Production companies on the impact of coronavirus

The coronavirus outbreak has dealt a huge blow to production companies specialising in film. We explore the impact of cancelled shoots and what it means for the industry

While coronavirus lockdowns have posed challenges for businesses across the creative industries, the production sector has been hit particularly hard. Film shoots have been called off or put on hold for the forseeable future – leaving freelancers without work and companies without a current income.

Companies have also been struggling to meet overheads as they await payment for existing jobs that have been completed. This week, the Association of Independent Commercial Producers claimed that production and post-production houses were owed an estimated $200 million for recently completed work. The figure was based on the results of a live Zoom poll with over 500 AICP members, almost a third of whom said they were owed over $1 million.

In a statement announcing the news, AICP CEO Matt Miller called on brands and agencies to pay any outstanding fees as soon as possible: “Cash flow for most live action production companies is, like work, drying up, with post-production slowing as they finish recently produced work … so it’s more urgent than ever that these payments are made,” he said.

When we come out on the other end of this global crisis, marketers and their agencies will need the ingenuity of the production and post community more than ever

“When we come out on the other end of this global crisis, marketers and their agencies will need the ingenuity of the production and post community more than ever to create communications to reach customers and stimulate the economy. Corporations must step up and fulfil their contractual obligations, so that this industry can stay afloat planning for work to serve their needs,” added Miller.

Speaking on the David Reviews podcast earlier this week, Steve Davies, chief executive at the Advertising Producers Association in the UK, said the current situation was even more devastating for production companies than the financial crash of 2008. “The crash was nothing like this – there was still work around. You can’t really compare the two,” he said. While Davies said he was confident the industry would bounce back, he also said that the uncertainty around the length of enforced lockdowns had created “a desperate situation” for businesses.

JUNIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNER

Milton Keynes