Beginning in mid-January with the shutdown of nearly all the cinemas in China, the global entertainment industry has taken a huge hit due to the spread of the Coronavirus, with major events like the postponement of the much-anticipated Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival continuing to unroll. People are afraid to watch movies in theaters, go to concerts, or attend music festivals because of the risk of exposure to the burgeoning new Coronavirus. This situation is unprecedented in the Hollywood era––never in the history of the modern entertainment industry have this many media conglomerates been so severely impacted at one time (Variety).

The demand for streaming services like Netflix is rising every day. Streaming services allow people to still be entertained while staying safe and well at home. In situations such as this, where people crave entertainment but choose not to seek it outside of their homes, streaming services definitely have an advantage and are seeing greatly increased profits as a result. However, over time, even streaming platforms will likely face hardships too. With a rising number of Coronavirus cases in many countries and newly imposed travel bans, a variety of desirable locations for filming movies or television series are effectively unavailable. (Forbes)

Another obstacle faced by the entertainment industry is the issue of whether insurance companies will cover the unexpected financial costs to movie and television producers that arose because of the Coronavirus epidemic. If insurance companies do not cover costs associated with communicable diseases like Coronavirus, it is likely that movie production may shut down until the situation settles, hampering the ability of many in the entertainment industry to earn a living. Producers, actors, directors, and writers, along with their families, will be affected the most. For example, many movie premieres have, and will likely continue to be, affected by COVID-19. A premiere is an important ritual for new movies––not having a premiere is like having a marriage without a wedding, or a death without a funeral. The music industry has been hard hit as well: numerous festivals, including the Ultra Music Festival, Tomorrowland, and Coachella, have been impacted by COVID-19. The artists, organizers, and (perhaps mostly) the local bartenders are suffering on a large scale due to cancellation of major music events. (Vox)

Some franchises provide experiential entertainment, a combination of movie production and theme parks, and this is yet another branch of the entertainment industry that is currently facing losses. Disney is a paradigmatic example of the pressure on these large companies to respond to the current situation with COVID-19, as the company announced this past week it will close its doors through the end of March (CNN). How significantly will massive entertainment franchises such as Disney––and their varied constituents and employees––be impacted?

As the Coronavirus continues to disrupt humanity’s routines, we have a rare opportunity to see how various industries, however different in nature, are intertwined. The effects on the entertainment industry have automatic repercussions for the travel and tourism industries––hotels and small businesses in tourist destinations are all at risk, with the airline industry perhaps most dramatically affected (The Washington Post). Additionally, as we can already see from the sharp decline recently into a bear market, the economy has been drastically affected on a scale we have not seen since 1987. And although the recent national emergency announcement has helped salvage the stock market, if the economy continues in this state of volatility we may enter a recession and the agricultural economy in the U.S. could also take a hit, as fewer people can afford to buy groceries. Lastly, and independently of these other areas, the healthcare infrastructure across affected countries is experiencing massive stress and patient overcrowding.

Over the course of the next few months, the lasting effects of COVID-19 on national and global industry will become clearer. What started not long ago in one part of the world is already impacting a multitude of lives and families. Now, more than ever, the world is a global village – and we aren’t just responsible to our own state or citizens of one state, but to the citizens of the world.

About the Author
Vanshika is an LL.M student specializing in IP & Tech at UC Berkeley School of Law who is passionate about Media and Entertainment Law. She is a lawyer from Mumbai, India who worked in IP for a year and a half prior to pursuing a Master of Laws in the U.S. She obtained a bachelor’s degree in Management Studies and a postgraduate degree in Business Administration in Mumbai. She has also completed 3 levels of Clinical Hypnotherapy and is currently being trained for Life Coaching, and seeks to incorporate this knowledge into the challenging legal work environment and use it to make her a better colleague and employee.