THE local cinema industry, which has yet to fully reopen, has incurred about P21 billion in losses since the lockdown measures were placed last year.
This estimate, however, does not include the opportunity losses from supporting sectors like food stalls near the theaters, Cinema Exhibitors Association of the Philippines (CEAP) President Charmaine Bauzon said at a Laging Handa briefing on Monday.
Bauzon said the cinema industry has been reeling from the impact of the pandemic as mobility restrictions and lockdown measures have stopped the operations of the theaters and slowed down the film productions.
Some 336,000 workers are affected by the pandemic, she said, noting that half of these comprise those in the film production, including the directors, actors and production crew.
Others include 136,000 employees in the film distribution segment; 43,000 suppliers; and 7,000 ticket sellers, ushers, projectionist, housekeepers and security personnel.
The CEAP official said they hope the vaccination rollout, which can improve mobility, will allow cinemas to be reopened.
Earlier this month, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said that the Covid-19 Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) is studying the reopening of cinemas during Alert 3. Metro Manila is currently under Alert 4.
Based on the Alert Level System (ALS), cinemas are not allowed under Alert 3-5. But they are permitted at 50 percent and full capacity under Alerts 1 and 2, respectively.
“Kami po ay optimistic sa patuloy na pagbaba ng kaso…Yung maigting na pagbabakuna. Kami ay naniniwala na malapit na tayong magluwag ng alert level [We are optimistic about the continuous decline of cases and vaccination. We believe that soon the alert level will be eased],” she said.
She said that the public is excited to visit the cinemas again because watching big screens with friends or family provide a different viewing experience for the audience.
“It is an experience that cannot be replicated [by other] medium available right now,” she said.
The local creative industries in general hit a snag last year amid the lockdown measures, Creative Economy Council of the Philippines President Paolo Mercado had said earlier.
Apart from cinemas and theaters closing down, the tourism activities also were in slump, affecting the sales of related industries like handicrafts, he explained.
Mercado noted that the cinema-based film sector; performing arts, concerts and live events; and heritage sites and museums, folk arts and crafts lost about 85 percent to 90 percent of their revenues last year.
The television and radio incurred losses of over 50 percent while traditional advertising (TV, radio, print and outdoor) suffered 30 percent to 50 percent in lost income in 2020.
Last year, software, animation and game development; and digital marketing, digital advertising, web and graphic design lost around 20 percent to 30 percent of their cash inflow.