Recently, the annual THEME report about the entertainment industry in 2020 was released by The Motion Picture Association. The report analyzed how last year went for this industry, after most things were shut down and entertainment suffered one of the hardest hits ever. It also provides insights on new trends, as well as where this industry might be going in the near future.
Entertainment Has Changed
A lot of activities were put on hold due to the pandemic, including the ones performed within the entertainment industry. Many productions were either paused or postponed when social distancing procedures became mandatory, and this obviously had an effect on everyone. It is probably safe to say that, back in March 2020, many of us had no idea the pandemic would last for so long and executives clearly had no plans to push movie releases so further.
But the months went by and the industry could not stay on hold much longer, so solutions had to be created. Movies, tv series, and plays, still needed to be released even “without” an audience because cinemas and theaters were closed. Not only that, but this type of art also needed a safe and healthy return for everyone involved. This was when streaming services came in, and changed the whole scenario.
Streaming vs Theatrical Releases
As expected, theatrical (in-person) and mobile entertainment were directly impacted by the closing of cinemas and, basically, all other entertaining places. Viewers started spending more time at home, and with limited outdoor entertainment options they turned to streaming services like Netflix, Apple TV+, and HBO MAX., one of which we have worked with. Digital entertainment has converted now into the main form of entertainment, reaching 1.1 billion online video subscribers worldwide.
The result is that studios started launching movies on these streaming services, instead of making traditional releases, which led to theatrical revenue dropping from 42.3 billion dollars in 2019 to 12 billion dollars in 2020. On the other hand, digital entertainment revenue climbed to 61.8 billion dollars, and digital media accounted for over three-quarters of total theatrical and home/mobile entertainment revenue.
This streaming/digital takeover is not happening only with films and tv series though. Entertainers from all sectors are trying to take the best out of this. For example, more writers are opting for e-books because bookstore sales have dropped but ebook sales have increased. Also, some musicians and actors started streaming their concerts and plays in places where theaters are still closed and concerts are not allowed.
Our research projects on this area have given us a privileged glimpse through all of these changes. Artists and entertainers have relied on the internet to keep doing their job, and people all around the world have turned to technology to stay connected and still have a little fun while quarantined. The pandemic was hard for the entertainment industry, but recovery is already happening with reopenings being made around the world and streaming services coming in stronger than ever.