SG News (Straits Times)

Coronavirus: Cinemas here stay open, turn to new ways to sustain business

By March 21, 2020 No Comments
Golden Village said new titles will still be released in the coming weeks.

Golden Village said new titles will still be released in the coming weeks.

SINGAPORE (THE NEW PAPER) – Movie theatres worldwide are being shut down, but the show is going on for local cinema chains.

Golden Village, Shaw Theatres, Cathay Cineplexes and The Projector told The New Paper they remain open amid the Covid-19 outbreak and have no plans to cease operations for now.

And with every tentpole summer blockbuster – No Time To Die, Mulan, Fast & Furious 9, A Quiet Place Part II and most recently Black Widow – postponing its release dates, cinemas here have come up with new ways to draw audiences and sustain their business.

A Golden Village spokesman said new titles will still be released in the coming weeks – including Guns Akimbo starring Daniel Radcliffe, Japanese thriller A.I. Amok and Thai rom-com Low Season – and it has re-released a trio of Korean zombie films.

It will also be bringing back older Hollywood movies – like Mile 22, 21 Bridges and Midway – at GVmax for $5 and curating thematic event screenings for families, singles and dedicated film buffs.

Shaw Theatres and Cathay Cineplexes are reviewing their programming and turning to their own titles to bolster their line-up.

New measures have also been added in line with the Ministry of Health’s social distancing guidelines. Golden Village and Shaw Theatres have implemented compulsory seat gaps between patrons to ensure they are at least one metre apart.

Shaw Theatres has also reduced some sessions so that more time can be allocated between screenings for thorough cleaning of the halls.

While cinemas struggle to retain audiences, home-viewing platforms have enjoyed a spike in demand.

WATCHING FOR LONGER

Streaming service HBO GO said subscriptions rose by over 40 per cent since the start of Covid-19 and viewers are watching for longer periods of time, by around 10 per cent more.

 
 
 

The 2011 Hollywood virus movie Contagion has also been trending on HBO GO, with a viewership increase of more than 500 per cent.

Cable TV channels have enjoyed a boost too, with HBO and Warner TV rising by 56 per cent and 36 per cent respectively.

Meanwhile, StarHub launched its new StarHub HomeHub Plus service which boasts over 90,000 hours of shows on StarHub Entertainment and Netflix. It also offers Amazon Prime membership, which allows one to enjoy Amazon’s shopping and entertainment options.

And following the recent unveiling of its StarHub Cares Covid-19 Fund and community support initiatives, StarHub is rolling out measures to enable customers to stay connected with family, friends and colleagues and find entertainment options easily and with peace of mind.

StarHub’s help measures for customers include free unlimited mobile talktime for healthcare professionals, free preview and video streaming on StarHub Go for everyone and significant discounts on remote work solutions.

Mr Yann Courqueux, vice-president of Home Product at StarHub, said: “We are seeing positive response to our recent launches, and we expect customer interest to grow further.”

 
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