How Amazon can help the theater industry to rebound
This is an article ‘How Amazon can help the theater industry to rebound’ by Marc Primo
The theater industry has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, with many theaters forced to close their doors or significantly reduce their capacity to comply with social distancing measures. As vaccines become more widely available and the situation improves, theaters look for ways to rebound in 2022. One way they can do this is by partnering with Amazon, the world's largest online retailer.
Before anything else, Amazon can help theaters reach a wider audience through its vast online platform. By partnering with its streaming services, theaters can sell tickets and merchandise directly to customers, potentially reaching more profit sources that may not have been accessible through traditional channels during the pandemic. These alternatives can be especially beneficial for smaller players that may need more resources to promote their shows as widely as larger theaters.
COVID-19's impact on theaters
To understand how drastic the pandemic delivered blows to the theater industry, let's look back at the numbers that tell the story.
According to a report from the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO), global box office revenue declined by 68% in 2020 due to the health crisis, and by 72% in the United States alone compared to the previous year. These numbers reflect the impact of theater closures and capacity restrictions that were put in place to slow the spread of the virus.
The impact of the pandemic on the theater industry has been significant, with many theaters struggling to stay afloat. Another survey conducted by NATO in May 2020 also found that 87% of theater owners were concerned about their ability to pay rent and other bills, while 60% expected to lay off staff or reduce employee hours.
The decline in box office revenue has also ushered in a ripple effect on other parts of the industry, including movie production and distribution. Many studios have delayed the release of new films, such as the Avatar and Top Gun sequels, or moved them to streaming platforms.
Such mitigating measures have led to a slowdown in production and fewer new releases for theaters to exhibit.
How Amazon can help
Amazon has significantly helped worldwide theaters via its streaming services. As more and more people have become accustomed to streaming content at home during the pandemic, theaters can use the platform's streaming capabilities to offer recorded performances or live streams of their shows. Such features help businesses in the entertainment industry reach a wider audience and generate additional revenue through subsequent service fees.
While moviegoers have resumed visiting theaters this year, the overall box office statistics have decreased due to the fewer movies released in 2022 due to production issues in 2020 and 2021. Although blockbuster movies continue to drive large domestic sales, the industry is currently operating significantly worse than before the pandemic. In comparison to 2019, there were almost a third fewer major releases (movies opening in more than 2,000 theaters) in 2022, which resulted in a third lower overall box office income.
The provision of marketing support through the wealth of data Amazon has amassed from its customers, including their purchasing habits and interests, also makes for better campaigns. This data is a goldmine in targeting marketing efforts that ensure theaters and producers reach the right audiences.
In addition, Amazon's marketing team can work with theaters to develop targeted advertising campaigns and promotions to drive more ticket sales.
Tickets selling like pancakes online
When COVID-19 first spread globally in March 2020, movie theaters were forced to close their doors, lay off, furlough thousands of employees, and turn off their marquees. Some people may have believed the pandemic would end the exhibition industry, but various tax breaks and government aid helped keep many cinema operators in the business.
But although the past two years have been challenging, most cinemas have managed to survive, with only 5% of U.S. screens closing since the pandemic started.
Studio executives are now using data analysis to determine what audiences want in a post-pandemic environment as the industry changes. Hollywood must choose what kinds of movies to make in this new atmosphere, as many long-delayed tentpole blockbusters now have their schedules for worldwide cinema release.
Many anticipate making moviegoers more aware of the best locations and times to see future blockbusters for 2022 and beyond. This initiative should break the cycle as many movie fans may have grown accustomed to seeing the latest movies from home during the pandemic.
Another way Amazon can help theaters is by providing logistical support. Theaters often rely on ticketing companies and third parties to handle sales, merchandise production and delivery, and customer service. Theaters can take advantage of the company's advanced logistics capabilities and leverage its network of fulfillment centers to handle these tasks more efficiently and cost-effectively.
More importantly, the big tech company can help theaters by providing financial support. While it is common for theaters to receive funding from government grants or private donors, these sources can be uncertain and unreliable.
Theaters can potentially receive a more stable funding source through partnerships with Amazon, which can help them plan for the future and invest in new productions and technologies now that all the pandemic smoke is finally clearing up.
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Overall, the COVID-19 pandemic had a devastating impact on the theater industry, and it will likely take some time for theaters to recover fully. However, as vaccines become more widely available and the situation improves, it is hoped that the industry will be able to bounce back and thrive once again.
The good thing is that there are many ways in which Amazon can help the theater industry rebound in 2022. From reaching a wider audience through its online platform and streaming services to providing marketing and logistical support to offering financial assistance, the company and its platform have the resources and expertise that can help worldwide theaters. Such assistance can guide businesses to navigate the challenges of the post-pandemic world while nurturing hope to thrive in the years ahead.