COVID-19 Impacts on Entertainment (2)

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COVID-19 Impacts on Film and Movie Theaters - Japan

Due to COVID-19, film and movie theaters in Japan were forced to close temporarily, refund tickets bought in advance by its customers, and even enforce interval seating arrangements inside the cinemas. In addition, film festivals, movie releases, cinema previews, whether big or small, were either postponed or canceled.


  • 79.82% of the amusement services industry is affected by COVID-19 in Japan.
  • Due to COVID-19, Japan Box Office is down by 73% versus the same period last year.

Ticket Refund

  • Toho Cinema allowed refunds to advance ticket buyers. Tickets may be refunded right up before screening time.
  • Shochiku also began offering refunds to cinema-goers starting from the last week of February 2020 for their more than 20 branches. Details of the refund process are on their website.
  • Aeon Cinema also refunded tickets bought in advance. Customers must contact the cinema before the start of the screening for the process.
  • Other cinemas who offered refunds to their customers include: Theatre Cinemas Group Human Trust Cinema Yurakucho & Shibuya, Theater Shinjuku, Cine Libre Ikebukuro, Kineka Omori, Shintokorozawa Let's Cine Park, Theater Umeda, Cine Libre Umeda, Cine Libre Kobe Implementation, Shinjuku Musashinokan and Shinjuku Cinema Karit, Cinemart Shinjuku and Cinemamart Shinsaibashi.

Cancellation of Events

  • The largest film festival in Western Japan, the Osaka Asian Film Festival, scheduled for March 6-15, canceled all stage introductions and related events.
  • Relatively smaller festivals like Onomichi Film Festival (Feb. 28 – March 1), Kitakan Film Festival (Feb. 29), Eejanaika Toyohashi Cinema Festival (March 13-15), and AnimeJapan 2020 (March 21-24), also canceled their event.
  • Movix Kyoto Dolby Cinema premiere of "Fukushima 50", an action drama movie about Japan's nuclear meltdown in 2011, by Kodokawa Pictures, did not push through.
  • "Harley Quinn's Brilliant Awakening Birds of Prey" Dolby Cinema preview on March 5 was canceled.

Postponing of Film Releases and Festivals

  • Toho pulled out of the release of its biggest anime franchise installment, "Doraemon the Movie: Nobita's New Dinosaur."
  • The 28th PreCure Feature Film, a film encouraging children in the audience to participate through dancing, slated for release on March 20, was postponed. A new date will be released once the public health situation is fully assessed.
  • The 14th Toho Cinema Student Film Festival scheduled March 27 will also be delayed.
  • Even global distributors postponed releases even though spring breaks are usually peak months. Some movies affected were Disney's "Mulan," Paramount's "Sonic the Hedgehog," Pixar's "Onward," Greta Gerwig’s “Little Women” and "No Time to Die" of James Bond.

Temporary Closure

  • Aeon Cinema announced the temporary closure of its nine theaters in Hokkaido and other infected areas starting March 7 – 15.
  • Large and small theaters across the country are also either temporarily or totally closing during the crisis.
  • Other movie theaters who announced temporary closures were United Cinema Sapporo, Dinos Cinemas Tomakomai and Dinos Cinemas Asahikawa, Iwanami Hall, and Waseda Shochiku.

Social Distancing

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COVID-19 Impacts on Film and Movie Theaters - China

COVID-19 is having a major impact on the profitability and makeup of the Chinese film industry. Movie theatres, studios, and production companies have been forced to close for extended periods of time, leading to lost profits, movie delays and cancellations, and an increasing reliance on streaming services to get content to consumers.

COVID-19’s Impact on Chinese Movie Theatres

COVID-19’s Impact on Movie Studios and Production Companies

COVID-19’s Impact on Digital Releases

Research Strategy

This is a rapidly evolving and somewhat unprecedented situation. COVID-19’s full impact on the industry will probably not be known for many months, and we still do not know for certain which of these industry changes will be temporary, and which will become more permanent.

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COVID-19 Impacts on Film and Movie Theaters -Singapore

The COVID-19 pandemic has heavily impacted Singapore’s movie and theater industry. The country closed all entertainment outlets, such as theaters, for a month, a move aimed at curbing the spread of the disease. Impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the movie and theater segment in Singapore include financial and job losses, government’s precautionary measures, and digitization of live event type work.

Financial and job losses

  • Thousands of people have been affected by the changes, and approximately $18.6 million has been lost through the process. As a result, many people are affected, and more than three thousand others lost their jobs initially.

Government’s precautionary measures

  • The government had earlier set aside $1.6 million to enhance skills and talents for art groups and to ease their expenses.
  • Eligible freelancers in the theater industry will get $1000 from $1.2 billion kitties set aside by the Self-Employed Person Income Relief Scheme.


