Post COVID Era: Change in Consumer Trends-Entertainment and Media

Covid-19 has made a considerable impact on almost all industries which is generated all because of a sudden and major shift in buyer’s needs.The Indian consumer sentiment has seen a change and there has been a hike in demand for many products and services as the country has prepared itself to fight the pandemic. The entertainment industry is no such exception and has faced the similar challenges as other industries.

The Indian media and entertainment industry, worth INR 1.82 trillion in 2019 (according to FICCI), is now staring at INR 25,000 crore loss (CRISIL). The lockdown has had varied effects on the multiple sectors in the media and entertainment industry.

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Movie Theatres and Events

With theatres closed, shootings on hold and movie releases postponed, the box office has undergone an uncertain time. Even when theatres have been reopened and shootings have been resumed with definite precautions; people might still be unlikely to visit the multiplexes. Factors such as a weakened means of livelihood or for the sake of following the social distancing norms can come into play and are likely to prevent people from thronging to visit multiplexes. Moreover, production houses are more likely to put their huge future projects on hold in order to avoid a huge cash-crunch.

The event industry includes award shows, meetings, conferences, music festivals, concerts, exhibitions etc and is based solely on huge gatherings. The event industry which provides livelihoods to 10 million people directly, and 50 million by way of allied sectors faced a huge loss of INR 3000 crore by the end of March.

Considering the current number of cases in the country, a considerable revival of the industry is uncertain. Even while hosting an event in future, following adequate guidelines and measures, the maintenance of safety norms may still remain in question.

TV and Over The Top (OTT) Platforms

With so many people rendered homebound, lockdown has actually led to an increase in the consumption of TV. Viewers also relied on news channels to stay updated with the situation of the pandemic in the country.

With shootings on a halt, channels decided to air their previous existing content to engage the audience. This led to Doordarshan take out Mahabharat and Ramayan from their long list of archives and airing it made the channel the most viewed across the globe for almost two weeks.

However, companies are cutting their advertising cost because of lack of revenue, hence impacting the channels’ revenue as well. Another threat that the TV industry may face in future is that from the rigorous competition from the digital platforms.

Unlike others, the OTT (over the top) media services are more in vogue than ever. With the increased usage of these platforms over the last couple of months, the OTT platform has been reaping and rolling. A number of consumers who had never experienced OTT services have started to explore it.

The platforms also, in order to generate consumer loyalty have been trying to offer subscription-free services. Releasing movies on the OTT is becoming a new normal & there is an increase in digital streaming services. Streaming services like Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and Disney+Hotstar are witnessing atypical gains in subscribers. Also, non-traditional streaming services like movie studios are releasing media streaming, on-demand, sometimes earlier than projected release.

With a number of features and options available to choose from, chances are that consumers may stick to these platforms even after the nation returns to normalcy. These trends may even emphasize advertisers to shift their focus on the internet.

Print Media

Covid-19 presented a number of challenges for the Publishing value chain. With a sheer number of content created, fact checking and rectifying became a huge challenge. With closed bookstores, reduced newspaper editions and limited availability of printing options, the inclination towards digital technology for consuming content shot up. The widening gap between revenues and overheads has made companies rethink their strategies to thrive in this landscape and wonder if this will be the new normal. With stores and online delivery options opening up again and printing processes resuming from where it left, the industry may take a considerate time to turn back to normal.

Social Media

In order to keep their users engaged, content creators have constantly tried to keep their audience engaged by maintaining their social media presence. Social media platforms have been an interactive space for people to stay connected with others through their homes. The use of social media has undoubtedly spurred up during the pandemic. Social media has helped people irrespective of age, to cope-up with the daunting physical and psychological effects of the sudden lockdown. With more people working from home, the number of Zoom and Skype users also skyrocketed overnight. Brands also, on the other hand have begun to value their social presence even more than before.

However, too much time spent on social media is leading to an increase in stress especially amongst teenagers. Moreover, there are no exact funnels to filter the content that reaches out to the final audience. Hence from conflicting opinions to questionable corona-virus remedies, all sorts of fake news has easily crawled its way into our Instagram, Facebook and Whatsapp feeds.

Conclusion

Even though some platforms have seen increase in engagement, the major source of revenue is still missing from the picture i.e. advertising. Hence the financial burden of keeping people engaged has shifted from advertisers to the hands of stakeholders. The media industry however better it seems than the others is experiencing its own challenges. The country is now going through the unlock phases, trying to get things back to manageable. A number of restrictions have been lifted up, but it’s safe to say that the change in consumer behavior is here to stay for much longer than expected. Thus, it has to become the need of the hour for media houses to come up with ways to re-strategize their ways to reach out to its audience.

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