Hollywood swings back to IRL events to deal with new crisis
The Future. After years of going digital, it’s the physical that may keep Hollywood revenue pumping amid inflation and recession. Demand to attend theme parks and live events are higher than pre-pandemic levels, which could remind entertainment companies that little can replace the magic of in-person, communal entertainment.
We want bodies
COVID may not be over, but people are ready to get back into a crowd, reports THR.
- Disney and Universal have both talked up sky-high demand for their theme parks, posting record ticket sales (higher than 2019 for Universal) and reporting that individuals are spending more per visit than they did before the pandemic (40% more for Disney).
- Live events are also booming, with Live Nation signaling that an overflow of touring acts and an uptick in advanced ticket purchases may make 2022 a record-setting year for revenue.
Speaking of the Disney theme parks, Morgan Stanley analyst Ben Swinburne noted that the pent-up demand “may allow the business to grow even in a modest recession.” That could be true of any entertainment business that involves people gathering IRL.
Churn, baby, churn
So, where does that leave the biggest media trend of the COVID-era, streaming? After years of explosive growth and everyone shifting to a Netflix strategy to court the favor of Wall Street, the market has cooled. Netflix has possibly matured past its growth-engine stage, Peacock didn’t gain any new subscribers, Disney+ may not reach its lofty subscriber goals, and HBO Max is seeing the ground shift beneath it under the new Zaslav-regime.
Couple all that with an economic environment where consumers keep only the necessary platforms they need that month, and the streaming market looks shaky. And advertisers are taking notice — pulling back on commitments that hurt revenue even more as a result. By going physical, entertainment companies are just following the money.