COVID-19 has disrupted most industries and forced businesses to rethink their continuity plans and business models. Video streaming companies such as Netflix and Hulu saw a significant increase in new subscriptions since the pandemic started. Consumers relied on these platforms for entertainment while they sheltered at home. Whether or not this was a plan in their business models, it worked.
Internet providers also reported an increase in internet usage from online video gaming during the COVID-19 pandemic. Millions of people worldwide play video games. The multi-billion-dollar industry, with a variety of gaming options available, is an entertainment option for all age groups. Online video games are a social activity, allowing users to stay home in a safe environment while still socializing with friends. I have to admit I am a contributor to the increase in online gaming since the COVID-19 pandemic started.
Smart technologies were already becoming the future of the workplace well before COVID-19. Now it is utilized as a way to distribute entertainment and media. We have all watched our news reported live from the living room and weather from the backyards of our local station newscaster. The virtual get-together webcasts of our favorite stars have been entertaining. Even talk shows are utilizing Smart Technology to broadcast with guests. Will this concept be the new norm? In my opinion, the news broadcasts seem a little odd. With a bit of creativity from the production teams, I am sure it can improve.
Investment in technology infrastructure will become a top priority for most companies, including the Media and Entertainment Industry. With the development of Smart Technologies, corporations have identified virtual meetings and conferences to be beneficial not just because of the social distancing aspect, but cost-effective in the long run.
Alternatively, content production may have to consider the bubble scenario if vaccines are not available. Similar to the model sports teams have put together to ensure their players stay healthy. Otherwise, they will have to develop a full-proof COVID testing plan, if that truly exists. Filming scenes that require close and personal contact may pose a great challenge and require the use of technology to recreate a scene. Cast members may not want to forgo the social distancing safety for the sake of entertainment. Utilizing Virtual Reality or Depth Sensor technology may be an alternative way to produce certain scenes.
Entertainment venues such as theme parks and concerts must follow capacity limitations to ensure the well-being of the consumer. Ironically, the old historic ways seem to have made a comeback. The Drive-In concept my parents reminisce about from their childhood has re-vamped the concert and movie arena. Success will be in the assurance of public health and safety.
There are still so many unknown factors with COVID-19. It will take years to understand the virus completely. There will be a percentage of consumers who will inevitably tire from the constraints and want to return to ‘normal’ life experiences. The entertainment and media options of old and new technology will need to be available to consumers to make the choice that suits the individual.