13 May 2020

Surveying Industry Costs of Pandemic

An extensive survey has been launched to investigate the far-reaching damage wrought by the pandemic shutdown of the entertainment, events and AV industry. The survey is conducted by Julius Partners advisory, and will reach 18,000 people on its database.

Backstage workers and suppliers are the engine room of the entertainment industry, which has been left mostly out of government assistance despite being virtually shut down for the past six weeks. JobKeeper payments have not reached far since most workers are casual or contractor, often working gig to gig, or season to season.

Industry charity Support Act report an overwhelming call for help, and its well-being hotline has been swamped. The industry had the second highest instance of suicide prior to the crisis, with creative people ill-equipped to find scarce alternative employment.

Two surveys are running together, one for workers and the other for businesses. The surveys were created with assistance from 20 affected workers and employers, and follows news this week from New Zealand where NZEA, the events association, surveyed and reported the loss of 20% of Full Time Enterprises, totalling 403 so far.

“We will find out how people are feeling, coping, and what they see as their future”, says Julius Grafton, lead advocate. “Also, businesses will report full-time and casual staff numbers before, now, and projected after the restrictions are lifted. Many will not re-open. We intend to report how many.”

In beta testing almost 50 people did the surveys. Here are some salient comments:

“As a sole trader working to support the AV and entertainment industry my business was hit as hard as those that had to close. I had a couple of jobs at the beginning of March but since then only one has been forthcoming. The other problem I face is sourcing parts to complete repairs. With air traffic severely cut I have parts on order that still have not left the origin country. Who knows when I will receive them. I have been remaining busy with maintaining all my gear but that will soon stop.”

Another: “March 13 we lost 90% of our bookings for the next quarter. By April we had all staff working from home. We started 2 day rotating shifts in mid April to keep people engaged. Full time staff only. We don’t know when we will get our next work day. We just keep looking and try to work on projects to keep everyone engaged and hopeful.”

On the Worker survey, we asked about self image.

“Once they announced lockdown of venues etc. I received a call saying all shows are cancelled. Now I had a little maintenance and cleaning to completed. The venue has told me that when we start to come out of lockdown I will be back as the contractor, but with no firm date, and the venue does not seem to have a plan yet. I have asked to write a plan of maintenance that will need to be done before we start doing shows. We have discussed live streaming of stage shows, it boils down to copyright issues for that. So I sit studying online and having anxiety attacks when some media sources (Murdoch) etc beat it up or the conspiracy theorists go crazy. I luckily have a hobby of photography which I have spent even more time on for my mental health.”

And this. Which we all worry about: “I no longer wish to do the job I have been doing for many years. The industry has changed.”

The surveys are anonymous with no IP tracking. The links are:




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