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NEW DELHI: In a sign of respite for Indian event and entertainment management companies, a survey has found that people are willing to step out of home with the government allowing functions with a ceiling of 100 people September onwards.

Conducted by ticketing site BookMyShow, the survey, Back to Out-of-Home Entertainment, found that 51% of entertainment enthusiasts are eager to attend live events, with 80% of such consumers willing to step out within 15-60 days of Unlock 4.0. The rest would prefer to step out after 60 days.

The survey was conducted in September among over 2,000 respondents aged 18 and above in 120 cities and towns of India.

In a survey conducted in June, BookMyShow had found that 54% of Indian movie buffs are eager to get back to cinemas within 15-90 days after the lockdown is lifted while the rest would prefer to step out after 90 days.

People in eastern India are most eager to step out, with 52% of consumers from the region wanting to catch live entertainment gigs as soon as Unlock 4.0 kickstarts. Overall, men are more than keener than women on steeping out for entertainment. 55% of people in their 20s want to step out sooner, with 53% eager to get out for live gigs within 60 days of the latest unlocking.

The pandemic has, without any doubt, created demand for specific logistics and arrangements. 77% of the respondents said they would prefer an outdoor spot or an open-air venue, 27% would go for bars, clubs or restaurants and 24% prefer indoor auditoriums. About 57% said they would want distinct seating possibilities, possibly to account for social distancing, 56% said they would prefer drive-in theatres or concerts while 29% would be okay with pre-defined markers to stand at a venue.

As far as safety measures go, 32% would want the staff to be adequately tested and certified as covid-negative, 30% were looking for seat sanitization, 27% for disinfectant tunnels and 26% for thermal scanners. 84% would prefer purchasing their event tickets online.

But food and beverage, a huge source of revenue for event organisers, remains a big challenge with 34% saying they would only want freshly prepared food while 46% would prefer buying F&B online and having it delivered to their seat or at a designated pick-up point.

To be sure, 53% of people are willing to pay more to have adequate safety and hygiene measures in place.

The enthusiasm of fans notwithstanding, the road ahead seems tough for the live entertainment industry given that the restrictive ceiling makes very few events possible, safety and hygiene protocols adding to costs by at least 30-40%, besides the fear and panic that people are already battling.

The organised events and activations industry is a 10,000 crore industry, according to an EY-EEMA (Event and Entertainment Management Association) report, the size of which with the unorganised segment included, could be as much as Rs. 5 trillion. The pandemic is expected to leave behind a hit of at least 70% on annual revenues.

“Given that there is continued uncertainty around the pandemic and the numbers speak for themselves, there is a need to be cautious and ensure that congregations of large groups especially at non-seated events are managed with adequate safety protocols," Albert Almeida, chief operating officer, live Entertainment, BookMyShow had said in an earlier interview to Mint.

Considering the limits on the number of people, most offerings across music, dance and comedy become economically non-viable unless hybrid models of live on-ground and virtual formats are able to work together, he had added.

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