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BAME-led TV organisations hit by Covid-19, study reveals

Posted on: July 8, 2020 by Mariella Brown

A third of BAME-led TV production companies are facing serious financial hardship as a result of the Covid-19 crisis, a report reveals.

Two thirds of companies are losing money and/or programme commissions due to Covid-19, research carried out by Birmingham City University’s Sir Lenny Henry Centre for Media Diversity stated.

Assessing the impact of the coronavirus on independent companies led by Black, Asian and minority ethnic professionals, the report showed that this has resulted in roughly a third (29%) of all BAME-led indies facing either “financial distress” or severe “financial” crisis.

The vast majority of the BAME-led companies, which was defined as one with a chief executive, managing director or other senior leader from a BAME background, have not applied for Government support, according to the study.

Only 19 per cent had applied for specific industry support, of which only half were successful.

The report stated, “The low rate of application for general and industry specific financial support, coupled by the success rate, would indicate to us that companies did not think they were eligible for support.”

Academics surveyed 20 UK organisations across May and June to find out how their work had been hit by the pandemic.  

Other findings stated in the report include:

  • Nearly half of organisations (48 per cent) are worse off as a result of the pandemic
  • The vast majority of BAME-led indies have been unable to access much needed development funds
  • The vast majority of BAME-led indies have not received government financial support
  • The vast majority of BAME-led indies have not applied for industry relief funds
  • This is clearly a sector that wants and needs targeted financial support for BAME-led indies, specifically from the industry and more generally from the government. 
  • 20 per cent of companies had gained commissions specifically related to COVID-19.

Marcus Ryder, visiting professor at Birmingham City University’s Sir Lenny Henry Centre for Media Diversity, said: “BAME-led indies must be at the centre of any policies devised by broadcasters and the Government to help them survive an unprecedented global pandemic.

“We believe this report is important in demonstrating why that’s necessary.”

The Sir Lenny Henry Centre for Media Diversity was launched in March to examine representation in journalism, acting, film, television and radio.

Read the full report here.

Photo: Birmingham City University