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Tara Lachapelle

How Covid-19 Is Changing Entertainment, in Five Charts

From Disney’s doldrums to mothballed movies and accelerated cord-cutting, here’s how the pandemic is upending the world of the big and small screens. 

Netflix is getting a lot more eyeballs under lockdown.

Netflix is getting a lot more eyeballs under lockdown.

Photographer: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images Europe

Investors are almost through the first coronavirus-wrecked earnings season, and the message from the leading entertainment companies is that things will get worse before they get better. If there's a silver lining, it may be that the pandemic is also providing a clearer picture of the future of entertainment consumption, and it substantiates the industry’s costly plans to go all-in on streaming platforms. 

The most telling number that came out of earnings in recent weeks was 91%. That’s how much net income plunged at Walt Disney Co., one of the most time-tested, resilient companies in the world. Regional lockdowns have taken aim at all of Disney’s core businesses, most notably its theme parks around the world, which have been closed to visitors for weeks. But the TV and film operations at Disney’s rivals are also hurting. In fact, Netflix Inc. is the only media giant that doesn’t have revenue tied to advertising, live sports or people leaving their houses, and it’s the only industry stock that's been left unscathed: