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How Covid-19 pandemic has affected the film industry

The COVID-19 pandemic has unarguably affected every sector of the economy. Banking, oil & gas, tourism, telecommunication, education, energy, even the film, entertainment and media industry have been directly or indirectly affected by the pandemic.

Prior to this global health challenge, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that in Nigeria, cumulatively, the cinemas earned over N3 billion in the first half of 2019 and over N1.2 billion in July and August of the same year. To lend credence to the report from NAN, a report compiled by the Cinema Exhibitors Association of Nigeria (CEAN) confirmed that last year alone, “Nigerians spent almost N7 billion to watch films in the cinemas.” However, with this health challenge (COVID-19), it is uncertain that the large amount earned last year would be the same this year. This is not just in Nigeria alone but globally and this may in turn affect the number of television content that are produced this year, and this would adversely affect the entire chain of film or content distribution.

Cinema and pay-Television broadcast operators are the worst hit in the content distribution chain. By observing the physical distancing guideline, cinemas are closed, and families have no option but to stay at home and with limited content in circulation, pay-Television broadcast operators are forced to repeat programmes across their channels.

For example, sports content such as football is huge in Nigeria. But owing to the pandemic, organisers of notable leagues across the globe had to cancel their games until there is an improvement on the COVID-19 challenge. But all thanks to SuperSport; a big sports content provider on DStv and GOtv platforms. Late March this year, the company launched the Relive campaign; an exciting TV sports show created to highlight the greatest stories in sport. Soccer, golf, UFC lovers will get to see exciting matches, documentaries, and interviews from the past.

Besides the shortage of content created by COVID-19, a major reason why repeats are necessary is that it gives people a chance to catch up on exciting and memorable clips they might have missed. Different channels have different levels of repeats – a kid’s channel may repeat far more shows than a channel for other audience.

Despite the health challenges, pay-TV companies like MultiChoice have promoted local content. Example is The Mercy and Ike reality show which is making waves on social media and because of the love of the programme, there is a repeat broadcast on Africa Magic Showcase on Mondays and Fridays. While on Africa Magic Urban a repeat broadcast is scheduled on Mondays and Tuesdays for those who missed the Sunday show.

We cannot shy away from the fact that programme repeats are an integral part of the television environment. For those who are not aware, the cost of content acquisition and movie rights is based on a model whereby programmes and movies are purchased for a certain number of screenings.

This allows for the movies or programmes to be shown at different time slots to allow viewers a choice of when they would like to access the programming. It is also vital to understand that repeats in the case of a multi-channel environment allow subscribers not to miss out .They also enable subscribers to plan their viewing time more effectively. Aguda is a media analyst

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