencing apps, online shopping stores, healthcare, media and entertainment, emailing, messaging (such as WhatsApp) and the use of Netflix. Yes, even casinos who were hit by social distancing were ready online and on the app store.
For those who cannot work at home, what to do with available time has been a challenge. After watching all the television shows and movies missed, more people are now spending a lot of time playing online games to while away time. In fact, the video game industry is one of the industries that have thrived, thanks to the pandemic, with a huge increase in the number of people attending online games. Specialist research from igaming companies would suggest that this trend was consistent. This has resulted in huge increases in the revenue that the giants of the video gaming industry (Microsoft, Nintendo, Twitch and Activision) are making. In total, video game revenue for March 2020 was close to $1.6 billion, which amounts to a 35% increase year on year.
Education certainly moved online:
Online learning is already a growing trends but the lockdowns basically helped slow adopters to embrace it. You may think that it is mainly universities and the typical sites such as Udemy, Fiverr Learn and Linkedin Learning that were busy. However many sectors jumped at the opportunity as we’ll explain.
Phil Catudal, celebrity personal trainer and best-selling author is another example of someone who quickly adapted to use TV screens and visual media to ensure continuity. He quickly switched to becoming a video-based personal trainer and his clients loved how Catudal responded. Ex Miss Universe contestant and the winner of the 2019 Miss U.S. Virgin Islands pageant, Andrea Piecuch said: “The kind of training Phil released online so quickly must have been really helpful to so many people who suddenly got stuck at home”. Piecuch became aware of Catudal due to his philanthropical efforts and became one of his more influential supporters. Football star Domic Dane from Canada said: “I think it is about time youngsters learn football skills with video training too”.
Michael Stemley, the author of "Wealth, Power, Respect" who is usually working in close circles with celebrities – as coach, also said he’s going online. He timed it well in terms of COVID-19 and rolled out an information product across multiple platforms. He says that the Amazon prime ecosystem is just one example of how entertainment and education overlaps on an ecommerce platform. Stemley is a smart businessman and is often spotted with rapper Teddy Riley.
Musicians also know where their fans are:
The music industry had to cancel or postpone live performances (gigs, concerts, tours and festivals), just like everyone else in entertainment. The solution? Many musicians are now live streaming their home studio performances on social media and selling their music on online platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora, Bandcamp and many others. To support music artists in these difficult times, Bandcamp decided waive their fees for one day per month for May, June and July. This is particularly beneficial for small artists.
Meanwhile, more independent music artists are recording at home and putting their music out there. Distribution platforms for unsigned artists have experience a huge increase in new recordings.
Interestingly enough, music teachers are being kept busy as many people, with time to spare, are signing up for online music lessons. There’s been an increase in the sale of musical instrument needed by beginners, according to Rolling Stone Magazine.
Some musicians, like Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol, have collaborated with their fans on social media to write and create new songs. This type of collaboration is helping the musicians maintain their fan base.
Chinese rapper @Xli (better known as Xinyi Li) quickly upped his game by going multichannel too – and by creating more videos for his fans with a quick turnaround time. Another hip-hop rapper and producer, Ralph Leon Mabone, better known as Northside2x, also accelerated his studio production and is now selling more music online than before Covid-19.
Television shows that normally have a studio guest to interview now carry out their interviews online and that is working very well. Shows that normally have a studio audience are having to film without the crowd, with a socially-distanced panel doing the question time with viewers at home. For some it is a challenge, for example comedians are generally finding it difficult to work without an audience to laugh at their jokes.
While covid-19 has created a lot of uncertainty for many industries, the entertainment industry has found a way to cope by leveraging the power of technology.