Thursday, September 30, 2021

CORONAVIRUS. In 2021 Covid-19 destroyed 18 669 or 59% of all full-time jobs in South Africa's film and TV industry over the past year; Gauteng remains SA's film capital although KZN is fastest-growing.

by Thinus Ferreira

The Covid-19 pandemic has had an extremely destructive impact on South Africa's struggling film and TV industry, with the sector's contribution to the country's economy falling by a shocking 59% from 2019/2020 to 2020/2021, shedding a shocking 18 669 jobs in just a year due to the lack of government support for the battered industry.

Gauteng remains the film and TV capital of South Africa, although KwaZulu-Natal is the fastest growing province when it comes to luring new film and TV productions.

The National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) has released its third Economic Impact Assessment Study (EIAS) that measures the economic contribution of the South African film & TV industry to South since 2016/2017, with the study that found the sector lost 18 669 jobs over the past year.

According to the EIAS, jobs in South Africa's film and TV industry plunged by 18 669 full-time jobs sustained by the activities of the film industry from 31 444 in 2019/20, to just 12 775 in 2020/21. That's a decrease of 59.37%.

The direct, indirect, and induced economic impact of the film industry to the South African economy that stood at R7.2 billion in 2019/20, plunged to just R2.9 billion in 2020/21 due to the negative impact of Covid-19 and the South African government's lockdowns on the industry's operations.

According to the study, annualised income derived by employees as a direct, indirect, or induced impact of the film industry that still amounted to R218 million for South Africa in 2019/20, dropped to just R88 million in 2020/21.

While households benefited to the tune of R803 million in income in 2019/20 because of the activities of South Africa's film and TV industry, this dropped to R326 million in 2020/21.

The direct impact of the film industry at market prices was estimated at R522.33 million, the indirect impact at R157.01 million, and the induced impact at R408.41 million. 

The total estimated impact of the film industry on GDP at market prices if all the impacts are added is estimated to be R1 087.75 million. 

According to the study, Gauteng remains the film and television capital of South Africa, and there is no sign of this changing in the near future.

The Western Cape remains a service destination - for foreign productions specifically - while KwaZulu-Natal has shown noticeable growth in the film industry and is the fastest-growing film destination in South Africa with a significant increase in production in the province.

There continues to be no recognised film industry activity in the other secondary provinces mainly because there are no formal institutional structures in place to facilitate or support the industry.

A bright spot however is the Eastern Cape province where, through the support of the Eastern Cape Development Corporation (ECDC) the province has seen an uptick in film and TV productions through the help of the ECDC facilitating and investing in the film industry in the province.

The North West and the Northern Cape provinces have the lowest level of film activity accounting for only 3% respectively.

Better support integration needed
The study found that there is a big need for a more streamlined approach between key authorities of the public sector, namely the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture (DSAC), NFVF, Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), National Empowerment Fund (NEF), DITC, KwaZulu-Natal Film Commisssion (KZNFC), (Gauteng Film Commission (GFC), SABC, and the Durban Film Office (DFO) that fund and support the film industry.

"South Africa has a vibrant film industry that is contributing meaningfully to the country's economy and is certainly brimming with potential to make an even greater contribution despite the negative impact of Covid-19 in the past year," says Botse Matlala, NFVF research & compliance manager. 

Makhosazana Khanyile, NFVF CEO, says "We remain committed to partnering with players in mitigating challenges that have an impact on the sustainable growth and development of the industry".