The Challenges of the AV Industry in the Covid-19 pandemic

The Financial Situation

Without a doubt the COVID-19 pandemic has created serious challenges for the AV industry. It is for the first time, since the global financial crisis in 2008, that the worldwide economy takes such a hit from an unknown enemy at all fronts. Stock markets have reflected the economic alarm, when S&P 500 had its worst month since October 2008.

“I feel like the 2008 financial crisis was just a dry run for this … Everything depends on how long it lasts, but if this goes on for a long time, it’s certainly going to be the mother of all financial crises” said Kenneth S. Rogoff, a Harvard economist and financial crisis specialist.

However, there are opposing opinions such as that the recession will be painful, but it will be a short-term crisis and once the virus is contained, then life will go back to normal. According to Marie O. Thomsen, global chief economist at Indosuez Wealth Management in Geneva “This is a temporary crisis, you hit the pause button, and then you hit the start button, and the machine starts running again”.

In an optimistic view, we believe that healing is underway with China effectively having contained the virus and beginning gradually going back to work. We hope that the China example will have a ripple effect to the rest of the world and hopefully by July, August the virus will be contained in Europe too.


The AV Industry Challenges

The audiovisual industry has taken a serious hit and as rapid as the spread of Covid-19 it was felt across the globe. The Covid-19 pandemic has affected most markets and business but perhaps no single industry has been hit as hard as live events. AV event professionals felt the effects of the pandemic within the first days with mass event cancellations and almost a complete loss of revenue.

In a survey by AVIXA AV Intelligence Panel member, 87% of AV provides and end users said that their companies face a negative effect from the corona-virus pandemic, 67% are facing revenue decline and in sales. Further to the cancellations, event professionals are unable to make site visits, which means slowing down work for another 2-3 months for any new projects.

However, there is light in the tunnel and there is optimism among the AV professionals. When overcoming any challenges society has shown that the first feeling collectively felt around the world is the feeling of togetherness and celebration. Once, we overcome this people will want to come together and celebrate and that’s when event professionals will be assigned of delivering up to this joyful task.

When will this happen you ask? Well, according to the AVIXA Impact Survey, 1 in 4 AV providers saw June as the month by which operations will resume and almost 30% saw September as the month where live events will take place.


What’s next?

Online Events – For the time being AV provides can suggest to their clients if they wish to move their Events Online. Without risking the health of crew and client’s, studios can be set up with minimum staff and conferences can be live streamed online. Online Events will be the topic of our next blog article and we will discuss the benefits and technology needed.

Postpone don’t cancel – advise your clients to postpone their events for September onward instead of cancelling.

Demand governmental support – For example in Italy they have released 130-million-euro emergency fund for live performances, films and audiovisual works. For more information on the measures taken by all European countries please see the link in the references section below.

Remember – You are not alone! Event professionals around are facing the same issues as you. Creating a COVID Task Force in your country with members from Cultural, Film, AV Providers can be the leaders in finding solutions for the future of industry and become the spokespeople to demand governmental support.