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A ‘straight-and-true’ view of COVID-19 impact on M&E

“Covid-19 is affecting media companies in different ways, the damage to each media company is more granular and specific,” mused Fintan McKiernan, CEO, Ideal Systems SEA, when asked how the coronavirus is impacting the media & entertainment industry.

He said: “Take for instance, Disney which launched its new Disney+ OTT service on November 11th 2019 — just in time for the US Christmas market … and also happened to be a couple of weeks before the great Covid-19 lockdowns, which on the face of it would seem like good timing in terms of having a captive market of viewers stuck at home.

“However, Disney also took a heavy hit as it lost some of its major revenue streams from the closure of its theme parks and hotels in California, Florida, Paris, Shanghai and Tokyo, and further revenue hit from its sports subsidiary ESPN, due to the global shutdown in live sports events.”

Thus, the surprising situation is that towards end-April, Netflix market capitalization was at US$186 billion, actually exceeding that of Disney’s US$182 billion. Netflix is bigger than Disney … but for how long?

“This is in part due to Netflix not suffering from the negative effects from any sports, hotel or theme park divisions,” explained straight-talker McKiernan, noting that the company is currently taking some Covid-19 hits too. “While it has built up a huge library of original content, its current productions have ground to a halt under the same lockdown that is aiding its market increase!”

So what can or should broadcasters and media companies do to survive and thrive during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic?

“Well, this is a global billion-dollar question,” said McKiernan, pointing out that each broadcaster and media company can be very different when you look under the cover, and in the same way as Covid-19 affects different people differently, it will effect different broadcasters and media companies differently too.

“But from a technology standpoint at least, it seems that Covid-19 is certainly a catalyst for the adoption of cloud-based technology – and specifically cloud-based broadcast technology,” he winked.

Really?

Will Covid-19 push the industry to leapfrog over IP infrastructure straight to Cloud-based infrastructure in 2020?

To have a broader view of what broadcasters and media owners ought to do to survive the COVID-19 crisis, Team APB will continue the conversation with Ideal Systems’ CEO while seeking the views of other systems integrators in a special SI Report in the May/June print edition of APB+.

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