40 Covid-19’s Effect on the Film Industry – Taein Ka

Author: Taein Ka, Pima Community College

The film industry is undergoing more changes than ever due to the chaotic situation and changes in the media environment caused by the COVID-19 pandemic around the world since early 2020. Currently, many people are paying keen attention to the reality and future trends of the film industry due to rapid environmental changes. I summarized the film industry and the current status of movie theater operations that have changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, due to the rapid spread of OTT, it also wrote about changes in the form and production method of watching movies. Although the film industry was already undergoing reorganization due to the spread of OTT services around the world, the pace of change has been much faster than experts have expected so far due to the influence of the COVID-19 pandemic. Amid these changes, the way the public consumes movies will also increase the proportion of consumption through personal media, and the movie theater is expected to gradually change to a structure that is maintained as a small number of masterpieces or blockbuster entertainment films-oriented screenings.

The film industry grew over time and succeeded in many Box Office hits by providing outstanding works to the public. As the beginning of the movie grew, people’s expectations grew as well, and film companies tried to produce movies that met their expectations. Meanwhile, COVID-19 spread around the world, affecting almost all aspects of our lives, and the film industry is no exception. Many long-awaited movies have been postponed indefinitely. There are many movies that have been postponed due to COVID-19, and eventually released through the OTT platform, and filmmakers are facing a survival crisis due to COVID-19. In this situation, it is poised to spread further to the overall crisis of the film industry ecosystem.

Filmmakers currently struggling to overcome COVID-19 have reached their limits. As such, the film industry is currently in a big panic. “The impact of the COVID pandemic on worldwide box office revenues has reduced the estimated figure from 44.5 billion U.S. dollars to 16.3 billion for the year 2020. The July estimates indicate a more severe impact than was predicted in March 2020, when revenue was expected to drop to only 32.3 billion U.S. dollars. Across the globe, cinemas were shut down for Q2 2020, and the damage to revenue is projected to last for the next 5 years, although small annual growth is still expected as of 2021” (Navarro, “Theaters vs. Streaming: First Time Movie Viewing Preferences in the U.S. 2020.”). In the film industry, it achieved the lowest income rate ever and suffered a lot of damage from COVID-19, suggesting alternatives. However, several film companies are trying to overcome this crisis with opportunities. As the times are changing rapidly, the public has constantly demanded continuous changes in the film industry since before COVID-19. In an era when single-person media is attracting attention, people wanted a simpler platform for comfort, and OTT platforms that provide movies and dramas and can be easily used by people emerged. Since then, the number of movie theaters that screen movies has been greatly reduced due to COVID-19, and the number of people using the OTT platform has increased. In this regard, the emergence of a new platform may be an obstacle to the film industry. However, looking at various conditions, it is true that the OTT platform is contributing greatly to the development of movies. The attempt to appear on the new platform has contributed to the development of the film industry, and filmmakers are constantly making efforts in poor conditions. However, as the disadvantage is a new attempt, people often feel awkward at the first attempt. The attempt to appear on the new platform has contributed to the development of the film industry, and filmmakers are constantly making efforts in poor conditions. However, as the disadvantage is a new attempt, people often feel awkward at the first attempt. However, looking at OTT, which leads to a lot of development according to the current situation, as a result, new attempts bring expectations and rejection together. If filmdom goes through each step like this, there is a clear possibility that the film industry will revive again.

The impact of COVID-19 on the movie industry

Unintentional COVID-19 has caused confusion around the world. It has become a continuous phenomenon, not a temporary phenomenon, and people are getting used to this era.

