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Ideas Strategy2020-09-29

The Global Takeaway: September 2020

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The Takeaway is is a trend-reporting series on the unexpected and the unusual in culture, media, and tech.

In EMEA: Live Entertainment Reinvented

We may already be accustomed to virtual programming, but now, we’re seeing a gradual shift back to IRL entertainment in ways that continue to evolve and iterate.

In July, more than 5,000 artists and music venue owners wrote an open letter to the UK Cultural Secretary. It was part of the #LetTheMusicPlay campaign, an industry push to get more support from the government, given that the live entertainment industry has been the hardest hit by COVID-19. Despite a slow and staggered recovery, places like theatres, concert halls, and nightclubs will be the very last to reopen.

But desperation can drive innovation, and the entertainment industry is reinventing itself to meet the times. Drive-in entertainment, long considered outdated, can now serve as a safe haven across cinemas, comedy shows, and even raves. Large-scale venues are piloting ways to hold socially distant concerts, and in Germany, scientists have engineered an experiment to try to prevent COVID-19 from spreading at large indoor concerts, equipping attendees with trackers and fluorescent disinfectant.

Key Signals 

1) Sunset Cinema in West London has a drive-in film schedule out for all of September. There are also cycle-in cinemas across the UK.

2) The world-famous Berlin nightclub Berghain transformed their space into a museum showcasing local artists. 

3) Virgin Money Unity Arena, the UK’s “first socially distanced music venue,” held a Sam Fender concert in Newcastle, with all 2,500 tickets selling out in minutes. 

Why it matters 

Performance itself isn’t changing, but the entire ecosystem around it is. From production to spatial design, the industry is finding innovative ways to put on shows. Live entertainment can thrive in the new normal, providing advertisers with new opportunities to support an industry and artists fighting for their survival.

In APAC: Women in Gaming

Gaming was a hot topic prior to 2020, but COVID-19 restrictions have accelerated its growth. That increase is due in large part to its new role as a safe haven for play, socializing, and a much-needed sense of normalcy. But what many may not know is that women have become a huge catalyst for the gaming industry’s growth across APAC. Female gamers account for 39% of the gaming revenue supported by an increase in casual and mobile gaming (TWG). The number of female gamers in Asia is growing at a faster rate than that of male gamers, helping to level the playing field. In 2019, there were 1.33B total gamers, 38% of which were female (ThinkWithGoogle). With this growth in female players, it’s not surprising to see influencers like Sonneeta Thapa gain 2.5 million YouTube subscribers.

Women’s role in gaming isn’t just growing among players—it’s growing in game, as well. In 1986, Samus Aran of Metroid became the first lead female videogame character, but recent years have highlighted the need for more representative heroines. Characters like Aloy from Horizon Zero Dawn and Kassandra from Assassin’s Creed have enjoyed international acclaim, while updated customization options in popular genres like MMORPG’s have created in-game representation that helps drive out-of-game love.

Key Signals

1) “Sasha “Scarlett” Hostyn, a Starcraft II player who has garnered widespread acclaim for her accomplishments, was certified by the Guinness World Records as the highest-earning female professional player.

2) MAC Cosmetics collaborated with Tencent’s top mobile game “Honour of Kings,” which has a larger female than male following in China, by producing a collection of lipsticks based on heroines from the game.

3) In Asia, entire teams and leagues of female gamers are now making an impact on the world stage, including the Female Esports League, a regional gaming circuit to help boost female representation in esports.

Why it matters

Partnerships and ideas that leverage the diversifying gaming demographic across the APAC region are crucial to brand growth and differentiation. Retail brands can help integrate into mobile gaming experiences for this segment, while others could break new ground by supporting female gamers and influencers with growing audiences.