Nineteen months on since the first national lockdown, three further shutdowns, and a recovery package from the government, the Independent Cinema Office (ICO) conducted a survey to help us understand the continuing impact of Covid-19 on the independent cinema sector.
Although the majority of cinemas have now reopened and the regulations on social distancing measures have been removed, the ICO found a strong picture of the continuing uncertainty and challenges faced by cinemas. It continues to be a very risky operating environment.
Cinemas are trying to find a balance between safe facilities for audiences, including social distancing (55% of respondents are still operating with social distancing measures in place), and viable operation of the cinema (43% of respondents are operating with 50% or less capacity). The costs of film hire are being balanced against increased overheads and staffing costs. There are challenges in making venues both safe and welcoming again, as well as gaining access to a suitable range content for different audiences.
47% of respondents say they are operating at a loss, unsure of when they will be profitable again, and 24% have had to make redundancies. On the positive side, there seems to be a trend of cinemas showing more independently released films, of working more closely and supportively with independent distributors on terms and to develop their online programming offer.
Please note that this report is a top line summary of our survey. To discuss this further, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.