COVID-19 has slowed the world down and freed up opportunities for individuals to rethink many aspects of their daily lives, including: work, school, healthcare, leisure, entertainment, and more. In response to travel bans, school closures, and recommendations to not gather in large groups, communities have turned to the digital sphere in order to maintain some semblance of normalcy. Despite this move online, consumer spending has fallen and that impact has had far-reaching effects on the media industry. As a means to adapt to the COVID-19 endemic, media syndicates have been forced to innovate, generally through technology, to remain afloat.
Within the scope of media, almost all branches have seen transformations — printed media like magazines and newspapers are being produced 100% remotely, newsrooms have moved outside the office, virtual events are being conceptualized to promote new initiatives, music and art festivals are becoming digital, and television hosts are delivering programming from the safety of their homes.
As the head of a media management and consulting firm, Lindsay Guion of New York-based GUION PARTNERS, INC., has had a vested interest in tracking the changes required of media enterprises during the pandemic.
Supply and Demand
The demand for content has never been higher. With so many families at home, there is a need for new entertainment, notes Lindsay Guion. The issue; however, is that there is an inadequate supply in certain respects. What’s more, many film and music production companies have delayed the release of movies and albums due to the crisis. For example, Lady Gaga was set to release a highly anticipated album on April 20, 2020. She recently announced that the album release would be postponed, and said, “It just doesn’t feel right to me to release this album with all that is going on during this global pandemic.”
Other companies; however, have used the stay at home orders to their advantage. For example, the Walt Disney film Onward, which was set to release in theaters in April, moved to the streaming platform Disney+ as a push for more sales for the platform during this time. Other companies are doing what they can to use technology to spread messages during this time.
Digital Collaboration Tools and Virtual Events
Another major tactic that Lindsay Guion has taken note of amidst the developments is that many companies are trying to bridge the gap between live and virtual events. This is achieved by engaging with platforms that combine video with networking to capture the benefits of interacting at a gathering with the technological advantages of virtual tools. As companies rapidly move towards remote working, the market for digital collaboration tools such as Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts, and Zoom has grown exponentially, a phenomenon that a lot of the companies may benefit from implementing permanently.
Lindsay Guion also attests to the adoption of unique and immersive digital landscapes. Instead of visits to concerts, museums, and other events, consumers are seeking equivalent virtual versions of these experiences. For example, Tomorrowland has been regularly hosting “United Through Music,” a free, global event that features several trance music artists. The event is broadcasted live on both YouTube and Zoom, through which the camera cuts to different viewers from around the world dancing along to the music. Several museums are also offering virtual tours. In this way, Innovations like these may boost future sales by encouraging consumers to purchase tickets to live events when the crisis is over.
Final Thoughts from Lindsay Guion
The coronavirus outbreak has pushed media liaisons and business owners to think outside of the box in order to provide compelling alternative options in the interest of public safety. While there is certainly volatility at play, big thinkers in media, like Lindsay Guion of GUION PARTNERS, are excited about the ways that this push will result in innovations for the future as to how people interact through virtual channels.
Over the long term, COVID-19 will irrevocably change the way businesses and media are disbursed and it is surely the companies that modernize through technology and chose to capitalize on underlying changes during this time that will see the most success.