Going Viral: Coronavirus in the creative industry

The wellbeing of our team is top priority so as of this Tuesday our team at the Zen Agency will be going remote as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

By Alan Ronald, 17 March 2020


The wellbeing of our team is top priority so as of this Tuesday our team at the Zen Agency will be going remote as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. In 2018 we were forced to work from home by ‘The beast from the east’ storm where we took to the internet and utilised digital tools to ensure it was business as usual for our clients and partners - two years on and we are just as dedicated to delivering exceptional digital experience for our clients through this uncertain time so if your business requires any digital guidance don't hesitate to get in touch.

With the developing threat of COVID-19 becoming more serious by the day Creative agencies around the world are taking increasingly drastic measures to ensure their teams can operate effectively while remaining safe. Many have turned to working remotely in order to minimise spread of the infection and are using a wide range of digital tools such as Slack, Skype and G-Suite to ensure their day to day projects aren’t impacted by the infection. The Coronavirus crisis has forced the industry to take actions to preserve their business and also raised questions like - How long will the restrictions last? How will this impact our agency long term? And What impact will this have at the client level?

Coronavirus is having a negative impact on almost every industry, however some have been hit harder than others with travel and tourism among the worst. In Asia for example flight bookings are down over 98%, large events and gatherings including the 2020 olympics in Tokyo have been canceled or postponed leading to billions in direct economic losses. Hundreds of events around the world have been moved to live streaming platforms like Twitch causing sponsors to shift their focus to streaming and therefore an unexpected spike in traffic has occurred on these platforms. Another industry among the hardest hit by the virus is retail. With an increasing number of people self isolating and the restrictions on large gatherings retail has seen a dramatic reduction in footfall across the board. Market research company eMarketer recently published a study that stated 47% of US consumers are currently avoiding shopping malls with a further 42% avoiding Movie theatres triggering Cineworld’s stock to drop by 71%.

The rising number of companies advising their employees to work remotely has caused an increase in the adoption of digital tools - one of them being Teleconferencing. This has provoked speculation that 5G may be adopted earlier than expected to improve communication efficiency and networking. This is also shining a light on the capabilities of online platforms like Microsoft teams, Slack and google hangouts which for many companies are acting as an adequate substitute for face-to-face engagement and business. This may change the working landscape for the creative industry in the future as it shows the extent that creatives can rely on digital tools to successfully run a business and has exposed how time is often misused and wasted in unnecessary meetings.

What are the long term effects on the industry?

Due to the speed which COVID-19 is spreading combined with the daily changes in industrial restrictions it's difficult to predict the effects which it will have on the creative industry. However we can assume Global media spend is no doubt likely to drop as the crisis slows economic growth. Digital research company eMarketer has published revised figures relating to China’s ad market (which is the second largest in the world) this may give an insight into the impact on how the rest of the world's markets might be affected. Chinese total ad spend estimates according to eMarketer will fall by $8.0 Billion to $113.7 Billion in 2020. If you would like to look at the complete study from eMarketer you can do so at: https://www.emarketer.com/content/the-biggest-business-impacts-of-the-coronavirus-pandemic-according-to-business-insider-intelligence.

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