Corona impacting Hamburg's media and creative sector

Chamber of Commerce survey indicates mood - two creative industries badly hit
12 November 2020
Image symbolizing media and creative sector

Earnings in the media and creative sector are poor amid the ongoing corona crisis and companies are expecting a huge drop in sales, according to the latest Chamber of Commerce survey published Friday (November 6, 2020) in Hamburg. Almost three-quarters of companies surveyed have seen their earnings deteriorate over the same period in 2019 while almost 18 per cent have remained on more or less the same level with around 7 per cent noting an improvement, according to the survey of 620 Hamburg-based firms in mid-October.

Near halving of turnover expected in 2020

"The media and creative industries are closely intertwined in many areas including the tourism, events, culture and gastronomy sectors, which have been particularly hard hit," said Martina Warning, Vice President of the Chamber of Commerce Hamburg.  "Although these companies do not have a moratorium on employment, they are experiencing considerable losses in turnover." Almost a third of companies surveyed said they expect turnover to drop more than 50 per cent in 2020 over 2019. Another 47 per cent expect a decline of up to 50 per cent. However, creative means of raising the visibility of the Hamburg's art scene are emerging. The art historian Anne Simone Krüger and filmmaker Ariane Bethusy-Huc have launched a crowdfunding campaign with video portraits of local artists until November 17, 2020. The duo now hopes to start an English version of the "Open Studio" platform and take the art scene to the next level. 

Every tenth firm fears for its survival 

Two out of five companies do not expect a return to normal business activity until after the second half of 2021 while about 10 per cent do not expect a return. Almost 15 per cent of companies have already reached the pre-crisis level or expect to do so this year. One third of companies has received short-time work benefits while almost half has received state subsidies and 10 per cent have received other financial aid during the crisis. Only one third of companies has managed without state aid. Every tenth company fears that it will not survive. Almost half, however, expects to overcome the crisis. The sharp drop in domestic demand poses the biggest challenge to almost two thirds of the companies over the next 12 months. 

Badly-hit music industry 

The music industry, which includes music companies (51 per cent of respondents), musicians (19 per cent) and clubs (30 per cent) has been badly hit by the corona crisis. Around 58 per cent of interviewees do not expect a return to pre-crisis levels before the second half of 2020 or 2021. Nine out of ten companies said their earnings have deteriorated and two thirds have seen sales plunge by over 50 per cent. More than one in five companies fears that it will not survive the crisis. Around 20 per cent of companies in the design industry have expressed similar concerns. Low domestic demand is the biggest business risk, according to nine out of ten companies. The Reeperbahn Festival, Europe's biggest club fest, broke new ground this year with a hybrid event. Organizers held a pandemic-proof, reduced programme and limited the number of visitors. Most concerts were streamed live free of charge.  

Lower drop in sales in film industry 

The situation in the film industry is slightly “more positive". The drop in total sales is less pronounced compared to 70 per cent of companies. Less than a quarter expect a decline of more than half while 55 per cent expect a drop of up to 50 per cent. This year’s Filmfest Hamburg festival was streamed in cinemas and digitally. Movies were screened to a reduced audience on site, while other fans seized the opportunity to stream select films.