How COVID-19 Changed the Online Entertainment Landscape
There’s no better time to appreciate the internet in all its glory than this year. Due to the current situation brought about by the pandemic, business establishments all over the world that rely much on face-to-face interactions and walk-in visits had no other choice but to close their doors to thousands of their customers. They now have shifted to doing everything via the internet. And while it’s true that doing everything online is the new normal, the fact of the matter is the pandemic didn’t just affect the way we do business; it has also redefined and changed even the online entertainment landscape.
Almost a year ago, people spent hours after work with friends enjoying a drink or two in pubs, take long walks during the weekend, watch a movie in theaters, or maybe even enjoy concerts, standup comedies, or any other form of entertainment out there. Enter the new normal—entertainment has now been a mix of enjoying events and concerts via Zoom or live stream on different online platforms. The competition now shifted from the number of walk-in clients to views, likes, shares, and or engagement counts.
How exactly has it changed, and how can businesses and organizations keep up?
Interactive online entertainment from home
There are several festivals and major award ceremonies that have been done virtually in the past few months. Live streaming these events have now been made accessible to viewers at home. The challenge now is making it interactive enough for viewers to enjoy, so it doesn’t just feel like watching TV.
It was through the strategic use of hashtags that businesses and organizations were able to create some noise on social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter. This makes the audience feel like they are part of the event even when they’re physically absent in the venue itself. They can follow exactly what happens, share content, and comment on anything other people say in real-time.
Some also try to involve the audience by asking for participation through casting votes or asking them to post questions or any other gimmick that entails the audience being seen or heard during the event.
It’s how innovative businesses come up with content and how they are able to reach out, involve their audience, and use technology to their advantage that makes the biggest change.
Creative audience-inspired content and events
Since people aren’t really keen on leaving their homes, it’s now up to businesses and organizations to get creative with content that will make them feel like they aren’t missing anything.
Take the Shedd Aquarium, for example. Since it closed to the public, people cannot visit them physically. But they used their platform to put on a show for their audiences at home. In March, a post with Wellington, a penguin, can be seen in front of an aquarium, and in it were belugas Kayavak, Kayavak, and baby Annik.
Sure, to some, it would be just animals on one screen. But with the caption, “Wellington, meet the belugas. This weekend, Wellington visited Kayavak, Kayavak, and baby Annilk, who was very curious about this little rockhopper. Belugas are northern hemisphere animals, so they would likely never see a penguin.,” it becomes entertainment which is very good for PR and brand retention. Once Shedd Aquarium opens its doors again, people will definitely visit the belugas and Wellington who became famous online.
The point is that even while businesses or organizations in the entertainment industry have closed, the internet gives countless opportunities for businesses to at least continue and bring entertainment to every home.
Live streaming entertainment
While there are several events that have been canceled, there are some that opted to push through via live stream. Indeed, the show must go on. Some would have it for free while some would sell tickets and have virtual seats that needed to be reserved like fashion shows and conventions.
The greatest thing about live streaming a convention, or conference, or any event apart from the fact that companies get real-time feedback from viewers, is that the people attending are able to share some takeaways or highlight with friends or family instantly. While people crave the feeling of being in an actual event physically, the experience that live streaming gives can somehow feel that void amidst the current situation.
If there’s one thing many realize, it’s the fact that the internet has made organizing and hosting events easier and cost-effective. That means creating content, live streaming, and bringing entertainment via the internet to the audience at home will be a thing for many more years even when the pandemic is over. COVID-19 has changed the online entertainment landscape and people now have higher expectations when it comes to the kind of entertainment companies and organizations bring.
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