Government DCMS survey reveals COVID-19 damage
Thursday, 18 June 2020
markus-spiske-ucbmz0s-w28-unsplashPhoto: Markus Spiske via Unsplash
UK - The damage across the UK culture, media, sports and digital sectors caused by the coronavirus outbreak has been laid bare in a government survey published this week.
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has released the results of its Business Survey, showing the impact of coronavirus on organisations across the four sectors. The survey received 3,936 responses submitted between 23 April and 22 May.
Headline findings reveal the devastating impact of the pandemic on businesses, with more than a third (1,646) of respondents reporting their revenue has decreased by 100% year-on-year, whilst just 97 have seen an increase during the period.
In terms of how long businesses can continue to operate viably, the majority (1,156) of respondents selected ‘up to six months’, whilst 1,102 indicated that they could stay afloat beyond six months. However, 202 respondents said their businesses were already no longer trading; 155 stated they could only carry on trading for less than a month, and 902 reported they could only trade viably for up to three months. The remaining 408 selected ‘don’t know’. An overwhelming 2,668 respondents also indicated their business’ ability to trade was under threat due to the pandemic, with just 1,070 stating the opposite.
More than half (2,146) of respondents said they had accessed government support during the survey period, but nearly half (1,790) hadn’t. The headline findings can be found here whilst the full survey results, including a sector breakdown, can be seen here.
The results come as it was announced yesterday (17 June) that a number of major West End productions do not plan to re-open until 2021. Cameron Mackintosh, his producing partners and Delfont Mackintosh Theatres announced that Les Misérables, Mary Poppins, Hamilton and Phantom of the Opera would remain closed “in response to the continued uncertainty over when the government is going to completely withdraw social distancing measures and allow the safe return of theatre productions.” Consequently, they are starting a process of consultation over potential redundancies for all employees on these productions.
Mackintosh said in a statement: "This decision is heart-breaking for me , as I am sure it is for my employees, as everyone who has worked with me over the last 50 years, on or off the stage, knows how much I care about what I do and how I do it.”
“Despite the government engaging with the desperate pleas from everyone in the theatre industry, so far there has been no tangible practical support beyond offers to go into debt which I don't want to do. Their inability to say when the impossible constraints of social distancing will be lifted makes it equally impossible for us to properly plan for whatever the new future is. This has forced me to take drastic steps to ensure that I have the resources for my business to survive and enable my shows and theatres to reopen next year when we are permitted to. I have no investors or venture capital backing, everything is funded by me personally and already my companies’ considerable reserves have been massively reduced by the complete closure of our industry everywhere.”

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