How COVID-19 is transforming the Film Industry

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, cinemas and movie theaters have been closed and film released have been postponed or even cancelled. This has led to a higher demand for movies and shows from streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, amongst others. The pandemic has interrupted entertainment in Hollywood and many film industries, which led to the fight for industry buyers to purchase independent films. Cast and crews of major films are eager to return back to work after safety guidelines have been set. The fast content of independent films attracted more buyers ever than before. The film festival like January’s Sundance or SXSW which was cancelled but still was able to present and award various innovative finished films for filmmakers to glow their talents, which is a great opportunity to attract buyers. These festivals gather producers, agents, and distributors. It is easy to find needed resources at festivals like these to supply for films for buyers.

The Streamers are eager to generate more content for their audiences. The flexibility that independent films offer is enticing because it reaches the market faster. Additionally, this is mutually beneficial to both the buyer and the creator because the revenue from streams will allow for those filmmakers to survive and continue to create more content. The production value of content produced on set is expected to not be impacted. Independent film companies are in the unique position to capitalize from the revenue disruption caused by COVID-19. Small filmmakers often have limited resources compared to large companies like Warner Bros. and the Walt Disney Company. The independent filmmakers are challenged with less staff, less source, and producing with limited budgets. Some are making the best of their resources, like the Corona film that is following a low budget, single camera film shot inside a broken-down elevator. Also, virtual production technologies have also enabled independent filmmakers to create films entirely in game environments for movies requiring only graphics.

From our experience with the media & entertainment industry, we have worked with CIOs, CFOs, and other senior executives from companies such as SONY Pictures Home Entertainment, Warner Bros. and the Walt Disney Company.  We have led ERP implementations and other high value projects. Executive Option recognizes that information and digital technologies are rapidly expanding and influencing the workflow of media entertainment companies. Currently in this industry, we can see these groups are experiencing likely one of two main issues. One being the improperly connected systems and technologies that are not designed to scale up or keep up with the competitive industry. The other related to an inadequate budget for future resources needed to minimize impact of the disruption and recover. For instance, Executive Option offers CIO as a service, providing end to end implementation for solutions. This will enable independent film businesses without them incurring the financial impact of onboarding a full-time high value talent. Planning for having the right resources at the right time will help increase ROI in different areas such as payroll expenses and accounting, which will lead to a more efficient use of expenses into a more creative role. The increased efficiency in running production will generate more transparency from their financial resources.