Effect of Coronavirus on the Event Management Industry
The event and the entertainment industry is going through a challenging phase due to the outbreak of coronavirus. The industry which employs over 60 million people has come to a standstill because of the nation wide lockdown which has been imposed by the government. An added challenge that the industry is going to be facing is that of social distancing for a prolonged period of time, even after the lockdown norms are lifted.
Due to people being home bound which has led to almost zero content creation with regards to physical events and gatherings.
In India, The Events & Entertainment Management Association (EEMA) has sent an SOS to the government seeking urgent steps to help them sustain in business after a survey found that over half of them have their bookings cancelled till July.
An industry survey after the lockdown was announced has found that as much as 53 per cent of member-companies have seen a whopping 90 percent of their businesses cancelled between March and July due to the Covid pandemic-driven lockdown.
For example, people in India have been home bound since March 24 and the consumption of media through digital and OTT means has increased significantly. Of Course this is owing to it being the only viable option but the conventional industry has paid a hefty price for it. Economic times has reported a loss amounting to Rs. 3570 Crores owing to cancelled events in the events industry.
The pandemic has led to cancellation of numbers of conferences, both public and private national/international meetings, events and exhibitions choking the lifeline of industry.
Dubai 2020 is the example of the regional business event which has called off its current year’s edition.
Tokyo Olympics along with the international football leagues and IPL as a national sports event have also cancelled their 2020 edition. To understand the intensity of the impact, the losses that will be incurred by BCCI alone by cancelling the IPL would be around Rs. 3869.5 crores.
These cancellations have resulted in huge losses for the sector. The events industry that was expected to cross the Rs. 10,000 crore mark by 2020-21 is currently projected to incur a Rs. 5,000 crore loss with 10+ million jobs at stake, as reported by Business Today and Money Control.
Beside the 10 million the industry employs directly, the Media and Entertainment industry indirectly provides jobs to the other 50 million people through the allied sector like food and beverages, marketing, advertising and hospitality.
The work force in Event and Entertainment industry can be divided into two parts:
1. Permanent Employees
Permanent employees are the employees who are kept under the payroll of the production houses, broadcasters and event companies and are employed on the permanent basis.
2. Contractual Workers
Contractual workers or freelancers are employed on contractual basis or for some specific projects. They are usually paid on a daily basis or on achieving certain milestones with respect to the progress of the project.
The India Event and Entertainment Management Association (EEMA) has urged the government to extend processes such as tax refunds, loan facilities for the MSME sector to help reduce the negative impact on the livelihood of the people.
Measures that have been taken to mitigate the damage
Social distancing is the new normal in this time of coronavirus and as the whole world is adjusting to this new normal, consumer behaviour is also expected to change rapidly.
Being homebound has fuelled the demand for entertainment at home which has led to a significant rise of television and online streaming platforms which is likely to persist in future as well.
Few things which may happen in long run or short run includes:
• While shooting any project the content creator has to keep social distancing as a priority which will change the manner and methods of creating content.
• Many elements of the content could be created digitally as to minimise the requirement of human contact.
• Live events and event management business are the greatest threat as the government will not permit large gatherings and they aren’t advisable as well.
• Live music concerts can be replaced by the live streaming of the artists or performers through you tube of their social media handle. And maybe even evolve into Virtual Reality experiences.
• Movies may have to be released on the online streaming platform as people will be concerned to go to the cinema halls.
• Video conferencing facilities for conducting internal meetings have already started with the intention of trying to run the industry effectively with due consideration to the work from home initiative.
The event and entertainment industry will have to adapt the changes and will create a new trend post Covid-19 which will have a profound impact on how the way business is conducted and revenue is generated.
(Authored by Swayam Jain)