As the year 2020 started off and people were grabbing on to their ever-changing lives, Corona virus or Covid 19 struck the world.
To see that it has become our collective crisis and an occasion for unity in diversity, of course not under the best circumstances, gives us a feeling of how we are interconnected- Our lives, our jobs, our economy, our environment, our food. A tapestry that has come alive like never before.
The inevitable inconveniences and misfortunes are plenty from layoffs to complete shut downs to ill-adjusted work-from-home situations to gazillion dollar retracts. Media is not far from its clench- Shooting has come to a screeching halt. Cinema halls are closed down. And internet consumption just got crazy. So what does all this mean in terms of numbers?
From 10th February 2020 to the middle of March, that is 16th-20th the use of internet has risen by 70% with streaming sites experiencing 12% more traffic than usual during this time.
A huge chunk of the audience is relying on online streaming platform giants like Netflix and Amazon to access and stream content in the comfort of their homes with compromised streaming quality to counter the daily heavy traffic. Omdia predicts a worldwide loss of $11 billion for the film industry. The worst affected is the television industry forced to abandon their loyal audiences. This has led to a 15% decline in television advertising. If these circumstances persist, a time with no new content in the media seems like a plausible outcome. This has already led to a rise in the demand for podcasts and could further extend.
Another aspect that remains affected is live content like concerts, shows and performances that require a huge public gathering. However, these have become relatively more adaptive to the changing terms of the pandemic. Various apps like BookMyShow have come up with stay at home concerts and jukeboxes.
Marketers have tapped into the potential of online modes to stay connected to their customers amidst the lockdown. While some brands may choose to stay out of the marketing jig, personal finance and health insurance sectors have an obligation to update the customers on the changes. Now, these testing times have posed an important business strategy question for brands as to whether they should aim to earn profits, add value or make a difference. There are some heroic examples in the latter category -like for example Diego, one of the largest producer of spirits and beers has provided 5,00,000 liters of alcohol across 25 states in India to aid in the process of making sanitizers. AirBus is flying millions of facemasks and thermometers from China into Europe so health workers and caregivers have the resources they need to work safely and sustainably. Our Indian Railways is not far behind. With its massive infrastructure spread across a staggering 64,000 km, over 7,000 stations, and with 12 lakh employees the IR facilities is being used effectively during the COVID 19 outbreak. The coaches have been converted into isolation wards or quarantine facilities while its extensive health facilities, consisting of 586 health units, 45 sub-divisional hospitals, 56 divisional hospitals, eight production unit hospitals, and 16 zonal hospitals across the country, has come into major play.
These kind of positive stories impacting the world, are abundant just now. Media is not just passing its time during this crucial period; they are vigilantly keeping us informed and creating shared cultural moments reflecting who we are as people.
One of the most direct ways to gauge value is engagement, and on this front, media is doing well. Between 80% and 90% of us read, watch or listen to news and entertainment for an average of almost 24 hours during a typical week. It’s no surprise that engagement with media is high, considering the variety of quality providers there are today.
Executive leadership and corporate communications teams are on the hot seat, crafting brand messages and taking actions appropriate for a variety of stakeholders. Although content leaders may not have the leading role in corporate messaging, they can play a critical supporting role in handling related tactics.
Content teams at large global organizations, including the Fortune 500 companies, are stepping in to support a new volume and sometimes a new type of content localization. While corporate communications may be focused on the global brand messaging and perhaps localization at that level, the content team supports the underlying content shifts.
The silver lining though is where few studies show and claim a chance for artistic renaissance in this period. A period when art adapts itself to an adversity and channelizes itself through this great tribulation.