With COVID-19 stress, media companies now offer relaxing content

With the heightened stress during this pandemic, media companies and content producers here and abroad are creating products to help users cope with anxiety.

The popular meditation app Calm will be made into its own television show. Streaming platform HBO Max is partnering with Calm for a series based on the app’s popular Sleep Stories

HBO Max has ordered 10 episodes of A World of Calm, a show that will feature celebrities – the likes of Nicole Kidman, Idris Elba, and Keanu Reeves – as narrators. It's supposed to make users fall asleep while watching it.

"With the considerable amount of stress and chaos we are all experiencing at this particularly challenging time, we could all use a bit of guided relaxation, and A World of Calm is here to help…. With soothing imagery and tranquil narration, this is one HBO Max original that we hope becomes part of your daily routine,” said Jennifer O'Connell, HBO Max executive Vice President for non-fiction and kids programming.

A week ago, on July 20, Snapchat launched its first mini-app, an in-app meditation experience, with Headspace.

Citing its research, Snapchat said its users feel high levels of anxiety, depression, and stress, among others.

In the Philippines, data from Spotify show that the most popular podcast as of posting is Sleeping Pill with Inka, the country’s first meditation and autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) podcast, hosted by professional voiceover artist Inka Magnaye.

Also on Spotify Philippines’ list of trending podcasts is Shot of Sanity, hosted by DJ and sports anchor Aaron Atayde. It first aired on July 21 and has 3 episodes so far, with one focusing on quarantine fatigue.

“It’s a crazy world out there. Here’s your shot of sanity to help you get through it,” the podcast description states.

Radio, print, online

A public radio station in the US, Santa Monica-based KCRW, aired “Moments of Serenity,” featuring sounds of ocean waves and breathing reminders. This started at the end of March when the pandemic dominated the news cycles there.

A report from NiemanLab also cited another public radio station, WNYC, whose weekday culture show added a 60-second “I Need a Minute” meditation segment

The New York Times’ (NYT) At Home section, both available online and in print, also serves as a collection of recommendations, virtual events, and arts and crafts, among others.

The section's site described it best: "We may be venturing outside, tentatively or with purpose, but with the virus still raging we’re still safest inside. At Home can help make that tolerable, even fun."

NYT’s executive editor Dean Baquet, NiemanLab reported, said during the launch that the section is “an acknowledgment” that people “want different kinds of information about how to live and manage their lives” with the current crisis. – Rappler.com

Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is a multimedia reporter focusing on media, technology, and disinformation.