The novel coronavirus disease has touched every development index in countries of the world. RAHEEMAH AROGUNDADE looks at its impact on Nigeria’s entertainment sector of the economy
The coronavirus disease is seriously affecting every country of the world, every segment in a country. Apart from the health sector, the spread of the pandemic has had debilitating effect on the world’s economy. Another sector primarily affected by the outbreak is the entertainment industry.
Preventive measures taken to curb COVID-19 spread, including travel bans, lockdowns and social distancing, directly affect the entertainment industry across the world. Shows have been cancelled, tours suspended, performance venues shut due to general lockdown.
The Nigerian entertainment sector is relatively large and covers categories of people who hold jobs as actors, musicians, comedians, reality TV show personnel among others. In the past few weeks, the effect of the outbreak has been more evident. The entertainment industry, the world over, had to cancel or postpone endless list of shows. For instance, the new James Bond movie, No Time to Die, originally scheduled for release by April 2020, has been postponed till November 12, 2020. Also, the event, CinemaCon 2020, anticipating about 5,000 guests from over 80 countries, which was supposed to take place between March 30 and April 2 in Las Vegas was cancelled indefinitely.
Some shows cancelled in Nigeria
In Nigeria, several entertainment events were postponed or cancelled. Notable among them is the Asa Lucid tour 2020, which to hold on April 11 at the Eko Convention Centre, Lagos, and April 13 at Congress Hall, Transcorp Hilton, Abuja. It was postponed. The artiste, Asa, informed her guests through a post on her social media account, “Due to the developing COVID-19 situation and for your health and safety, I am sad to announce that I will be rescheduling my shows in London on March 29, Lagos April 11 and Abuja April 13. All purchased tickets will be duly refunded and a new date will be announced as soon as possible. Please follow all health and safety precautions as advised.”
Son of Afrobeat legend, Femi Kuti, similarly announced the cancellation of his spring tour in Europe. “Due to the prevailing circumstances, our spring European tour has been called of,” he stated. Other musical concerts scheduled to hold at the New Africa Shrine were also cancelled. Femi said, “The management of the New Africa Shrine has decided to cancel all musical activities as precautionary measure against the spread of COVID-19.”
Award-winning hip-hop music act, Davido, was also forced to cancel his music tour to North America. He announced via his social media page, “I am saddened to halt what has been a fantastic sold out tour so far, but postponing it is the right thing to do.”
Another musician, Brymo, had to postpone his ‘Brymo Blasphemy Live Concert’ scheduled to hold at Terra Kulture, Victoria Island, Lagos. He stated on his social media page, “Due to the global spread of the COVID-19 and in an effort to protect my people, I am announcing the postponement of my concert #Blasphemy to a later date. A new date will be announced soon. All tickets will remain valid for the rescheduled date. In the meantime, please remain safe.”
Other popular events cancelled as a result of the pandemic is the Sinach Live in concert, 30 years celebration of worship, initially scheduled to hold on March 22 at the Eko Convention Centre, Lagos. It has been postponed till October 18, 2020. Also, the Gidi Cultural Fest, a multi-day festival, scheduled to hold on April 9 to 11 at Cricket Pitch, Tafawa Balewa Square, Lagos, was postponed till October 3 and 4, 2020. The comedy show ‘Igodye Standing: Kinging with Kings’ scheduled to hold at Best Western Homeville, GRA, Benin City, Edo State, was also postponed indefinitely. The comedian also announced the postponement via his social media page. He wrote, “My forthcoming silver anniversary on stage, # Igodye Standing: Kinging with Kings platinum edition has been postponed.” In truth, a number of events have either been postponed or cancelled.
The pandemic also took a toll on the film industry globally. The Actors Guild of Nigeria recently directed that all productions of more than 30 persons be shunned. Cinemas and movie theatres have been locked down, festivals have been cancelled and film releases have been paused.
Outbreak of the pandemic has undoubtedly crippled the overall income of all stakeholders in the entertainment industry, ranging from to artistes, comedians, sponsors to events management personnel among others.
Lockdown rules and social distancing will curb the spread of the virus, but will also restrict movement. The closure of cinemas and movie theatres have led to a drop in the revenue generated from the box office. China lost about $2bn by the end of March as a result of the closure of cinemas. Also, the United States recorded the lowest box office revenue since 1988 in March. In Nigeria, cinemas have also been shut and their ratings declined.
Online businesses gain
The lockdown will, however, increase online media consumption such as online streaming like YouTube and Netflix, as well as download of applications.
Although the pandemic is dealing a huge blow on the entertainment industry, there is a general air of optimism that the industry will bounce back on its feet once the pandemic is contained.
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