COVID-19 has had a significant impact on various markets and industries across the globe, as businesses work diligently to navigate the unique challenges caused by the novel Coronavirus.
While the U.S. government has taken steps to minimize social gatherings to combat further outbreaks, the live entertainment industry is being hit particularly hard since the implementation of social distancing.
As someone who has worked in the music industry for more than 20 years, Lindsay Guion is taken aback by the impact of COVID-19. To dissect exactly how this evolving pandemic is affecting the entertainment landscape, Lindsay Guion is here to break down what this means, and how industries may have to evolve as a result.
There is no playbook for dealing with a global pandemic. Whether you are in the entertainment industry, or working in another sector, new protocols, policies, and parameters have had to be written and implemented as the situation develops. For the entertainment industry, Lindsay Guion explains that event cancellations are inevitable, as governments around the world are banning non-essential gatherings to slow the spread of COVID-19. Austria banned gatherings of more than 5 people, Australia banned groups of more than 100 people, Canada has banned events of 50 people or more, while the United States has suspended large events and mass gatherings of more than 50 people. As a result, industries are now treading new water.
One of the sectors heavily impacted by the pandemic is the sports industry. While several organizations initially planned to play games in front of empty arenas, almost every U.S. major league has pressed pause on their seasons indefinitely. Lindsay Guion explains that the first move in this direction came from the NBA, and was followed suit by other leagues. These decisions, of course, are having a major impact on teams, players, and most of all, workers whose jobs are connected to the games. At a bare minimum, this could mean tens of millions of dollars in lost wages for arena workers, some of the most vulnerable workers in the industry. There is also a multitude of conflicting legal obligations, including cancellations, refunds, and liability that leagues are now forced to face.
Another form of entertainment that you might see affected by COVID-19 will be on your television screens. Television shows like The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Late Night with Seth Myers, Jeopardy, and Wheel of Fortune are all taped in front of live studio audiences, and have either decided to cancel until further notice or have started taping without an audience. Some have even turned to YouTube to continue producing content and paying their staff. Lindsay Guion explains that this is just one of many new tactics that entertainment is likely to employ to remain sustainable in uncertain times.
In addition to sports and television, hundreds of live music events have been canceled for the sake of public health. While major music events like Coachella, SXSW, and Glastonbury are gracing the headlines, it is the thousands of smaller acts that are more likely to suffer. In the spate of nationwide event postponements and cancellations, Lindsay Guion explains that COVID-19 could drastically change the live-music landscape for the rest of the year. For artists who rely on touring as their primary source of income, these cancellations could have a major impact on their ability to generate sustainable revenue. As dozens of orchestras and opera companies make their concerts available live online, other performing artists may follow suit.
Lastly, even the movie industry is losing revenue and canceling openings due to COVID-19. In an unprecedented move, NBCUniversal announced that it would make some films available digitally the same day they are released in theatres that remain open. Movies currently in the theatrical release may also be made available on-demand. Disney has announced postponing several major releases including Black Widow, Mulan, Antlers, and the New Mutants as a result of the novel Coronavirus. We live in uncertain times, but Lindsay Guion hopes that as this situation develops, artists, musicians, athletes, and performers will find new ways to reach audiences, produce content, and make a sustainable living from their work.