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Audio-visual industry suffers as production slows

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THE Philippine audio-visual industry is facing liquidity problems as a result of lower production activity and suspended cinema operations amid the lockdown.

Film Development Council of the Philippines Chairperson Mary Liza Diño-Seguerra said in a webinar with the Trade department on Wednesday that 80% of Philippine motion picture revenues come from cinemas.

“We can just imagine the current difficulty in the liquidity of our production companies. As it is, they are already adjusting their schedules by cancelling and delaying the release of their films,” she said.

She said that releases are now focused on canned films, or already-finished products.

Ms. Diño-Seguerra explained the Philippine film and television industries are competing with streaming companies like Netflix.

“The good thing about this new status quo is that it would force all platforms, whether traditional, alternative or specialized, in multiplying their content to differentiate themselves and maintain their competitiveness,” she said.

Streaming services, she said, are meeting increased demand for content while more people stay at home during the crisis. She said that this is an opportunity for the Philippines to create content for streaming platforms.

“Convergence must happen. While we are continuing to connect with the big streamers to partner in providing finished audio-visual streaming content that we already have, we must also now be creative in finding ways to still produce content within the parameters of the COVID-19 environment we are living in,” Ms. Diño-Seguerra said.

She said hybrid content is the future of the audio-visual industry.

“How can live action, animation, gaming, and computer graphics — which is already being done in other countries — can be applied here in the Philippines? These typically separated sectors will have to collaborate to meet the demand of an aggressive market relentlessly looking for fresh content,” she said.

Production has started some reopening after lockdown restrictions were relaxed, she said.

Trade Undersecretary Rafaelita M. Aldaba in the same webinar said that Philippine online searches for content like animation and streaming increased during the lockdown. She said content producers are able to reach more markets through digital distribution.

“There are also another observation and that’s the democratization of content production due to technological advancements — so we’re now seeing small content producers and even ordinary internet users who are creating content through short films, vlogs, Facebook live, and so on,” she said. — Jenina P. Ibañez





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