In the Variety & IndieWire Streaming Room presented by Vuulr, entertainment executives from Neon, IFC, Pops, Vuulr and Struum joined IndieWire executive editor Eric Kohn to discuss how the pandemic has shifted the industry, why audiences are moving to digital viewing and how companies are adapting to that change.

Panelists included Elissa Federoff, the president of distribution for Neon; Arianna Bocco, president of IFC films; Marissa Hanafi, head of OTT for Pops; Thomas Hughes, CEO for Americas of Vuulr; and Lauren DeVillier, co-founder and CEO of Struum.

“When the shutdown happened, we quickly decided to lean into continuing to release films because audiences didn’t go away, they just changed how they were watching films,” Bocco said. “And so if we figured out ways to reach them not in theaters, and we were able to take away the reliance on theatrical grosses and move it into other platforms, then we could still have successful releases.”

Before the pandemic, Neon was riding a high from “Parasite” and “Portrait of a Lady on Fire.” The company, which released “Shirley” and “Spaceship Earth,” among other films, during the pandemic, continued the momentum by adapting its release strategy.

“Not everything is a one size fits all type of release, so we’ve been releasing things day and date, with shortened windows, with 180-day theatrical windows,” Federoff said. “And we’ve all worked at companies where we’ve done the same thing, so the pivot wasn’t alarming for us.”

DeVillier was working at Discovery, while her co-founer Eugene Liew was at Disney Plus. Using their experience at big brands, they started Struum to capture the “next tier” of content not owned by the “Big Five” — Netflix, Disney, Hulu, HBO and Amazon.

“We had worked for so many big brands between the two of us, and there was all this other content that was out there that we felt like people couldn’t find,” DeVillier said. “There are almost 300 services in the U.S. alone that have fantastic content, but it’s the big five that are owning the market… We’re that front porch into all of those services.”