After the initial shock of the coronavirus lockdown, thoughts are turning to the future. The show must go on.
The change in the last couple of weeks has been clear.
Everywhere in the creative sector, people are looking ahead, “across the valley” as media entrepreneur Jeremy Rainbird recently put it. Investments in new UK studio facilities are continuing, as are new post-production apprenticeship schemes.
And, two things are becoming clear.
Demand for film and TV content stays strong
Unsurprisingly, television consumption has increased as people stay at home. UK terrestrial broadcasters are reporting record figures, while international figures spike in accordance with national lockdowns: 17% in South Korea, 12% in northern Italy and 8% in a single day in New York, according to Nielsen. At the same time, housebound audiences are missing the visceral thrill of attending live-audience events, whether that’s sports, gigs or cinema.
There is a sentiment that the media sector will return to strong growth as soon as shooting can recommence.
“I think people are seeing the lockdown as being a re-set button … not a stop button.”
In fact, Bloomberg reports that most networks can only survive “a couple of months” without production, before they face potential holes in their schedules.
“There’s a growing sense that we need to be prepared for coming out the other side,” says Centtrip’s Director of Music, Film and Entertainment Simon Liddell. “I think people are seeing the lockdown as being a re-set button … not a stop button.
“Production companies are adapting their pre- and post-production processes for greater remote working, and they’re getting things ready so they can move quickly once they restart studio and on-location work. In the past week alone, we’ve signed up five new film or TV productions.”
Production houses move to secure resources
The second aspect is an impending shortage of resources. The talent that is twiddling its thumbs currently will soon be in double demand – booked for projects that were scheduled before the pandemic and wanted to finish those productions that were stalled by the lockdown.
Production houses are busy trying to reschedule paused productions while securing talent for future projects.
“Most of the industry people I speak to are seeing a hunger for new content. The UK already has a shortage of studio space and production companies are wondering if the professionals they need will be available. They’re signing up talent now for Q3 and 4 and into 2021,” says Simon.
There’s a strong sense of camaraderie across the industry. A largely freelance workforce rises with the tide, but it has fallen too. Many production companies are small businesses. Everyone is feeling the immediate pain, but doing what they can to protect a highly talented workforce in a world-leading sector.
“We will come through this together. That’s the prevailing sentiment. Everyone’s been dented by an unavoidable situation, but we can also see the future demand for great content. When I speak to customers and colleagues in the business, I’m simply saying, let’s stay in touch. Centtrip’s here to help, whenever and however we can.”
3 ways Centtrip can help agile film production
Foreign exchange insights – Our dealing desk helps production companies budget the sterling value of future foreign currency funding and the cost of overseas location shoots.
Reducing foreign exchange risk – It’s a volatile time in currency markets. The USD / GBP rate has moved by over 10% in the past 12 months. The GBP to South African Rand rate has moved 25% since the start of the year. Movements of that order can result in a painful mismatch of funding and expense. We work with production companies to mitigate exchange risk through forward contracts.
Enabling cashless productions – Many firms now avoid the time, cost and risks involved in using cash for per diems and petty cash expenses. We can have prepaid Mastercards in the hands of all cast and crew within a few days, removing the need for cash and making production life as cashless as everyday life.
Centtrip works with organisations and individuals all across the world of film, music and entertainment. We aim to add value at every level of financing. This isn’t a time to sell but, as Simon says, if we can help, please get in touch.