“Without a strong connectivity infrastructure, this creative content would be much harder to come by – if it was even accessible at all. Innovators have been working for decades to deliver us stronger, faster, better broadband cellular networks.”
After a year of cancellations and postponements, awards season is here. The competition for the best in film, TV, and music is fierce: There are underdogs, there are crowd favorites, there are snubs, and there are critics’ darlings, but this year, the hero of the hardware isn’t one single piece. It’s the creative industry itself. The creative industry has overcome every obstacle – from shutdowns and funding squeezes to changing production regulations and new social norms – to keep us connected, protected, and informed throughout the pandemic.
Creative Industries Keep Us Connected
The creative sector has built and sustained community in the most trying times our world has faced in decades. Art and entertainment help us appreciate the similarities that unite us, and they help us understand and celebrate the differences that define our humanity. We’ve watched movies and TV shows, and listened to songs, that define our pandemic experience, instead of letting our pandemic experience define us.
One look at this year’s hottest awards nominees reminds us just how influential creative content can be. Hamilton’s message of immigrants excelling – not to mention its inclusive casting – has inspired so many to dream big and has prompted other to reconsider their perspectives of people who might look different than themselves. The Prom promotes gay rights and confronts homophobia, all with a comedic charm that keeps us wanting more. “Speak Now” from One Night in Miami gives us new lease on life. As artist Leslie Odom explains, the song implores us to “use everything you are given, to make a change and to make a difference right in this moment.”
Creative Industries Keep Us Protected
It’s clear this kind of connection is important, but it only works if it’s safe. When the pandemic upended traditional processes of creativity, creators didn’t panic – they pivoted. They adapted almost overnight to ensure their creations could reach the audiences who needed them without exposing anyone to COVID-19.
Again, we can draw from this year’s pool of awards nominees for all the example we need. Netflix partnered with The Brooklyn Museum to create a virtual costume exhibition, where visitors could take a guided tour of an immersive 360-degree, 3-D showcase of costume designs from The Crown. The cast of Schitt’s Creek stole the show in a Zoom-powered reunion to support frontline workers, helping raise more than CAD 6,000,000 in donations for Food Banks Canada.
Creative Industries Keep Us Informed
None of this work happened in a vacuum; since the beginning of the pandemic, creators have been using their platforms to keep us informed. Whether through their craft – for example, insisting all characters wear masks in new program recordings – or through other outlets – like timely, educational PSAs and social media blitzes – creators are doing everything they can to share knowledge and combat misinformation about COVID-19.
For instance, NBC launched a new website, PlanYourVaccine.com, that shows if you are eligible to receive the vaccine yet based on your location, age, occupation, and health risks, plus assists you in making a vaccination plan by identifying the closest vaccination locations to you. The U.S. Chamber also hosts a vaccine resource center with business-specific tools, like manager-employee conversation guides and workplace regulation explainers.
A Connectivity Infrastructure Makes it All Possible
Without a strong connectivity infrastructure, this creative content would be much harder to come by – if it was even accessible at all. Innovators have been working for decades to deliver us stronger, faster, better broadband cellular networks, and in 2020, we saw the advent of 5G.
Already, 5G-enabled job growth is forecasted to be greater than previously – up from 22.3 to 22.8 million jobs over the next 15 years. This growth will nourish every industry, not just the creative industry. For example, experts anticipate 5G to deliver 30% cost savings in the transition to remote-home based healthcare models. 5G also supports this year’s award shows’ live broadcast via dozens of streaming services. Thanks to 5G, viewers can be sure they won’t miss a thing.
Together, All of These Efforts Spark Growth
And the ripple effect reaches far and wide. The music industry accounts for more than $9 billion in U.S. exports. The movie industry employs 2.5 million people, paying more than $181 billion in wages annually. And, in 2019, the video game industry generated $90.3 billion in annual economic output in the United States.
That’s why it’s so important that we continue to support our creative industries, especially in the wake of COVID-19.
Fortunately, there are concreate steps lawmakers, regulators, and other stakeholders can take to help. In January, key stakeholders in the arts and entertainment industries gathered together to discuss those steps at a U.S. Chamber virtual event, Starring Role. Participants agreed that creative industries deserve new direct economic relief and new opportunities within the national recovery strategy.
In other words, this isn’t the final curtain call.