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The Effect of COVID-19 on the Entertainment Industry

Almost a year ago now, the pandemic outbreak disrupted the worldwide entertainment industry – and in particular, film and television production. Similar to the US, European audio-visual productions were halted, movie theaters were closed, events, premieres and entire marketing and distribution campaigns were postponed or cancelled.

Cinemas across the European Union saw a 69.0 % drop in box office numbers in 2020, accounting for a total decrease of €4 billion in revenues compared to 20191. With movie theaters on the brink of bankruptcy, postponed productions with huge increases in costs (in part due to COVID-19 safety measures), and a consumer attitude that shifted rapidly to online content consumption, the old business models will probably disappear even faster than anticipated.

In order to combat the negative effects of the crisis, the European Union (EU) stepped in with various programs to support the cultural and creative sectors, as well as artists in all of its Member States.

The EU Programs supporting the Industry

a) Creative Europe MEDIA

The main EU instrument to help the entertainment industry is the MEDIA sub-program of Creative Europe2. The program3 was implemented to provide support and funding opportunities for film and TV projects, cinema networks, film festivals, audience development, training measures for audiovisual professionals, access to markets, distribution, video game development, online distribution, and international co-production funds.

As the COVID-19 pandemic had a particularly disruptive effect on the cultural and creative sectors in Europe, thus severely affecting their capacity to attract funding, the EU has stepped up its financing for the Creative Europe program. For 2021-2027, the planned budget for the whole Creative Europe program will be €2.4 billion, an 80% increase compared to the previous period (i.e., 2014-2020), of which €1.4 billion will be devoted to its MEDIA sub-program4.

b) Recovery and Resilience Facility

The EU

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