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At this time we need to emotionally support and inspire the artists: Roshan Abbas

The gig worker in this economy is worried and out of work. They are thinking: do I create, do I look for grants, do I learn a new way to work, shares Abbas in this exclusive interview.

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Live industry has been reeling under the covid-19 impact and the cumulative loss to the events industry because of this pandemic is pegged  between Rs 3000-Rs 5000 in the short term.

With the lockdown getting extended, experts believe that the road to recovery will take months which means challenging times ahead for artists, curators and agencies associated with Live events.

In an interview with BW Applause and Everything Experiential, Roshan Abbas, Founder & MD Geometry Encompass and Founder, Kommune spoke about the covid-19 impact on the Live industry and the road ahead.

Excerpts:

How is the Live event industry braving the COVID-19 scourge? 

It seems to have come to a standstill initially, a Rs 3000 crore loss is estimated in the short term and Rs one trillion loss in the long term. Over 400 million people will be affected according to EEMA’s white paper. 

The event association organized a janta curfew concert to get people to stay indoors, now a regular set of seminars, chats, lectures are being done. Yet the largest part of the business is getting people together, the power of the assembly. And that is currently not an option for anyone. 

While many are looking at possible closure, a few are trying to survive on the basis of digital events, creative, content, and planning services.

Is the outbreak of coronavirus a turning point for premium live and content experiences? 

It will be a new normal once this settles. We will choose our engagements basis the need to be present. I remember Rajan Anandan, the ex-head of Google, saying three years ago that there will come a day when an attendee can watch an event from home virtually. That seems to be an option for sure. Also, we may choose to engage with the non-essential parts online and attend only the networking event or dinner.

People who can create transmedia properties will survive. Those who can learn engagement across a screen, and transfer emotion and energy will succeed. A new era of technologists and virtual planners and Zoom/Google hangout showrunners will emerge. 

Already Insider has integrated its app with Zoom. A new era of online and offline will begin. People will learn to pay for online events slowly, already a large digital audience is comfortable paying. But we must focus to make the experience unique. Those with reach, relevance or variety will win the battle. 

What was the inspiration behind the digital platform-StayINaLIVE?

The gig worker in this economy is worried and out of work. They are thinking: Do I create, do I look for grants, do I learn a new way to work. We were dipping our feet in a pond and now we have been thrown headfirst into the digital deep end.

 At this time we need to educate, emotionally support and inspire the artist and the world at large. We are hoping that over the next few months we can provide seminars, workshops, concerts, online shows and fundraising as ways to support our Community. Also, show them new ways of engaging people. In the long term post-COVID 19, we hope to make this a foundation that supports long term sustainable ideas for the live entertainment economy. 

A non-partisan universal body. That represents the folk artiste and the stand-up comedian, the village entertainer, and the session musician.  We hope to be a think tank and an advocacy group.



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