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Why we need to be prepared for when we can press the ‘play’ button again

Pink Key Licensing’s Richard Pink on how our craving for normality could see a demand for licensed goods the like of which we have seldom seen.

‘COVID-19: The Movie’ – it’s a film no one wants to see… terrible reviews on Rotten Tomatoes… absolute stinker for anyone in it… straight to DVD and in the bargain bin hopefully in a few months. A Hollywood blockbuster it ain’t.

But currently it’s the only movie playing; all the good ones have been delayed, and for someone who’s a Bond fan, the delayed opening of No Time To Die is a particular disappointment. But then in the words of Bruce Hornsby ‘That’s just the way it is’ (one for the teenagers).

So here we all are stuck together in ‘Nofunsville’. One of the questions being asked is what the impact will be on our industry due to the delays in films like Minions, Mulan and Mr Bond’s latest outing. My view, for what it’s worth, is that we’ve pressed the ‘pause’ button.

‘Normality’ has been temporarily removed from the screen and another film is playing. I guess we all wish we could press the fast forward button so we could skip through it, but unfortunately it’s not possible.

When we can put ‘normality’ back on the screen, what impact will that have? My own view is that the appetite for film and TV entertainment – and the promotional activity around it – will be very much in demand, a bit like drinking a gallon of water at an oasis.

It’s looking like we’ll have been a bit starved of new content. You only have to look at what people are doing on social media, creating their own content, to realise that we, as consumers, crave new content. So when the barriers are lifted and these films are re-started and released, I think it’s likely they’ll be a massive upsurge in the demand, not only for the films themselves but all the peripheral activity around them.

In truth, I think the craving for normality is going to see a demand for licensed goods the like of which we have seldom seen. People will want to be entertained, to reward themselves, to have and do the things that they have been prevented from doing.

I’m not saying for one minute that the demand will in anyway compensate for this ‘paused’ period, but I think it’s a case of belief and holding your nerve.

To quote yet another film, in the words of Robert Duval in Apocalypse Now, ‘Someday this war’s gonna end’ and when it does I think we all might be a little bit kinder, we might all take things a little less for granted, but I also think that this ‘downtime’ is going to do nothing to curb our appetite for the things we love to do.

A movie release is going to be a very special event in these circumstances and there are some that are currently on ‘pause’ that will be first to market when C19 is on its way out. The partnerships and promotions around them will be very important.

Of course, we all have to deal with the current situation the best way we can, but part of doing that is getting ourselves prepared for when we press the ‘play’ button again.

Stay safe everyone.

Richard Pink is md of boutique licensing agency, Pink Key Licensing. He can be contacted on richard@pinkkey.co.uk.

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