Series Mania monitors as Coronavirus continues to hit Europe

Series Mania organisers are continuing to monitor the ongoing impact of Coronavirus in France, while broadcasters and streamers across Europe have been amending their offerings in response to the spread of the illness.

French authorities expanded its ban on public gatherings to include groups of more than 1,000 people – down from 5,000 – on Sunday, prompting concerns that the annual Lille-based drama-skewing event could be cancelled.

Officials behind Series Mania, which includes both the three-day Forum and the week-long Festival, are yet to comment following the latest developments but continue to closely monitor the situation. The Series Mania Festival, which includes a raft of screenings, is due to start 20 March.

It is unclear how long France’s ‘public gathering’ restrictions will remain in place, but the ban is at present set to last until at least 15 April, having been moved from an initial date of 31 May.

Last week, Series Mania organisers confirmed that a raft of hygiene and information measures were in place to ensure the event could go ahead as planned. These include the provision of hand sanitizers across all festival locations, “reinforced cleaning schedules” across all festival locations, special notices relating recommended hygiene practices, and additional training for staff.

Industry impacted as Italy adapts

Numerous events have already been cancelled or postponed as Coronavirus impacts markets and conferences both in Europe and around the world. Austin-based SXSW and Cabsat in Dubai have both been affected, while Reed Midem cancelled MIPTV in Cannes last week.

Industry launches have also been affected, with Disney calling off its European event for Disney+ and Quibi yesterday confirming to Variety that its April 5 launch party in Culver City, California, would be scrapped. The streamer is due to go live on 6 April.

Rai also confirmed it was not moving ahead with Cartoons on the Bay, which had been due to take place in Pescara, Italy between April 2-5.

The Italian broadcaster has now unveiled plans to offer more programming for kids, following the government’s decision to put the entire country on lock-down after more than 9,000 cases were reported.

Italy has been the most affected European country to be hit by Coronavirus to date, with schools now closed until 3 April. As a result, Rai2 is expanding the number of slots for kids-skewing shows and increasing educational fare on Rai Yoyo and Rai Gulp.

Amazon, meanwhile, said yesterday it would make its Prime Video service available for free for customers living in the Lombardy region, one of the most affected parts of the country.

* This article has been amended since publication.

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