Covid – Where the Heck are We?

TV Programmes

If I were to put a finger in the air today, I’d say TV production was moving ahead, at least for the moment, as Covid variants threaten our relaxation of virus protocols. 

With the ongoing goal of keeping casts, crews and all set workers safe, the Directors Guild of America (DGA), International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) and the Basic Crafts, and Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA), together with the Alliance of Motion Pictures and Television Producers (AMPTP), announced in late July they have a tentative agreement on adjustments to the COVID-19 Safety Agreement reflecting vaccines and other scientific advances. 

The modifications center on workplace practices for fully vaccinated cast and crew, including changes to outdoor masking requirements and updated mealtime protocols. Producers will also have the option to implement mandatory vaccination policies for casts and crew in Zone A on a production-by-production basis. Additional changes, such as adjustments to testing frequency, are included for certain areas in the United States and Canada where COVID-19 incidence is, and remains, very low – at least for now.

The Agreement will remain in effect through September 30, 2021, but the parties will continue closely monitoring COVID-19 developments and will consider further modifications. (Excerpted from Variety July 2021) 

Apparently undaunted by Covid, the Georgia Film Office reported a blockbuster year for production, setting a new record of $4billion in direct spending on productions. Fearing to be left behind, California is offering a whopping $660 million to encourage keeping production in the sunshine state with some of the funding intended for new and revamped stages.

Think it’s a good time to be in radio? Think again. While radio stations have expanded their offerings to include digital products to offset soft sales, they’re looking at adjacent markets and dropping the name “radio” and replacing it with “media”. Station groups are buying into esports and sports betting – asserting that “Anyone who believes a station can survive by just selling radio spots with digital sprinkles needs to retire and make way for the future.”