Udayavni Special

The impact of Covid-19 on the global film industry

Team Udayavani, Sep 29, 2020, 2:37 PM IST

Amid Covid-19, global economy is staring at another recession as the pandemic has forced businesses across the world to suspend operations.

Although, after the lockdown, several sectors are now slowly gaining momentum, film industry is still struggling.

In January 2020, just weeks after the first cases of the coronavirus appeared in the Chinese city of Wuhan, cinemas across the region began to close. Soon after, almost all of China’s 70,000 theatres shuttered, and as the virus spread across the world, cinemas in Italy, Spain, and the Arab world followed.

Several movie production spaces have been officially closed, Film festivals have all been cancelled or moved online and cinemas are closed and the industry faces an uncertain economic future.

The most hard-hit are the daily wage earners of the film industry. The Cine and TV Artistes’ Association (CINTAA) had also appealed to Bollywood stars to make donations and help daily wage workers.

Also, many Big releases have been postponed, film, TV and web series shootings have been halted, theatres are unable to screen movies.

Crews are struggling to shoot, cinemas are severely restricting audience numbers, studios have been forced to delay releases and film festivals have been largely driven online. However, a few tv serials and movies have resumed shooting with maximum safety precautions

Also, The Oscars ceremony has been pushed back to April 2021 to allow films to obtain a cinema release in a US where cinemas remain largely shut. the recent Emmy awards were conducted over Zoom

On  the other hand, video streaming service providers such as YouTube and Amazon Prime Video have  gained subscribers as millions of people are operating from home

According to the most recently available data, the global film industry has suffered a revenue loss of seven billion U.S. dollars as of the middle of March 2020 due to the coronavirus and its impact on industries around the world.


In India too, Covid-19 has gripped the entertainment industries. According to Indian Express, first impact came when Reliance Entertainment on March 12 indefinitely postponed Rohit Shetty’s film Sooryavanshi.

The film starring Akshay Kumar and Katrina Kaif was scheduled to release on March 24. This was quickly followed by Sir, Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar, Haathi Mere Sathi and 83 getting postponed too.

Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt’s much-awaited Brahmastra too halted production. The film which, after several delays, was finally scheduled to release December 4, 2020

It is said that the entertainment industry has already lost more than a thousand crores because of the lockdown.

On the other hand, a joint report released by the Broadcast Audience Research Council India and Nielsen suggest that during India’s 21-day lockdown, that on March 25, television viewership increased by 6 percent, from 3 hours and 46 minutes to 3 hours and 51 minutes per day.

The report unveils movies and news as the dominant drivers of the trend, with television viewership in mega cities accounting for 22 percent of the growth rate, television viewership increased by 28 percent and 22 percent in Mumbai and Delhi, respectiely.

Mythological shows have contributed massively in improving television viewership, especially with the rerun of the two major shows adapting Sanskrit classics of ancient India, Mahabharata and Ramayan

Now, several theatres owners and Film association members are planning of measures that can be taken to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Measures like enhanced hygiene protocols, non-invasive temperature checks and hand sanitisers. Also, deep cleaning and disinfecting processes will be intense

The number of people on a set will be reduced for some time and the health precautions on a set will increase. The filmmakers are also hoping that there will be change in terms of economics of the film.

According to a Financial Express report, the film industry faced a decline of 29.1 per cent to Rs 1062.4 crore in the first quarter of 2020, which stood at Rs 1499.4 crore for the same period last year.


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