Sixteen per cent of the Indian creative sector is facing permanent closure now, according to a new report by the British Council, the ArtX Company and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI). Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and freelance workforce who cater to large enterprises have been worst hit, says the report launched early this week.

Twenty two per cent of the sector is projected to lose more than three-fourths of annual income.

The depth of the short-term impact of COVID-19 on the creative economy globally and in India looks extremely bleak, says the second edition of ‘The Taking the Temperature Report’, which records the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the creative economy in India.

The report found 58 per cent of the creative industry workforce are women, deepening gender inequality of opportunity as a result of the short-term impact of the pandemic.

About 90 per cent of the creative sector fears the long-term impact of social distancing on the creative economy. Three-fifths of the sector believes it will take nine months to over a year for early signs of recovery for the creative economy.

The creative sector continues to face an uncertain future during the pandemic and the creative economy is contracting, organisations are closing permanently to avoid bankruptcy and creative businesses are contending with increasingly difficult choices to cut staff and overheads to ensure they remain resilient, the report says.

Individual professionals and artisans are facing short-term hand-to-mouth existence, sectors are adapting to digital and live business models, and some of the workforce is leaving the creative economy and changing careers.

“For some, the agile move to digital platforms presents new opportunities for market development and profile. However, for others, the impact in change from face-to-face audience interaction to digital platforms offers only limited scope for new income generation,” adds the report.