may june - Page 5

Report: UK creative sector faces £74bn pandemic hit The Creative Industries Federation has warned of a ‘cultural catastrophe’ as newly commissioned research from Oxford Economics reveals that the UK’s creative industries are on the brink of devastation. The UK’s creative sector was previously growing at five times the rate of the wider economy, employing over 2 million people and contributing £111.7 billion (€123bn) to the economy - more than the automotive, aerospace, life sciences and oil and gas industries combined. The report, The Projected Economic Impact of Covid-19 on the UK Creative Industries, projects that the creative sector will be hit twice as hard as the wider economy in 2020, with a projected GVA shortfall of £29 billion. Many creative sub sectors are expected to lose more than half their revenue and over half of their workforce. Despite the Job Retention Scheme, the report projects that 119,000 permanent creative workers will be made redundant by the end of the year. The impact on employment is set to be felt twice as hard by creative freelancers with 287,000 freelance roles expected to be terminated by the end of 2020. Key statistics: • Creative industries GVA projected to fall by £29 billion (-25%), with the creative industries being hit twice as hard as the wider UK economy. • Creative industries projected to lose 406,000 jobs and £74 billion in revenue (-30%). • Music, performing and visual arts projected to lose £11 billion in revenue (-54%) and 57% of jobs (178,000) with theatres, recording studios and concert venues remaining closed. • The music industry is projected to lose at least £3 billion in GVA (50%) and 60% of jobs (114,000), with the sector being hit hard by the collapse in live music and touring. • Theatre projected to lose £3 billion in revenue (61%) and 26% of permanent jobs (12,000), although this estimate only takes into account current cancellations and does not account for the reluctance of audiences to return to venues (only 20% would return on opening night according to a survey by Indigo). Further research from UK Theatre/SOLT shows that, without further intervention, job losses in theatre across permanent and freelance roles is likely to number over 200,000 (over 70%). • Film, TV, video, radio and photography could lose £36 billion in revenue (-57%), with the sector projected to lose 42% of jobs (102,000) as social distancing constraints affect cinema capacity and the cost of filmmaking. • Postproduction and VFX could lose £827 million in revenue (-58%). Radio projected to lose £186 million in revenue (-21%) as it sees a decline in advertising. The report follows the Creative Industries Federation’s open letter to government in April calling for urgent funding for the creative sector, which was signed by over 500 leading figures from the creative industries and beyond. “With the economic impact of Covid-19 hitting hard, the role of our creative industries has never been more critical,” declared Caroline Norbury, CEO, Creative Industries Federation. “As well as being a huge driver of economic growth in every part of the UK, our creative and cultural sectors bring communities together, they employ millions and are at the heart of our soft power. These are the industries of the future: highly innovative, resistant to automation and integral to both our cultural identity and the nation’s mental health. We’re about to need them more than ever.” “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.” Data: Lockdown’s leap in broadband traffic UK multiplay operator Virgin Media (VM) has published network data revealing the dramatic impact of the coronavirus lockdown on how customers are using their broadband services. The network insights reveal how a ‘new normal’ has been established over the emergency period, during which VM customers have been using significantly more data. Since lockdown started, every VM broadband customer has downloaded an extra 3.4GB of data per day on average when compared with download levels in February – the month before lockdown measures began. That’s enough additional usage for every customer to watch two films – or around 3.5 hours of Netflix video – every day, in addition to how they used their broadband before the emergency period. While claiming that its network coped with the additional demands, a network problem late June left many customers without TV and broadband services. Thousands of customers reported issues on the Down Detector website, and complained on social media that they could not access their services, affecting masses of people who are still working from home. VM said the issue only affected broadband customers in some areas of London, adding the problem had been fixed within a few hours, and apologised for the situation, and said the issues were not caused by congestion or strain. The company experienced a similar issue in April, when its network was unavailable in parts of London for several hours. During the busiest week of the lockdown, VM customers were downloading a third more data than before, burning through an extra 32.5GB compared to February. With that much additional broadband use, an average consumer would be able to stream more than 40 hours of standard definition video, receive more than 5,000 emails and listen to than 700 hours of music. This extra activity means that in total, the average user has downloaded an extra 325GB of data since lockdown started on top of what they’d normally use. These increases come as 99% of VM customers are now taking speeds of 100Mbps or more, resulting in an average network speed that is more than double the UK average. EUROMEDIA 5