Business and Tax, Creative, COVID-19

The future of Creative Businesses following Covid-19 Impact Review

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There’s no denying that 2020 has been tough on business and the creative industries have had it particularly hard. The COVID-19 pandemic and the imminent departure from the EU in January both mean that creative businesses need to be prepared. The first step is to be informed. There are some great organisations out there that have pulled together resources, studies and surveys to help as many creative businesses as possible.

In this blog, we take a look at the recent PEC study which focuses on business model disruption and innovation, the CIF’s spending review and the Brexit transition survey from the government.

As the Creative Industry Federation says;

“Now more than ever, our country needs creativity and innovation as we look to not only recover, but truly commit to sustainability, spread opportunity more widely and level up the UK.”

The Creative Industries Business Model Disruption and Innovation PEC Study

The Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre (PEC), provides independent research and authoritative recommendations to aid the development of policies for the UK’s creative industries, contributing to their continued success. They do this by asking some of the best researchers across the UK the most pressing questions about the sector. The most recent study explores business model disruption and innovation during the pandemic. The PEC convened a virtual industry panel in June 2020, bringing together panellists from a diverse range of content industries including film and TV, visual effects, museums, galleries, theatre, music and dance.

The panel addressed the following three questions:

  1. What, if anything, did you have to change immediately to allow your business to continue to operate (or not) in the pandemic?
  2. How can industry, UK government and research best support this innovation and strengthen resilience?
  3. What new business models are being developed in the mid-term to respond to the changed circumstances brought about by COVID-19?

The purpose of the meeting was for industry experts to share their experiences of not only disruption but also business model innovation within their organisations during the pandemic, and to discuss implications for the medium- and long-term future. We’ve picked out  some highlights but you can  download the study here:

Creative Industries PEC Study Highlights:

  • Experiences included moves to home working, increased engagement with audiences digitally, working with communities who have low digital access, and the closure of theatres and galleries.
  • “The panellists observed that one of the biggest short-term impacts of COVID-19 had been the inability of their organisations to attract footfall or audience, with many noting that an in-person audience was an essential part of their business model. Whilst some of the innovations noted in this briefing worked to counterbalance at least some of this impact, panellists stressed that large swathes of the sector would not be able to go back to ‘business as usual’ while audiences were still social distancing.
  • “One panellist reported a fear of ‘digital polarisation’ between organisations that had invested in digital and those that hadn’t. Their own organisation used digital production tools which helped ‘behind the scenes’, but this wasn’t necessarily visible as was not reported in its external communications. The high costs of equipment was also likely a significant barrier to building digital capacity in smaller organisations. Policymakers should consider how they might assist organisations to invest in digital capacity.”
  • “Panellists noted that once lockdown had been announced, many key changes had to be made at very short notice. One panellist noted that when lockdown was announced, all 1,000 employees at their central London studio had to work from home within a couple of weeks. They said that it felt like ‘getting an 18-month IT project done in two weeks’, an experience that was echoed by other panellists working within digital content industries. Panellists noted that home working had in the main been successful, with levels of productivity maintained, and many hoped to retain some form of home working in their organisations in the future.”

Creative Industries Federation Spending Review

Where there is economic uncertainty there is room for creativity and innovation. The ongoing pandemic and the looming end of the EU transition period means that this year’s CIF Spending Review will take place in “unprecedented circumstances.” In June as part of their Creative Coalition, hundreds of creatives gave up their time to “re-imagine the future and share ideas on how we achieve this vision”.

The CIF have since worked with members to shape and implement these ideas, amongst them key priorities for the upcoming Spending Review.

How you can help CIF;

CIF have asked as many creatives as possible get involved to try and achieve significant investment in this world-leading sector, for that they need your help:

“We will circulate key messages and infographics to share across your networks in the coming weeks, but as an immediate point of action:

  • Write to your MP to ensure they’re aware of our sector’s role and what we’re calling for – a template letter can be downloaded here.
  • Share our sector’s priorities with anyone you speak to across industry, government and parliament – a condensed briefing note can be downloaded here and our full Spending Review Representation can be shared on request.

EU Transition Update and how this will impact business

At a time of uncertainty in regard to the effect of the pandemic and what impact leaving the EU will have, there are a few things we can be sure of.

  1. Things are going to change
  2. We don’t exactly know to what extent yet

To try and navigate this uncertainty the government have shared the following link: This survey asks a number of questions that help to identify which areas of your business or your personal life could be impacted by Brexit. There is a brief summary of advice following your answers, but there is also the option to subscribe to updates, so when more information is available you will be notified.  By answering a series of questions, the link will let you know which areas of your life or business will be impacted by the changes to come in January.

As always, WardWilliams Creative is here to help, although we can only advise once details are available. As soon as that information comes to light please don’t hesitate to contact us for chat. We can then advise on what you may need to do to deal with the changes as smoothly as possible.

WWC supporting Creative businesses

We are on hand to discuss any worries you may have, or any ways we can help innovate your current business model. We can advise of any tax reliefs available to you or your business, we can advise on R&D tax credits where applicable or any other creative tax reliefs you may be eligible for. Get in touch with one of the team today.

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