The Wuhan Coronavirus pandemic will change the world as we know it. During the course of the past few months, it has been made abundantly clear that the world to come will be vastly different than what has been before. Traditional ways of doing things will change radically and countries and business establishments around the world will be forced to make drastic changes in order to cope with the norms and restrictions that are expected to become a part and parcel of everyday life at least in the near future.
One area which is likely to suffer gravely are establishments such as theatres and multiplexes. The future of such business hangs in the balance. Under such circumstances, INOX appears to be suffering a meltdown.
In a scathing statement, INOX took great offence at Rising Sun Films for announcing the release of Amitabh Bachchan and Ayushmann Khurrana starrer Gulaba Sitabo directed by Shoojit Sircar on OTT platform Amazon Prime on June 12. It said, “INOX would like to express extreme displeasure and disappointment on an announcement made by a production house today, to release their movie directly on an OTT platform by skipping the theatrical window run. The decision of the production house to deviate from the globally prevalent content windowing practice is alarming and disconcerting.”
INOX stated further, “Such acts, though isolated, vitiate the atmosphere of mutual partnership and paint these content producers as fair weather friends rather than all-weather life-long partners. Needless to say, INOX will be constrained to examine its options, and reserves all rights, including taking retributive measures, in dealing with such fair-weather friends.” “INOX would like to reiterate that as the backbone of the cinematic value chain, this windowing pattern has done wonders in terms of revenues for the content creators and all other stakeholders, as it offers them the opportunity to extract the best from all available mediums, which include cinemas, OTT platforms as well as satellite,” it added.
The reaction, or overreaction from INOX, is understandable. There is great uncertainty over when theatres could even begin to operate safely without risking the spread of the virus. Under such circumstances, there is great opportunity for online streaming sites such as Netflix and Amazon Prime to cash in on the situation to provide a platform for the release of new movies. Netflix already does it and others might follow suit as well which might cripple the theatre industry. Under normal circumstances, it wouldn’t be a problem if online streaming sites ventured into the scene but in the age of the Coronavirus, when social distancing is the norm, it could gravely affected the theatre industry. And thus we have the INOX almost panicking.
It’s not merely the movie industry that is likely to witness a sea change in the post-Coronavirus world. Businesses, even the non-mainstream ones, are making changes to adapt themselves to the crisis. A strip club in Oregon, USA, the Lucky Devil Lounge was forced to make its way into the takeout-dining business. However, things weren’t going too well absent the strippers and the owner, in desperation, tweeted that the store would be sending out its dancers to deliver the food. It was meant to be a joke, until the tweet went viral.
Describing the event as a light bulb going off inside his head, the Lucky Devil incorporated a drive-through pole-dance show for carry-out orders, and food deliveries by dancers accompanied by bouncers to enforce social distancing. An additional 30 dollars was charged for each option while the food prices were kept the same. And soon, the business was booming. The dancers performed in face masks and hand gloves in scantily dressed clothing. It’s only one as of now but more and more strip clubs could take that route.
In the age of the Coronavirus, Work From Home (WFH) is gaining momentum as well. Companies in sectors where it can afford to have its employees work from their homes were forced to direct their employees to continue their services during the lockdown from the confines of their homes. Going forward, it could very well become a permanent feature as companies would be able to cut their costs by having their employees WFH as it would mean that the companies could afford to not rent as many properties as they have to as of now.
Recently, it was reported that Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey had told his employees through an email that they could WFH forever which means that employees will be able to WFH even after the pandemic is over, whenever that may be. Thus, Twitter became the first tech company to make WFH permanent for its employees. And it will come as no surprise to anyone if more companies join the bandwagon. Numerous companies in India as well are currently mulling over the decision as we speak.
The airline industry is another sector which has suffered great losses due to the pandemic and it is only to be expected that certain changes will be witnessed in the manner in which passengers travel as well. It is being reported that as part of the new normal, airports may have an outlet dedicated to selling personal protective equipment (PPE) to travellers. The PPE shops could open in all major airports. They will sell face masks, gloves, disposable goggles, coverall or gowns and sanitisers to passengers as people may be required to have PPE in order to fly.
These are only some of the changes that are to be expected in the post Coronavirus world. Although it’s early to say just yet the extent to which the world will change but it can be safely predicted that the new normal will not be anything like the normal of yesteryear. The Wuhan Coronavirus, in that aspect, is truly a history altering event that will change the world as we know it. Apart from altering the global world order, the changes will also be visible in mundane affairs of public life and people will experience these changes acutely in their everyday lives.