What is the impact of COVID-19 on the Cultural Sector?

Pandemic Jan 01, 2021

Covid 19 has had a devastating effect on the country. Post lifting of the lockdown, various sectors are slowly emerging out of the virus’ labyrinth but the cultural industry seems to have stuck. People are hesitant to visit  theatres, multiplexes, shows, and museums as they tend to be crowded.

Even after the unlock, the theatres are facing losses and an insufficient response from the viewers. Viewers fear visiting the public places, theatres especially which are closed rooms and if not taken proper care, have a high risk of infecting the public.

Also, during the lockdown, production houses opted for exclusive releases on the OTT Platforms. Thus, threatening the cinema industry. The producers can skip the sensor when going for online platforms, saving a lot of money and time. These online platforms were like a rescue team for the public drowned in boredom. The business of the OTT platforms has risen majorly due to the pandemic. This has led the public to shift to accessing entertainment at your own time and choose comfort over the risk of getting infected.

Multiplex Association of India (MAI) reported that due to the pandemic the Indian movie exhibition sector has lost approx 1.22 billion dollars. PVR, Inox and Cinepolis have seen a fall in their share value due to this pandemic.

Such another affected sector is the performing arts sector. According to the National Endowment for the Arts by the end of the third quarter of 2020, 52 % actors, 27 % musicians and 55 % dancers were unemployed in the US. These art venues like museums, shows, plays, event halls, concert halls have been shut causing the artists to halt their careers abruptly. The worry is not as much as  about the jobs as it is of losing a crucial period of cultural growth. This is going to cause a Cultural Depression.

The artists are unable to sustain in this pandemic. Their only appraisal is recognition. In times like these, they are losing on all those opportunities which could’ve helped them gain recognition and grow as an artist. All the efforts put in by them to create a show are wasted as they cannot perform due to the pandemic.

These artists range from professional comedians, actors, dancers, singers to the non professional artists like - circus folks, event decorators, public entertainers, etc. These people who live hand to mouth, are embroiled in a deep financial crisis.

Many live performers have shifted to online shows. But there are numerous small artists who don't have resources to go online. The economy cannot fully resume unless the cultural sector bounces back from this depression.

This article has been written by Manasi Barve for The Paradigm

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