Even With A COVID Vaccine, Live Entertainment Has a Long Road Ahead

Many entertainment businesses -- TV, digital, streaming video, and others -- continue to recover and/or stabilize from the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, we know about the ongoing travails of still struggling cinema film business.

But perhaps worse off are live-entertainment events: musical, theatrical or other.

Pollstar, the live-entertainment industry trade publication, says the worldwide business has lost a massive $30 billion this year -- which includes $9.7 billion in box-office revenues posted a year ago.

The $30 billion also includes unreported events, ancillary revenues, including sponsorships, ticketing, concessions, merchandise, transportation, restaurants, hotels, and other economic activity tied to the live events.

Before the pandemic, the publication projected box-office revenues to hit a record-setting $12.2 billion for 2020.



If viewing of movies in big 200-seat theaters sounds complicated in pandemic times, think about adding the complex factor of live performers, and all the precautions needed to stage such events.

Think about how live sports leagues -- the NFL, NBA, NHL -- and others have had to adjust to keep going. Some only allow a limited number of fans at outside venues (NFL). Others (the NBA, NHL) will now allow some limited inside-arena attendance.

Imagine going to a Broadway production now -- where theaters typically seat 600-1,000 attendees. What if they were open to only accommodate 20% or less of their usual audiences?

Professional sports athletes say performing competitively without fans in stands has had an effect on their performances. But now extrapolate this to a stage play or musical or concert with just a few live audience members?

A full return to live entertainment performances seems to be a long way off -- maybe by next summer at the earliest. Struggling actors/
musicians/performers still face uncertain times.

Theme-park closures -- at Disneyland and other places -- are in the same fix.

Produced entertainment content -- TV, film, music, and stage -- can find somewhat of a transition to streaming platforms. But streaming entertainment content can only be replicated up to a point. It is not a replacement.

Keeping one’s distance in this pandemic has been the rule.

But what does this mean for near-term entertainment engagement of audiences/fans? With their backs against the wall, producers and performers would unfortunately need to work harder.

1 comment about "Even With A COVID Vaccine, Live Entertainment Has a Long Road Ahead".
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  1. Mario L Castellanos from New Ventures Technologies, December 31, 2020 at 2:19 p.m.

    Well, if they really wanted to, this could be an easy fix. We at 3DHoloGroup have a low cost, high technology Covid-19 fighting method that can read the temperatures of hundreds of people from just ten feet away. An official walks by a line of fans and politely ask the ones with the higher than normal temperatures to step out. No contact required. 

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