Recently we asked EVCOM members to respond to a survey put together by Angela Law from Every Sense. We wanted to know what our members are experiencing in the context of Covid-19, and what EVCOM can do to support each and every one of you as we plan for the future. Your responses also allow us to go back to the BVEP board on which EVCOM sits, with demonstrable evidence of the impact this crisis is having on our sector. It will help us to continue to fight for further government support, and recognition of our sector.
We received responses from just over a third of the membership (35%). Of the respondents, 87% were companies and 10% were freelancers with a roughly 50/50 split between participants coming from the film/video side and the events sector. 86% of these businesses employ less than 50 people, so the following results are reflective of this demographic.
Over half of our responding members have seen a decrease in revenue of between 50-100%. A similar proportion believe that the next 12 months will see their revenue decrease year on year between 50-100%. Smaller organisations are the hardest hit in both of these situations.
Findings show that larger revenue decreases are being seen in the Event/Event Services sector than Film & Video. In terms of revenue generated outside the UK, again the Event sector expect larger decreases than Film.
42% of participants claim that their business can only survive 6 months but more positively just over a third are confident that they can survive the next 12 months – and of these, the higher percentage come from the Film & Video sector rather than Events. Again, it is the smaller organisations who doubt their ability to operate beyond 12 months, with the percentage of respondents saying they will be able to operate for over 12 months increasing with company size.
Overall, Film and Video businesses feel more confident in their ability to trade as a viable entity than the Event Services sector.
The majority of businesses (94%) have opted to have people WFH but some (61%) have also taken up the furlough option and many (40%) have reduced salary levels at director level. Over half have said they are halting or reducing the use of freelancers and those on temporary contract which is a worrying sign for this group of people in the longer term. Additional cost savings include reducing working hours, renegotiating premises and office space, delaying payment to creditors and halting/reducing services and products.
69% have applied for and received support from the Job Retention Scheme followed by the Business Interruption Loan Scheme and then the Bounce Back Loan Scheme and a variety of deferment schemes.
Respondents shared their thoughts on what the government could be doing to support the sector further, with a focus on extension of or more flexibility around the furlough scheme, and the recategorisation of the events industry as a distinct sector and events themselves as ‘organised meetings and events’ as opposed to ‘mass gatherings’.
Adapting and Planning:
However, businesses are already looking to the future, and searching for ways to rebuild revenue. Factors of concern for coming out this crisis, included restrictions around international travel, social distancing measures, budget cuts, consumer confidence and the possibility of creating safe working environments. The predominant key to survival appears to be in meeting the changing requirements and finding ways to adapt your business to be able to offer clients an alternative. A significant percentage of respondents (71%) intend to spend the next 12 months building their brand and identity, whilst 87% of respondents are planning to develop new services.
It is clear that EVCOM members from across the live events and corporate film sectors are being greatly impacted by this crisis, but the final message is one of strength and creativity as they use innovation to search for a pathway into the future.
Here at EVCOM we are doing everything we can to support our members, as we too battle with the financial strain of this crisis. We have launched our new searchable member directory on our website, which you can find here, we have started a programme of free virtual sessions – webinars, panel discussions and knowledge sharing spaces – we are offering free membership to new freelance members to the end of 2020, and as members of the BVEP and EIB we continue to work on behalf of our members to lobby the government and shout for our sectors’ recognition.
We are in this together, and we will work for our members in every way as we come out of this.
For the full survey results read the report from Every Sense here. Thank you so much to Every Sense for creating and conducting this vital survey.