Change in the film industry is often an extremely gradual process. The views of those involved tend to be entrenched and hard to shift. Therefore, how the film industry will operate one year can reasonably be expected to be very close to that of the year before.
Not so 2020. The current COVID-19 pandemic has forced a number of huge changes upon the sector over a matter of days. Cinemas are shut, productions are on hiatus and almost everyone is at home watching TV and VOD content.
In order to take the industry’s temperature at these uncertain times, I teamed up with Screendollars to interview 363 film professionals. We focused on the domestic market (i.e. USA and Canada) and asked a range of questions about their views on the current changes and what they think a post-lockdown future may bring.
We split respondents into five groups, based on their area of professional work:
- Filmmakers, covering development, production and post-production.
- Sales & Distribution, including sales agents, distributors and marketers.
- Exhibition, cinema owners and operators.
- Home Ent, TV & VOD, including physical and digital sales, all forms of VOD and films on television.
- Other, including those in education, government bodies, festivals, journalism, cinema suppliers and more.
- Mood of the industry
The vast majority of respondents agreed that COVID-19 has negatively affected all aspects of the film industry which take place outside of people’s homes. Furthermore, there is a cross-industry consensus that the exhibition sector has been the hardest hit by the pandemic.
The chart below shows the perceived impact of the pandemic on each sector of the industry. An average score of zero would show that the respondents felt there would be no change between January 2020 and January 2021 for the sector in question. Therefore, a negative score reflects a perception that things will be worse, and a positive score reflects a better future…