COVID-19 continues to have an impact on the film industry as well as the aftermath of the art industry. Movie theaters and theaters around the world were closed, and film festivals and movie theaters also canceled, postponed, and reduced the event, and various movie releases were also delayed or put off the release itself. “The COVID-19 pandemic created a major upheaval in the entertainment industry. Most theaters, concert halls and cinemas were shuttered for at least a year and television and film production halted for months, leading to hundreds of thousands of layoffs and large sums of money lost” (Richards,  “Predicting the Future of the Entertainment Industry Post-COVID.”). In the aftermath of COVID-19, which has been around for nearly two years, it is difficult for movie theater officials to reduce rents and maintenance costs that theaters have to pay, and damage is inevitable due to the increased burden of quarantine costs. The number of movie theaters closed and closed is increasing, but even the government’s support is about to be cut off. This is because the theater operator, which is in a severe deficit, is a large company. This leads to a situation where major movie theaters have no choice but to raise movie tickets in order to avoid the deficit, and in the end, the damage is inevitable to the audience. The theater, a closed space, gave the audience anxiety, and as a result, sales fell sharply. However, the movie theater put forward several measures to return the audience to the theater by applying ticket discounts. “With most major cinema releases having been pushed back due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a lot of films have been green-lighted for re-release in movie theatres across the country. The hope is that these films will get audiences back into the cinemas, if (and it’s a big if) it is safe for them to do so” (Hanton). Some movie companies have taken measures to re-release movies in theaters, focusing on movies that received a lot of attention from people. Unfortunately, however, there was no significant change, and as time went by, the ways of watching movies diversified, so it did not have much effect on people to turn their steps. Movie theaters are already getting closer to the concept of multiplex, and the audience’s options are increasing one by one. “According to a study held in June 2020, just 14 percent of adults said that they strongly preferred seeing a movie for the first time in a theater, and 36 percent said that they would much rather stream the film at home than visit a cinema” (Navarro,  “Coronavirus Impact on Global Box Office Revenue 2025.”). Preferences for watching a new release in a cinema instead of via a streaming service in the United States changed significantly between 2018 and 2020, signaling a shift in consumer behavior and potentially a risk for movie theaters in the country. Also important to note is the effect of the coronavirus on consumer confidence. There was a drop in the share of movie fans willing to visit cinemas between March and June 2020, likely the result of consumers fearing the risk of infection and feeling more comfortable viewing movies in the safety of their own home. Just a slow-changing trend of the times came urgently. With the advent of digital platforms, the development of media has accelerated. Many companies in the film industry are also greatly affected by COVID-19, which has led to an increase in the number of people using OTT, and the OTT markets around the world are showing significant growth.

OTT development in movie industry

(OTT stands for ‘Over Top’ and means all streaming services that provide content over the Internet.)

It refers to a service that provides media content through the Internet network. Platforms such as Netflix, Disney+, and Hulu, which everyone knows, are representative. Due to COVID-19, more people are watching movies using OTT services rather than going to the movie theater in person.“In 2020, approximately 2.13 billion people used over-the-top (OTT) video worldwide. According to the Advertising & Media Outlook, users of this market are set to increase to as much as roughly 2.71 billion people globally by 2025” (Statista Research Department). As the number of subscribers who want to subscribe to content with OTT services has increased rapidly, and more and more movies are released through OTT platforms, OTT services are becoming one of the main platforms for content distribution. Netflix, a large U.S. OTT service provider, is attracting many people’s attention as an alternative reflecting the local Corona situation. It provides convenience to people by providing many movies and media on behalf of movie theaters with high infection rates. but there are flaws everywhere. With the emergence of many OTT platforms, they are competing with each other. Subscription fees and content sometimes overlap, which can be inconvenient for users. To solve this problem, OTT companies need to pay more attention to more content investment, platform competitiveness, and appropriate content pricing. In addition, above all, there are many concerns about how the film industry will coexist with OTT. OTT threatened the film industry and at the same time became a way out of the industry dampened by COVID-19. Movies that did not make much profit at the movie theater were also able to avoid deficits through OTT. It is time for a strategy to survive in the long run while increasing the utilization of OTT.

