By: Alyssa Hamm

A year ago, traditional entertainment as we know it shut down. Museums, zoos, and theme parks closed. Sports and concerts were without fans, postponed—or worse, cancelled. To say traditional entertainment advertisers have had to get creative in the past year would be an understatement.

Museums and zoos are now offering behind-the-scenes virtual experiences, musicians are selling tickets to virtual concerts, and sports teams are selling cutouts or offering virtual tickets to their events. While these innovations have helped with cabin fever, 47% of Americans have started to go back to some “normal activities,” despite the risk of COVID-19 because they “just want their life back.”

Over the course of 2020, we’ve learned more about the COVID-19 pandemic and ways to keep people safe while continuing to enjoy the entertainment we crave. There are some ways people can be safe and still attend live events. Masking has been a huge way for people to stay safe, with more than half of Americans saying that mandatory facemasks make them feel safer at a live-event. With 56% of Americans saying they miss attending events and 48% reporting cabin fever, it’s no surprise that people are looking for ways to stay entertained while keeping a social distance.

As restrictions are lifted and vaccines are rolled out, people will be looking to the entertainment industry to help them feel like their lives are back to normal. In the meantime, we will continue to find entertainment virtually.

Two big players in virtual entertainment are eSports, which grew almost 11% in 2020, and gaming. 26% of internet users in the U.S also say they’re spending more time playing computer or video games due to the pandemic.

As sellers, we will benefit from reaching out to traditional entertainment advertisers as the country begins to open again. We may also think about including gaming or eSports placements in our plans to reach those entertainment goers while they find entertainment online in the meantime. Here’s a rundown of our recommendations:

Gaming PMPs

  • ESPN – eSports/Gaming
  • Microsoft Casual Games
  • Twitch

Other Tactics to Use

  • Contextual – Online gaming, Video & Computer Games, Gaming Console Users, eSports & Gaming,
  • Hyperlocal –Target people while they are at a museum or event.
  • Run of Network – People are excited for entertainment opportunities over the next year, reaching a broad audience is a great way to find the audience without over targeting.

The bottom line? Talk to your entertainment advertisers and get a pulse for how they see the next year shaking out for their businesses. Find out if they are doing anything virtually or distanced, and if digital can help promote and sell tickets until entertainment as we know it is back.