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Coronavirus Fear Could Cause Streaming Subscription Service Spike

Coronavirus

The coronavirus could have wide-reaching effects on restaurants, movie theaters, eCommerce and sporting events. Here are the latest updates on the coronavirus around the world.

Businesses are putting into place paid leave for staff who are under quarantine or reconsidering their sick time policies for hourly workers, CNBC reported. Walmart, in one case, has implemented a policy for emergency leave on the heels of a store associate in Kentucky having a positive result for the virus. Some hourly help at chains like Shake Shack have had paid sick time off, with firms offering the benefit as an incentive to bring in staff in a constricted labor market. And Chipotle Mexican Grill started to provide three paid sick days beginning on day one of employment in 2016.

Meanwhile, the congressional physician, Dr. Brian Monahan, said he foresees 70 million to 150 million individuals in the U.S. to get COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, CNBC reported. The number of cases boomed to over 1,030 in 36 states at a minimum over the past week. On Wednesday, the World Health Organization called the coronavirus a worldwide pandemic. The virus is reportedly decelerating in China, where it started late last year, but it is accelerating in other nations, per organization officials, as cited in the report.

In other news, Starbucks is providing baristas domestically who have had coronavirus exposure with “catastrophe pay,” CNBC reported. The president of the coffee chain’s U.S. company-operated business and Canada, Rossann Williams, said per the report, “I want you to know that here at Starbucks, you should never have to choose between work and taking care of yourself.” The coffee company will pay staff for a maximum of 14 days if they have received a coronavirus diagnosis, or if they have been exposed or had close contact with someone who has the virus. Additional pay may be used for a maximum of 26 weeks in the event staff still can’t come back to work.

On another note, the coronavirus is impacting the entertainment industry, with theaters shuttered in Italy as well as China, CNBC reported. Approximately 44 percent of adults in the U.S. said they would be against the temporary closure of cinemas; however, roughly 38 percent said they would be in favor of closings. The poll of 2,200 adults in the U.S. was held from March 5 to March 7. Analysts, as it stands, have already forecasted that the worldwide film industry is encountering a $5 billion loss.

In other news, the outbreak of the coronavirus could benefit new streaming offerings, CNBC reported. “If people are sitting at home, can’t go to the movies, and all you have to do is hit one button and it’s a tenth of the price of cable, why would this be bad for subscriber growth?” Rich Greenfield, a media analyst at LightShed, told the outlet. “All the streamers will benefit.” As it stands, Peacock, Quibi and HBO Max will be making their introductions from now until May.

Meanwhile, Apple said it is shuttering its 17 retail locations in Italy “until further notice” as activity in the nation is restricted by the coronavirus, Bloomberg reported. Apple noted in a statement per the report, “As we support the work to contain and manage the spread of COVID-19, our priority remains the health and safety of everyone in the communities we serve.” Apple didn’t specify when the stores would be in operation again.

In other news, with the occurrence of the coronavirus, Amazon is rolling out a $25 million relief fund for seasonal workers and delivery drivers, CNBC reported. The “Amazon Relief Fund” will assist staff “that are under financial distress during this challenging time,” as cited by the outlet. Amazon had previously eased its policy for attendance for staff in March who “work from an office, store, fulfillment center, delivery station or sort center.”

On another note, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte mandated that all stores aside from pharmacies and supermarkets shut down, Bloomberg reported. Restaurants and bars will not be open, but food delivery will still be available. In addition, an “emergency czar” will be put into place to take care of virus response coordination. The nation will also accelerate manufacturing of important medical supplies.

And, fans will not be able to attend the upcoming women’s and men’s basketball tournaments, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) announced, per CNBC. NCAA President Mark Emmert said, according to the outlet, “Based on their advice and my discussions with the NCAA Board of Governors, I have made the decision to conduct our upcoming championship events, including the Division I men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, with only essential staff and limited family attendance.”

As previously noted, the games were to go on, regardless if the doors are open to the general public, thus they were to be broadcasted as well as streamed.

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NEW PYMNTS DATA: HOW WE SHOP – SEPTEMBER 2020 

The How We Shop Report, a PYMNTS collaboration with PayPal, aims to understand how consumers of all ages and incomes are shifting to shopping and paying online in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our research builds on a series of studies conducted since March, surveying more than 16,000 consumers on how their shopping habits and payments preferences are changing as the crisis continues. This report focuses on our latest survey of 2,163 respondents and examines how their increased appetite for online commerce and digital touchless methods, such as QR codes, contactless cards and digital wallets, is poised to shape the post-pandemic economy.

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