UPDATED 30 March 2020

Trade association AudioUK has announced a range of actions it is taking to ensure the independent audio production sector negotiates the coronavirus crisis successfully, while providing new content to help the wider public.

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.

In addition, AudioUK has worked with the Audio Content Fund to propose a special round of coronavirus-related audio content, with at least £200,000 of funding available and a quick two-week turnaround from submission to decision.

We have briefng DCMS on the impact on our sector of the COVID-19 outbreak, and been keeping members informed of the Government’s latest COVID-19 information for employers and businesses, which can be found here.

AudioUK also signed a letter to the Chancellor to help freelancers during the coronavirus situation, and we encouraged DCMS to support the proposal during our COVID-19 breifing to the department. As a result of this co-ordinated sectoral action, the Chancellor announced on 26 March a new Self-Employment Income Protection Scheme. AudioUK will continue to look at any further ways that busnesses and the self-employed can be helped at this time, including those who have set up limited companies.

And the Audiotrain programme is maintaining its activity by providing webinars, available free or with a voluntary donation – more here.

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.”