OTT replaces movie theaters

Recently, great attention has been paid to whether OTT can be replaced by a movie theater. Audiences who are unable to enter the theater due to COVID-19 are enjoying the OTT service. However, when COVID-19 calms down, many people are paying keen attention to the changes and expansion of the OTT industry in the future. Due to COVID-19, many users are watching movies through the OTT platform because people cannot go to the movie theater.  “Ticket sales in 2021 have already outpaced 2020′s paltry box office. But sales still lag nearly 70% behind 2019′s $11.4 billion hauls. According to this data, most of the movie theaters were closed due to tremendous damage as they were not allowed to go to movie theaters with a high rate of COVID-19”. The reason why OTT platforms have shown rapid growth with the emergence is that service users can choose the movies or contents they want regardless of the time and place they want.

In OTT service, there is no need to take time to go to the movie theater, so it is an appropriate service for modern people through personalized viewing.  It is easy to see, but it is more expensive than a movie theater because you have to pay a monthly subscription fee to use the platform. However, users can see a variety of genres. As people’s moves in movie theaters are gradually decreasing, more movie companies are releasing movies through OTT. However, it is true that most of the film industry’s profits come from movie theaters, which can attract audiences as a space with its own charm, so movie theaters need to collaborate with OTT and filmmakers and distributors, and develop facilities to attract customers by opening various popular films on the theater screen. In addition, the government should come up with appropriate support measures for the development and survival of the film industry, as the future of movie theaters is not just dark despite OTT’s growth and COVID-19 attacks.

Thus, the film industry, which is attracting attention as a high value-added industry around the world, is becoming more important as a representative industry of the cultural content industry. The film industry has a wide range of related industries and a large cultural and economic effect, which has a great influence on strengthening national brands and competitiveness. As times continue to change, the products that people demand continue to demand new things. In order to further expand the film market accordingly, various film distribution efforts must be made using new platforms, and point casting must be introduced to suit personal preferences. Although the current coronavirus has disrupted the film industry, it is returning to the same world as before COVID-19 in the way such as vaccines. So again, the film industry is also reviving. Film companies should realize what products people want through the COVID-19 incident and introduce a system that suits them. With this opportunity, we promoted the development of OTT. Measures should be put forward to give people a deeper perception of movies through the ever-developing OTT platform. Therefore, it is necessary to recognize and utilize the importance of the movie market. In line with the global era, co-production should strive to act as a positive factor in the global market, taking into account not only domestic but also overseas distribution and promotion. COVID-19 is also changing people’s basic lifestyle. There are no people in the movie theater, and it is full of new stories from the OTT platform. After all, the film industry is an industry aimed at profitability. Based on the characteristics of the film industry, the OTT platform, which is developing in the modern era, should be further expanded to establish a direction for development as a product for movies.

Works Cited

Hanton, James, et al. “10 Films Getting a Cinema Re-Release.” Outtake Magazine, 11 July 2020, http://outtakemag.co.uk/features/2020/07/06/10-films-getting-re-release-2020-lockdown

Navarro, José Gabriel. “Coronavirus Impact on Global Box Office Revenue 2025.” Statista, 12 Aug. 2021, https://www.statista.com/statistics/1170721/impact-coronavirus-global-box-office-revenue.

Navarro, José Gabriel. “Theaters vs. Streaming: First Time Movie Viewing Preferences in the U.S. 2020.” Statista, 12 Aug. 2021, https://www.statista.com/statistics/947757/theaters-streaming-watching-movies/.

Richards, Tia. “Predicting the Future of the Entertainment Industry Post-COVID.” USC News, 30 Mar. 2021, https://news.usc.edu/183870/future-of-entertainment-after-covid-movies-tv-streaming-usc-experts/.

Statista Research Department. “Number of OTT Video Users Worldwide 2017-2025.” Statista, 5 July 2021, https://www.statista.com/forecasts/1207843/ott-video-users-worldwide.

Whitten, Sarah. “Movie Ticket Sales Have Topped 2020’s Paltry Box Office, but Still Trail 2019’s Haul by 70%.” CNBC, 22 Oct. 2021, https://www.cnbc.com/2021/10/22/2021s-us-box-office-trails-2019s-movie-ticket-sales-by-70percent.html.


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