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Navigating the Entertainment Industry During a Pandemic

Movies and Streaming: What You Need to Know

When it comes to entertainment, movies and streaming are two of the most popular options. With the current pandemic situation, the movie industry has taken a major hit, while streaming has experienced a surge in demand.

In this article, we’ll provide an overview of some of the key issues facing these industries. Box Office Returns and Disney’s Release Slate

Box office revenue has always been a crucial element in the movie industry.

Unfortunately, in 2020, the pandemic has forced theaters to close, and this has had a disastrous impact on box office returns. In the United States, cinemas have experienced a more than 80% drop in revenue this year.

At the same time, Disney has been very active in releasing films despite the situation caused by the pandemic. The company shifted its release for the highly-anticipated live-action Mulan to Disney+ instead of theaters.

The results yielded 4 million purchases in the United States alone, making the release a major success. Disney, known for its blockbuster movies and franchises, has a slate planned for the coming years.

These include recent acquisitions like 20th Century Fox, Marvel, Pixar, and Lucasfilm. Disney’s plan for the next few years alone includes 37 releases for 2021.

Same-day Dual Release Approach and Legal Issues

With no end yet in sight for the pandemic, several studios have adopted a different approach to allow for a wider release of their movies. The idea here is the simultaneous release of movies in theaters and on streaming platforms like HBO Max.

This approach, however, has some legal ramifications as it could violate distribution agreements with other studios, particularly with theaters, which reserved showing rights. It’s not yet clear how this would be resolved moving forward.

Theatrical Releases and Direct-to-Streaming Releases

Direct-to-streaming releases have become more familiar in recent years. This refers to films that avoid theatrical releases altogether and instead go directly to streaming platforms.

It’s a trend that has been increasingly observed in the industry. The 2019 movie The Irishman, distributed by Netflix, broke records for the company as more than 26 million accounts viewed the film in its first week.

Other streaming platforms like Hulu and YouTube TV have also aired exclusive movies. That said, theatrical releases will remain essential to filmmakers.

The experience of watching a movie in theaters, especially for blockbuster releases, cannot be replicated anywhere else. Moreover, releasing movies in theaters continues to have more value in terms of marketing and credibility for the quality of the film.

Success of Disney+ and TV Shows

Disney launched their streaming service, Disney+, in November 2019 and has seen massive success. By mid-2020, over 57 million subscriptions were already active, surpassing original estimates for adoption.

Disney+ has since released movies, TV shows, documentaries, and more and currently holds plenty of exclusive titles. Original productions include The Mandalorian, WandaVision, and High School Musical: The Musical: The Series.

Revamped Properties for TV and Unscripted Programming

Networks and platforms are continuously finding new ways to exploit their intellectual properties through current titles and franchises. The latest trend is refurbishing established franchises like Fantasy Island, Fresh Prince, and Degrassi into TV shows.

Besides, platforms now feature unscripted programming alongside new seasons of existing titles. Competition series like The Great British Bakeoff, Top Chef, and The Amazing Race are all streaming on-demand.

In Conclusion

The entertainment industry had challenges before this year, but none quite like the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s generated unique solutions for releasing movies and series, creating changes in how the industry operates.

While this year has shown the benefits of streaming, it also highlights the importance of seeing a movie or series on the big screen. These are unprecedented times, and it remains to be seen how the industry landscape will change or whether some new normal around streaming and movies will persist.

Parks and Cruises: An Overview of the Current State of the Industry

On account of the COVID-19 pandemic, the travel and tourism industry experienced a major slowdown in 2020. As we move into the second half of 2021, we’re seeing some recovery in both the parks and cruise industries.

Here, we will look at the current trends and state of the parks and cruises industries.

Park Closures and Decreased Attendance in 2020

The parks industry primarily felt the impact of the pandemic in 2020 when park closures and reduced attendance led to unprecedented financial losses. These impacts were seen in many sectors, especially in the United States, where theme parks are a significant industry.

Disney experienced a financial loss of over $2.5 billion in just its Parks, Experiences, and Products division due to park closures and reduced attendance. Most major theme parks worldwide opted to close their doors at some point in 2020, with the Walt Disney Company resort parks including Disneyland and Disney World experiencing closure of park operations for extended periods.

Slow Return to Normal Operations and Implementation of Genie Plus

While it can be seen that a substantial impact from the pandemic remains with many theme parks closed or operating at reduced capacity, they have started the journey back to normal operations. With the rollout of vaccinations and other pandemic countermeasures, attendance at theme parks and attractions in some regions increased significantly.

As part of the effort to bring customers back safely, many theme parks including Disney have implemented new systems and procedures to assure visitors of a safe and enjoyable experience. At Walt Disney World in Florida, for instance, they have launched the Genie Plus service, which is a paid experience that helps streamline wait times and reservations across attractions.

The Genie+ network was rolled out on October 19th, 2021, and basically combines all aspects of the previous Fastpass+ program into one. Setting up an itinerary via Disney’s mobile app, visitors can fast pass the Genie Plus queue ahead of others.

Expectation for Big Turnout During the Holidays

The holiday season is a peak period for parks as people look to celebrate and relax outside the confines of their daily routine. For the November and December period when many people travel for the holidays, many major theme parks anticipate growth in attendance due to limited restrictions around the spread of COVID-19.

In November and December 2021, Disney has forecast that attendances levels could reach the pre-pandemic levels of 2019.

Cruise Shutdown in 2020 and Rebound in 2021

The cruise industry is another sector that experienced a significant impact from the pandemic. The industry saw a global shutdown in the early days of the pandemic due to issues with viral spread and containment efforts.

2020 was inarguably a terrible year for the cruise industry, and in most regions, sailings ceased. Companies in the industry tried to navigate the industry’s unprecedented challenges brought about by the pandemic and had no choice but to take actions to secure their future.

Increase in Revenues and Plans for 2022

The cruise industry has come a long way since 2020 and started showing significant signs of recovery in 2021. In September 2021, Royal Caribbean Group reported stronger-than-expected profits amid increasing sailings.

With some inherent risks around suspended activities in some countries, it’s clear that the industry can respond quickly to these situations to assure its customers that they will travel safely when they choose to embark on a sailing. In 2022, industry players are planning voyages to various destinations worldwide.

For instance, Disney Cruise Line unveiled its full 2022 itinerary in October 2021, with 80 different cruises planned over the new year.

The Bottom Line

While the pandemic affected the industries significantly in 2020 and early 2021, the parks and cruise industries are beginning to show signs of recovery. We can expect to see new industry developments and considerable improvement in the coming years as the pandemic clears up, and life returns to some semblance of normalcy.

While there are still challenges to overcome, reducing capacity, closing borders and travel restrictions among them, industry leaders remain optimistic and are taking action in a bid to welcome back visitors with ever more exciting offerings. In conclusion, the pandemic has hugely impacted the travel and tourism industry, particularly the parks and cruises sectors.

The parks industry began to recover, implementing new safety measures and the Genie Plus service to entice visitors back. They expect to experience a big turnout during the holiday season.

Meanwhile, the cruise industry had a successful year with increased revenues and plans for 2022. Although there are still many challenges ahead, the travel and tourism industry remains resilient and optimistic about the future.

One key takeaway is the importance of implementing safety measures to reassure visitors and get the industry back on track.

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