UPDATED 10 June 2020
Trade association AudioUK is taking a range of actions to ensure the independent audio production sector negotiates the coronavirus crisis successfully, while providing new content to help the wider public through the pandemic period.
AudioUK has been calling on leading audio commissioners to continue working with the indie sector to find joint solutions to the financial problems being caused by the coronavirus crisis. AudioUK has asked that commissioners work flexibly with existing productions, and continue to seek new ideas and ensure payment processes continue without delay. We have already had a positive response from Audible and are continuing to talk to others.
At Government level, we have been briefng Department fro Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) on the impact on our sector of the COVID-19 outbreak. AudioUK is part of a DCMS Working Group which is looking at ways to produce helpful guidance across DCMS industry sectors. We hope to publish new production guidelines shortly for the audio production sector.
We have summarised the Government’s COVID-19 information for employers and businesses, which can be found here.
AudioUK has just submitted its paper to the House of Commons DCMS Select Committee‘s inquiry into the impact of COVID-19 on cretive sectors. You can find our paper here.
In addition, AudioUK worked with the Audio Content Fund to propose a special round of coronavirus-related audio content, with an initial £200,000 of funding available and a quick two-week turnaround from submission to decision. This led to a variety of exciting new projects including a range of live audio events over Easter weekend. The funding available then increased to £400,000, leading to a new range of commisioning
AudioUK has also worked with the Radio Academy and others to set up the Audio & Radio Emergency Fund, which we hope will really help audio production professionals needing support at this time. The fund will grant money for activities such as buying new equipment or software for working from home.
And the Audiotrain programme is maintaining its activity by providing webinars, available free or with a voluntary donation. These have been very well-subscribed so far, with one session on remote high quality recording attracting around 300 people. You can find out more here.
Audiotrain also arranged a special members-only webinar discussing the government’s COVID-19 measures, relating to different types of company owner and employee. AudioUK members can find a link to the video and the presentation slides by logging into the members area on this website.
To help inform our briefing and further activity we surveyed audio production companies to find out more about the exact issues they are facing. Our thanks to all those who responded, we are now using the results to inform decison makers of the impact on our sector. You can see the results of our survey here.
AudioUK is also supporting the work of the Creative Industries Federation, of which we are a member, to close gaps in the financial support for and company directors and freelancers, as well as publicising the overall effects of COVID-19 on the creative industries.
Kellie While, Chair of AudioUK, said:
“As a sector we’re doing our best to maintain business as usual but some productions are being postponed or cancelled, particularly those involving travel, live events or a studio audience.”
“It’s important at this time that those commissioning audio don’t take delay new commissions, and that they honour their existing contracts and payments. With more spare time, we believe people will be turning to audio as a diversion and so a steady stream of compelling new content is as important as ever.”
“We’re very pleased that the Government agreed to AudioUK and the Audio Content Fund’s suggestion that a special round be commissioned for coronavirus-related programming and we look forward to seeing some very exciting ideas emerge.”
“We are also an industry that uses a lot of dedicated, professional freelancers and we want to make sure this vital creative workforce is looked after at this time.”