The COVID-19 pandemic is set to cost the British film and TV industry £36B ($45.3B) in lost revenue, with the sector set to shrink 57% in comparison with 2019, according to a report by research firm Oxford Economics for the Creative Industries Federation.
The chilling forecast reflects the scale of the production shutdown, with up to 65% of shoots being put on hold, impacting film and TV shows including Jurassic World: Dominion and Peaky Blinders. The Oxford Economics forecast also encompasses the dramatic hit to advertising revenues, which has affected broadcasters such as ITV and Channel 4.
The report projected that 102,000 jobs will be lost in film and TV this year, which is around 42% of the sector’s workforce, as social distancing constraints affect cinema capacity and the cost of filmmaking. Post-production and VFX could lose £827M in revenue, it added.
Oxford Economics said the UK’s total creative industries, which includes music, theatre, publishing and the arts, is on course for a combined revenue drop of £74B, with one in five jobs being lost.
The foundation for the report was a snapshot survey of Creative Industries Federation members at the end of March and beginning of April, meaning the data was gathered early in the lockdown. This means it does not include more recent figures from the BFI, which showed that the UK production sector achieved £651M in spend in the first quarter of 2020, making it the second-best quarter on record despite coronavirus.
Creative Industries Federation CEO Caroline Norbury said: “Our creative industries have been one of the UK’s biggest success stories but what today’s report makes clear is that, without additional government support, we are heading for a cultural catastrophe.
“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. The repercussions would have a devastating and irreversible effect on our country.”
BFI CEO Ben Roberts added: “Film and cinema stand shoulder to shoulder with our creative counterparts; we are all vital to the cultural fabric of our lives and our well-being, which we need more than ever.
“Film and television production are now restarting and cinemas are hoping to reopen next month. 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.”
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