Analysis: Entertainment sector will hot up in 2021

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The media and entertainment industry has been the lead player in its own disaster movie with both heroes and victims as the Covid pandemic was felt across the globe. But it will bounce back stronger than before, says accountants Mercer & Hole.

Mercer & Hole points to four areas to watch in 2021.

Fierce bidding for strong storylines

Authors, scriptwriters and screenwriters have not been sitting idly during the global pandemic, seeing inspiration in history written before our eyes. 2021 will, says Andy Turner, Partner at Mercer & Hole, see strong story ideas emerge with fierce competition between Hollywood, TV and streaming services for the best.

“The demand for content is growing at a phenomenal rate, driven primarily by streaming services. And whilst Covid, Brexit and the US presidential election will provide strong themes for writers, we can expect more unusual and quirky storylines emerging, and lots of them. Bidding for the strongest story lines will be fierce, making it a good time to be a writer.”

Cinema turns to bankable blockbusters

Bankable blockbusters have been in short supply in 2021 leaving cinemas closing doors with questions asked over whether they will ever reopen, says Andy Turner.

“2020 summer releases have seen disappointing takings, with studios looking to release direct to streaming platforms. But cinema should not be written off yet. Blockbuster releases are big earners that simply cannot be replicated direct to streaming, and Hollywood studies will look to jealously protect those revenues. 2021 will see the return of much anticipated movie franchises and those will underpin the smaller and arthouse releases. We can also expect to see the return of the disaster movie genre.”

Theatre – it’s not behind you

Theatres have had to close doors for much of 2020, and with many regions remaining in Tier 3, regional theatres will continue to struggle. But it is far from the final curtain call for our theatres, says Andy Turner.

“Our love affair with a West End Show, the Christmas panto, Shakespeare and Broadway musicals remains strong. Theatre has survived global crises for centuries and will return with the same passions it has always inspired. A matinee show and a night at the theatre will remain a welcomed treat and diversion from the past 12 months.”

Old favourites will prop up terrestrial TV

Streaming services will continue to eat away at terrestrial broadcasters’ share of eyeballs, but old favourites will keep viewers happy, says Andy Turner.

“Shows like I’m a Celebrity, Bake Off, Eastenders, Strictly and Coronation Street continue to be firm favourites attracting old and new viewers and with-it strong advertising revenues. Daytime schedules will, however, need to change to meet the strong content from streaming services. Poor quality programmes and old repeats will disappear.”


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