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Not going to the movies
Compulsory shutdowns, curfews and limits on visitors have hit restaurants, pubs, cinemas and other forms of indoor leisure. Cinemas, in particular, are being hit hard; facing a shortage of movies in addition to the Covid-19 limitations. Studios are either pushing back major releases or releasing them on premium VOD. Tenet, the only major release since the global lockdowns, had a lackluster performance, since not enough people would (or could) go to see it in theaters. In reaction to decreased attendance, theaters are closing their doors. This month, cinema chain Cineworld will close all of its 663 theaters worldwide. If TV, games and streaming have not been able to kill cinema, it is unlikely that Covid-19 will, even if it did manage to close them. The post-pandemic cinema industry, however, will look completely different with less venues and shorter release windows between cinema and home video. Nevertheless, if the Chinese situation is any indication, people still want to go the movies. During the National Holiday weekend (October 1-4) the box office revenues were only 14% lower than last year, although cinemas are still restricted to 75% capacity.
The outdoor economy
To prevent the spread of the coronavirus, we are moving activities out of doors. Obviously, this applies to food and drink, but it is also exemplified by the vogue for outdoor sports, the revival of the drive-in cinema and the growing popularity of cycling and walking. Although this may seem a temporary effect of the pandemic, part of the rediscovered “outdoor economy” will last. Partly because some people will continue to feel fear of the coronavirus and other viruses that dwell indoors, but also because we are revaluing the fresh outside air and are unlikely to relapse into our old indoor practices. As the outdoor economy is strongly dependent on (extreme) weather conditions, accurate weather forecasts are rising in value for consumers, governments and business. In the long term, this movement may also give shape to new (and at the same time traditional) architecture, in which the sharp distinction between inside and outside will dissolve and the public space will once again be organized with a (weather-proof) life outdoors in mind.
Gaming to the forefront
For many years, the music and movie industry overshadowed the gaming industry. Despite the fact that the latter is much bigger and surpassed the other two sectors years ago. The pandemic, however, is putting gaming in the spotlight. Time spent playing video games and watching others play increased significantly during the lockdowns. Moreover, some games have expanded partnerships outside of the sector. Fortnite, for example, hosted a live rap concert during the pandemic that attracted almost 30 million live viewers, allowing for social distancing while staying in touch. Other multi-sectoral partnerships are emerging in marketing, e-commerce and entertainment. Investors, too, are interested. This month, for instance Guild Esports – the first esports firm to go public on the LSE – completed an oversubscribed £41.2million listing. Big tech companies are also broadly involved in the gaming value chain from livestreams and cloud gaming services to game studios. The changed perception of gaming as a mainstream entertainment format will continue to attract more companies to the sector, opening up funding, marketing and other monetization avenues across the value chain.