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COVID-19 Impacts on TV, Music, and Live Events - Japan

Music shows have been canceled by renowned music artists, including Ari Lennox, Tom Walker, Nell, Temples, Brooke Candy, Kim Hyun-Joong, and Mac DeMarco and about 95% of live performers in Japan are affected due to coronavirus pneumonia outbreak.


  • The significant impact on the television segment as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic is the postponement or cancellation of TV shows.
  • Veteran Japanese comic actor, Ken Shimura is tested positive for the novel coronavirus. The actor is best known for his television show, Shimura Ken no Bakatono-sama. The production on TV shows featuring the actor has been postponed until the situation stabilizes.


  • The live music industry in Japan has taken a massive hit due to the coronavirus outbreak as the government has asked the promoters and venues to refrain from going ahead with events and concerts.
  • Due to the global spread of the virus, some domestic and international artists have stopped their music concerts in Japan.
  • The live music clubs emerge as new coronavirus transmission sites in Japan. Out of the total 55 cases, 49 cases are linked to four small music venues. Thus, government authorities have focused on stopping large gatherings at the music clubs.
  • Many artists, including Ari Lennox, Tom Walker, Nell, Temples, Brooke Candy, Kim Hyun-Joong, and Mac DeMarco have canceled their music shows in Japan.
  • J-Pop Trio Perfume, a music band, which was supposed to perform on February 25, 2020, at Tokyo Dome, was asked to cancel the show on the same evening. The situation presents the biggest challenge for Japan’s live-music industry.
  • The National has canceled two upcoming music concerts that are going to be held in Tokyo because negative concerns about the spread of coronavirus are expected to mount.
  • Japan identifies 15 infection clusters, mostly from music venues in Osaka. The number of foreign visitors, including international artists, decreased by 58.3 % in February 2020 because of travel restrictions.
  • As of 2018, the total revenues of the music industry were estimated to be $7 billion, with international artists generates 20-25% of revenue.
  • Travel bans for international artists and decreased tourism have negatively impacted the music industry in Japan.
  • To control the sentiments of people, music groups such as LDH JAPAN has taken the initiative, where 40 of its artists' live concert footage is available for streaming on its official YouTube channel free of charge for a limited time until the end of the March.

Live Events

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COVID-19 Impacts on TV, Music, and Live Events - China

The television, music, and live event sectors of China's entertainment industry have all been impacted significantly by the corona virus pandemic. Television providers have changed their offerings and streaming options, as shows are popular ways to mitigate quarantine-induced boredom. Concerts have been canceled across the country, and many musicians are moving to live-streaming performances and practice sessions. Live entertainment events and large gatherings have been canceled or postponed across China; this is particularly true of sporting events which do not have the ability to move online.

Changes to Television Programming Genres

  • In January, Chinese television regulators issued contradictory statements about prioritized television programming. Initially, regulators asked several major copyright owners to donate the rights for television dramas so that they could be shown in Wuhan and Hubei during quarantine. A few days later, regulators announced that they would be promoting country-wide news programming rather than entertainment.
  • About 1,000 hours of television and radio shows are being aired for free across the country between February and the end of August. In many cases, the viewing rights were donated by copyright owners due to corona virus.
  • There are concerns that Chinese State outlets (both print and television) may be underreporting the impacts of corona virus on the country. These concerns have instigated considerable dissent among Chinese citizens, including through references to the TV show "Chernobyl," which has enjoyed a surge in popularity.
  • 36% of Chinese citizens say they have been watching the news more frequently, while 17% have been watching more TV in general.

Music & Television Moving Online

  • With many celebrities forced to stay at home and live events canceled, Bilibili and Strawberry Music Festival are presenting replays of concerts, live streams of artists participating in stay-at-home activities, and messages from acts. This content on Bilibili had 480,000 viewers at one time in February, and its bullet chatting feature allows for more audience interaction and community-building than can be found on some other platforms.
  • Huanxi Media and ByteDance collaborated to release "certain new films and drama series" on the ByteDance platform. The ability to live stream free movies and shows has significantly boosted the popularity of both companies, although it has also caused controversy with other Chinese television and video streaming outlets.
  • Overall, 31% of Chinese citizens say they have been spending more time streaming TV shows and movies. 59% would be willing to live stream concerts if artists are unable to perform live.
  • Some artists are making an effort to reach out to isolated fans by sharing all stages of their music creation process. Zhao Cong, based in Beijing, is a pioneer of this effort, encouraging artists to live stream practice sessions on Bilibili (a video sharing app) and eventually upload more polished recordings to YouTube.
  • Clubs, including Shanghai-based TAXX, have been creating live broadcasts and encouraging audience interaction. Audiences seem to enjoy these online music sets, but the tips are not always lucrative enough for clubs to pay the bills. Clubs and other music venues are now slowly beginning to reopen (as of mid-March) and are seeing an influx of patrons after long quarantine periods.

