How Covid-19 Is Affecting the Media Industry
By: Vanessa Anderson
There’s a famous saying by Isaac Newton that goes “to every action there is an equal and opposite reaction”. Nothing can be further from the truth when we take into account the current lockdown situation owing to COVID-19. Initiated by governments of all the affected states, this lockdown has extended to include trade and travel restrictions, curfews, imposed isolation, sealing of big shopping malls, and restrictions on public gatherings. In the fight against coronavirus, these measures have actually proven to be beneficial. However, they have equally damaged the financial position and economic growth of the world, exerting losses for the global media industry. Here, we share some of the effects of COVID-19 on the global media industry:-
Effects on Television Industry
The effects of COVID-19 have been seen mostly on the television industry. Having been restricted at home, a huge increase has been seen in TV viewers, particularly at daytime. This can also be contributed to the fact that offices and educational institutes are closed owing to lockdown. Most of the viewers have shifted from watching sports channels to view latest news about the spread of virus. According to AC Nielsen, the rate of video viewing of USA is likely to rise by 60%. What’s more, it has been projected that by the end of 2020, the number of viewers who pay to watch TV channels will reach approximately 80.5 million in USA alone. The lockdown has also resulted in a rise in use of traditional media channels in China and releases of serials as well as movies have been delayed due to closure of sites and places.
Effects on Media Generated Revenue
Perhaps the most affected part of the media industry that took the major brunt of the lockdown is the revenue generated through numerous broadcasting and advertising events. This can be estimated from the fact that Disney, the most famous recreational spot of the world closed all its theme parks which contributed to at least 34% of its entire revenue. Additionally, New York Times predicted that the revenue generated by advertising companies will heavily decline owing to spread of coronavirus; this disease could turn the globe’s economic growth table around from 2.9 percent to 1.5 percent by the end of 2020.
Effects on Digital Advertising
Just like other sectors of media industry, advertising sector has also been badly affected by COVID-19. China may have recovered from the deadly virus, but it has been estimated that its total media expenditures will fall from $121.1 billion to $113 billion, whereas its advertising growth rate will descend from 10.5% to 8.4%. Having a huge revenue structure that is largely dependent on digital media channels, the lockdown has led to shutting down of businesses and stooped the making of new advertisements as well. The ‘social distancing’ seen in the wake of coronavirus has resulted in advertising losses as these companies are unable to put up advertisements on billboards and public transit. Cancellation and postponement of events is not only effecting sponsorship agreements and promotions but also advertising arrangements. Furthermore, many of the countries have barred social gatherings which may result in loss of USD 5 billion globally for drama, movie and theater industries.
Effects on Mass Media
The mass media channels have also taken the axe owing to huge lockdowns and travel restrictions. While the print media has been badly affected, other components of mass media, that is, internet, radio and television have actually benefited from the current situation. As these mass media channels continue to play their roles in informing and educating the public at large about the latest news on coronavirus cases, casualties, and recoveries, the people all over the world now rely on these channels in these troubled times.
Effects on Social Media
One other branch of the media that took a major hit is social media. As the spread of the virus saw the shutting down of 14 major social media channels, some networking sites such as Twitter played a major role in helping people to stay connected. Instead of using Instagram and Facebook, people preferred twitter for news and information as it is quicker and easier to use. The posting frequency on these networks have dropped by a large margin and social media engagements have suffered considerably. According to statistics, engagement on Instagram and Facebook has dropped by a huge 14% and 13.5%, respectively. Furthermore, companies advertising their content related to fashion, home décor, finance, food, beauty salon, retail, technology and software are all trending downwards.
Effects on business and economic news channels
The coronavirus brought many problems with it—part of which were felt by the business and economic news channels. As more people switched from these channels to view news coverage channels, and markets selling televisions and smartphones remained closed, these channels faced huge losses and downfalls. Furthermore, as the sale of gadgets dropped, companies turned down and laid off their workers and employees. The retail sector, particularly the fashion industry and shops suffered setbacks as no new advertisements and campaigns are being made. The shutdowns of malls and shopping centers further deflated the revenues of these retail outlets as well, leading them to seek other ways for advertising their products.
Effects on Entertainment and Sports Coverage
While it is true that a significant amount of money is generated through broadcasting events in the countries; coronavirus forced the governments to ban the social gatherings that are a vital part of these broadcasting events. As baseball and soccer league matches got delayed, the professional sports companies faced revenue losses. In the wake of this global pandemic, seasons of professional golfers associations have been postponed and football matches are being held without audience. The situation has worsened to such an extent that Olympics and Paralympics events—the biggest of sports events, will be broadcasted in Tokyo with some slight changes. Furthermore, as the public’s attention has shifted from these sports, the upcoming events are likely to see much less audience than the previous years.
Effects on Streaming Industry
One area that has seen growth over the last few months is the live streaming industry. As more people are downloading video games and listening to songs online, the streaming industry is all set to gain some revenues this year. In Italy, after announcement of quarantine, the top 200 songs were streamed an average of 18.3 million times. On the other hand, Netflix cancelled all productions of series and movies owing to COVID-19 which burdened the streaming online program. In China, after the implementation of social distancing, an increase of 40% app downloads was seen and in same month a huge jump of 80% was measured in downloading of games. To make up for the losses, HBO and Disney production have decided to air old programs and same is the case with Netflix series.
Effects on Traditional media
As we know, traditional media involves print, radio, TV, yellow pages and outdoor advertisements which have been providing services to world since 50 to 100 years by now. Unfortunately, with the birth of social networks, internet and online streaming, this branch of media suffered losses. However, with the outbreak of coronavirus, people have turned back to traditional media as a means of avoiding false information that is spreading rapidly through social media channels such as WhatsApp.
The Last Word
The coronavirus or COVID-19 is more than just a pandemic—it has brought with itself a host of other problems. While the media industry has seen losses in the form of cancellation of events, the lockdown following the outbreak has resulted to a rise in usage of social media channels. Nevertheless, while the world waits for the pandemic to subside, it is hoped that this media industry will play its part in bringing authentic and verified news to its audience worldwide.
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