Thursday, May 27, 2021

The Situation of Media Production Industry in the Southeast Asian Countries After One Year of the Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented crisis, it shocked the industries and led to the immediate need to pause, cancel, or totally stop operations to help respective governments in fighting and stopping the spread of the virus. When it comes to media productions, there is a need for extensive planning to not compromise the budget allotted to a project. Unexpected cancellation is very damaging, not only to the budget, but also jobs and well prepared plans. It is very heartbreaking not only to producers but also to passionate and hardworking people in the industry. Throughout the second quarter of the pandemic where everyone doesn't know what will happen to their livelihood, every internal media agency in every country releases mandates and strict guidelines in continuing productions. But after 1 year of the pandemic, what are the updates and situations of media productions in some countries in Southeast Asia? And what is their take about the new normal?

In Malaysia, international companies like China’s Base Media that have offices in the country, needed to lay off workers as a result of the pandemic, leading to the continuous closing of big production companies. But some of the local companies that have projects in movies, TV series, documentaries, animation, and music production are the ones allowed to continue production, but only in the vicinity of their studios.

Because of the never ending high percentage of Filipino people infected by the virus in the Philippines, the film agency has strict guidelines on how productions should operate whether what kind of project it is. So far, lock in shoots of TV Series, TV Shows, and Advertisements can cope up with the guidelines. Lock-in film productions are present but it is minimal and only a few counted setups – unlike the usual productions before the pandemic. One article stated the insights of a producer about the situation of the film industry; that it is in survival mode.

However, Thailand and Singapore have improved the situation of their media industry. After one year, news about the investments of Singapore to international media companies are spreading. In Thailand, there is a lineup of finished projects shot in their country for this year.

We cannot deny the fact that the situations and mandates for safety overwhelms the media workers and frustrates people in considering the rules. Media practitioners know how to cooperate and follow mandates, it is up to experts and professionals to self-regulate themselves and their colleagues. One thing is for sure, no pandemic can stop passionate media practitioners in creating great content.


Edward Quijano

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