Concert Postponements and Cancellations

  • Concerts and festivals across China have been canceled, due both to prohibitions on gatherings and to transportation and logistical concerns. A wide range of artists have canceled or postponed shows ranging in original date from January 31st through April 23rd.
  • Due to corona virus restrictions, about 20,000 concerts originally scheduled to take place in China and Hong Kong during January, February, or March have been postponed.

Live Event Cancellations & Moves to Virtual Platforms

  • Many live entertainment clubs and venues are pondering different ways to move their events online. Some, like ALL and Elevator (both based in Shanghai) have created marathon recordings, live streams, or replays of regular acts. Others, such as Yuyintang (also in Shanghai) are considering creating ticketed online shows.
  • In January, shortly after quarantine orders took effect, the Spring Festival Gala was aired on television and online. The televised version attracted 589 million viewers; the online stream had 1.12 billion people watching.
  • A wide variety of live sporting events scheduled to take place in China this spring were canceled or significantly postponed. This includes all Chinese Football Association soccer games; the World Athletics Indoor Championships; the PGA Tour Series — China; and Alpine Ski World Cup races.
  • The Chinese Grand Prix Formula One race was canceled; this likely cost Formula One a total of about $38.2 million between hosting fees and logistics.
  • By the middle of February, trade shows, conventions, and other gatherings were being canceled across China. While some of these events were industry-specific and not part of the entertainment sector, others included art shows, e-sports events, and other public gatherings.
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COVID-19 Impacts on TV, Music, and Live Events - Singapore

Three examples of impacts or changes in the television, music, and live event segments of the entertainment industry in Singapore as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic include the cancellation or postponement of live music events and disrupted television entertainment programming. Detailed information is below.

Postponement or Cancellation of Live Music Events

  • One impact in the live event segment of the entertainment industry in Singapore as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic is the postponement or cancellation of live events. Several large-scale events such as concerts have been postponed or canceled since the spread of COVID-19 began. This is to comply with the advice from the Ministry of Health in Singapore to cancel or defer non-essential large-scale events.
  • For example, the British musician Stormzy was supposed to perform at the Zouk, Raffles Place in Singapore on March 21, 2020, as part of his Asian leg of the H.I.T.H World Tour, but the live event was postponed to November 12, 2020, due to the current COVID-19 situation and the measures put in place by the government to contain the virus, such as closing music event venues that host many people. Those who had purchased tickets will be allowed to attend the event in November.
  • Also, the global K-pop group GOT7 was supposed to perform live at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on February 22, as part of their 2020 World Tour, Keep Spinning. However, the event was postponed to a later date that will be announced.
  • The other example is the music group 98 degrees which postponed its February 17 live performance at The Star Theatre in Singapore due to the COVID-19 virus to May 19.
  • The Vengaboys Dutch quartet music group was also supposed to perform at the Marquee Singapore on April 9, 2020. However, the event has been canceled as the Marquee Singapore suspended operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Purchased tickets will be refunded.
  • A live performance by the Scottish-born, Manchester-bred music artist Tom Walker at *SCAPE The Ground Theatre on March 20, 2020, was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Disrupted TV Programming

  • Another impact in the television segment of the entertainment industry in Singapore as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic is a disruption in television programming.
  • For example, local telcos have had to wrestle with disrupted sports TV programming due to the suspension of big sports entertainment events such as the English Premier League in the UK and La Liga in Spain.
  • Television stations in Singapore have been forced to air re-runs of entertainment events. For example, Singtel and StarHub have not aired live La Liga matches, the English Premier League, the National Basketball Association games, tennis, or Formula One races in recent weeks.
  • Disrupted TV programming has impacted subscriptions in the TV entertainment segment in Singapore. For example, subscribers pay a monthly fee of $49.90 for Singtel Sports Plus and a monthly fee of $29.90 for StarHub's Sports Pass. StarHub and Singtel have admitted to having no plans to refund the fee paid by customers despite the fact that most of what customers paid for is unavailable to watch.

Closure of Live Entertainment Venues to Affect Sales

  • Singapore closed all entertainment venues from March 26 to contain the spread of COVID-19. According to the Singapore Business Review, this measure is a threat to the economy as it will "hurt consumer spending and push the nation closer to a recession."
  • According to the managing director of Magic Carpet Lounge, live entertainment venue closures will lead to reduced sales and financial losses but he preferred being safe than sorry. He added that live entertainment venues needed help from landlords to waive rent due to the current economic situation, failure to which live entertainment venues companies will be forced out of business.
  • The government's safe distancing measures are stricter and aim to hugely reduce "the risks of seeding new local COVID-19 clusters, which could strain our healthcare system further. The measures include the suspension of events with over 250 people.


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