COVID-19 Response - Entertainment Brands


To understand how brands and platforms in entertainment are responding to changes in habits caused by COVID-19. This will be done by exploring broad thematic and trending changes in the entertainment landscape in the previous 8-9 weeks as well as specific changes to product offerings and messaging, and from changes to consumer behavior.

Early Findings

Thematic Changes

  • The impact of COVID-19 on the entertainment industry has been two-fold. Entertainment industries where people congregate in proximity to each other, such as in theatrical productions, sports, live events and trade shows, and amusement parks has been negatively impacted.
  • However, online video streaming which was experiencing an upswing prior to the outbreak, saw increased growth as brands sought to capitalize. Netflix launched a Google Chrome extension called Netflix Party allowing videos to be accessed, and watched, in groups.
  • The duality of the impact is reflected in the share valuation for entertainment stocks. Walt Disney's stock price began the year at just under $150.00 and now trades at $103.80 as at the day this brief was written. Whereas stock in Netflix began the year at $329.81 and as at 7 May 2020, was trading at $434.30.

Product Offerings and Messaging

  • Industry players has responded to the changing circumstances by offering technical training programs and other content free.
  • Free training programs offered run the gamut from technical training, such as offered by Vectorworks, Strand, and Obsidian Control Systems, to stage training and set design as offered by The Virtual Theater.
  • Sundance Now extended free-trial access to its library of independent films from seven days to 30 days and Warner Brothers announced that "Birds of Prey," initially released into theaters on 8 February 2020, was available for digital purchase on 24 March 2020.
  • Advertising and Partnerships Chairman at NBC Universal, Linda Yaccarino, has announced that channels owned by the company will have more uninterrupted content and fewer commercials.

Consumer Behavior

  • Unruly surveyed 2638 persons to get a sense of changes in consumer behavior during the COVID-19 pandemic. Results include that consumers are spending more time online, particularly on TV, mobile, and laptops, and that brands should actively address the situation regarding the pandemic.
  • Respondents in the survey are looking for brands to communicate how they are supporting consumers and staff (22%) and to include information about COVID-19 in their messaging (21%). Consumers are also looking for ads that display a sense of normalcy (17%) and humor and positivity (17%).


  • During the initial hour of research, the focus on placed on providing an overview of the thematic changes and changes to product offerings, messaging, and consumer behavior, for entertainment brands.
  • Information on changing consumer behavior and overall thematic changes for entertainment brands was readily available. Information on product offering and messaging was not as widely available.
  • We are proposing continued research into insights surrounding how the entertainment landscape has changed since COVID-19 has taken effect, and reviews of product offerings, brand messaging and changes to consumer behavior regarding entertainment since the advent of COVID-19. We will focus on video, music, theater and live events. If a different focus is preferred, please let us know in the comments below.

Proposed next steps:

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