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Footage industry experiencing growth during pandemic, but challenges remain: survey

A survey exploring the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic upon the archive and stock footage industry illustrates that as companies are seeing increasing demand for archive content — and as ...
April 1, 2021

A survey exploring the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic upon the archive and stock footage industry illustrates that as companies are seeing increasing demand for archive content — and as a result, increasing business — there is a stronger sense of optimism concerning the prospects for the industry in the lockdown era.

The survey, conducted by archive service Footage.net, was the second issued by the company in the COVID-19 era, and was conducted online over a 28-day period in January and February of 2021. Sixty footage companies from around the world contributed with input. The majority of the companies taking part were mature businesses, in operation for 10 or more years, and based primarily in the U.S. and/or the United Kingdom.

While the previous survey conducted by the company and issued in the spring of 2020 pointed towards a sense that the industry would maintain essential business operations and be able to provide services to clients, the new survey — taken with a year of experience of doing business within the pandemic — illustrates that for respondents, the adaptation to remote work has been successful and the demand for footage has either held steady or increased. Further, while a small minority of companies reported a significantly negative impact upon their business, for the majority of respondents, “the overall effect of the pandemic has either been neutral or at least somewhat positive.”

In examining adapting to remote work, the survey found that while most responding companies were still working remotely (56%), there was a 62% increase since the 2020 survey in companies working from their offices or facilities.

In a production environment where location shooting is still subject to protocols and restrictions, it’s to be expected that producers and commissioners alike will continue to turn to archive-led content for their schedules. That’s mirrored in the survey results, with a total of 56% of respondents reporting they are holding up well under the circumstances. 17% of respondents reported no impact from the pandemic, while 29% said the impact was “somewhat positive” and 10% called the impact of the pandemic “significantly positive” for their businesses.

The vast majority of companies reporting in the 2021 survey (77%) stated that the demand for stock/archival footage has either increased (46%) or stayed about the same (31%) over the course of the pandemic. Only 17% said demand had decreased.

From a revenue perspective, the results were also largely positive. 66% of respondents said their revenues had been either flat (35%) or had increased (31%) over the last 11 months.

Concerning potential threats to the footage business, the possibility of global recession had 33% of respondents “very concerned”, while 12% were “most concerned” about it — a decrease from the 2020 survey that found 36% of respondents labeling themselves as “most concerned.”

The survey is available free for members of the footage industry by clicking here.

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