The U.K. film, television, video and photography industries are projected to shrink 57% and lose £36 billion ($45.3 billion) in revenues in 2020 due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a report by Oxford Economics.
The report also forecasts that as social distancing constraints impact cinema capacity and the cost of filmmaking, 102,000 or 42% of jobs across the industries will be lost.
Commissioned by the Creative Industries Federation in collaboration with a host of U.K. arts organizations, including the BFI, Directors UK, Equity, Bectu, SOLT/UK Theatre, Arts Council England, and UK Music, the report, titled “The Projected Economic Impact of COVID-19 on the U.K. Creative Industries” projects an overall £74 billion ($93 billion) revenue loss for the combined creative industries, a shrinkage of 30%, and 406,000 job losses.
Prior to the pandemic, the U.K. creative sector was growing at five times the rate of the wider economy, employing some two million people and contributing £111.7 billion ($140.5 billion) to the economy.
The report projects that the music industry could shrink 50% to lose at least £3 billion ($3.8 billion) in revenues and 60% of jobs, with the sector being hit hard by the collapse in live music and touring. Similarly, theater is projected to shrink 61% to lose £3 billion ($3.8 billion) in revenue, with up to 70% of jobs lost.
The report’s total potential revenue and job loss figures also takes into consideration projections for the crafts, design and designer fashion, advertising and market research, publishing, museums and galleries and architecture sectors.
Caroline Norbury, CEO of Creative Industries Federation, said the report’s findings suggest a “cultural catastrophe” ahead for the U.K.
”If nothing is done, thousands of world-leading creative businesses are set to close their doors, hundreds of thousands of jobs will be lost and billions will be lost to our economy,” said Norbury.
“We urgently need a Cultural Renewal Fund for those in the creative sector who will be hit hardest, including those industries who will be latest to return to work, those businesses unable to operate fully whilst maintaining social distancing and those creative professionals who continue to fall through the gaps of government support measures,” Norbury added.
“As the union for media and entertainment workers and freelancers, the scale of devastation demonstrated in these figures is terrifying,” said Philippa Childs, head of entertainment union Bectu. ”The creativity that fuels this outstanding sector of the economy comes from people who have dedicated themselves to the film, theater, TV, cinema and live events industries. They are the backbone of the success of this sector and any plans to implement a Cultural Renewal Fund must ensure that they are provided for.”
“Film and television production are now restarting and cinemas are hoping to reopen next month,” said Ben Roberts, chief executive of the BFI. “However, there are still huge risks for independent filmmakers and for cinemas trying to make it through recovery and we are committed to supporting them through the ongoing challenges.”
“The impact of COVID-19 on the theater industry has been immediate and devastating; with every U.K. venue now closed. COVID-19 has removed the sector’s trading income entirely at a stroke and thrown its business model into crisis.”
Julian Bird, chief executive of industry orgs UK Theatre and Society of London Theatre (SOLT), said. “In order to rescue the performing arts sector, we call on government to: sustain the workforce; catalyze the recovery; and review insurance and liability policies to ensure this valuable asset is protected and enhanced for the future. We hope this report goes some way to helping this happen.”