Brexit not good news for media SMEs, says research

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The results showed that the EU market was the next most important after the UK, which offered growth potential for 55 per cent of media SMEs. This was followed by North America, and Japan, East Asia and the Pacific.

The percentage of media SMEs looking to the EU for growth was higher than other professional service sectors surveyed such as Law, and twice as high as SMEs in Financial Services, and Finance and Accounting.

When asked about the opportunities for their businesses as a result of the UK voting to leave the EU, just 40 per cent gave one answer or more, while only 15 per cent gave three or more answers.

At the same time, media SMEs were among the most likely of the 15 sectors surveyed to anticipate a period of decline in the next three months. This was the case for 16 per cent, with over a third of these saying they would struggle to survive.

The Brexit vote appears to have had a significant impact on confidence levels: the percentage of SMEs in this sector that anticipated growth in the next three months fell dramatically from 50 per cent in Q2 to 34 per cent in Q3 – a drop of 16 per cent. With this, the percentage of those who anticipated decline in the same period increased slightly. Since the vote, confidence levels have gradually risen to a similar level to those of a year ago, but not quite to the same levels of those before the vote.

Gavin Wraith-Carter, Managing Director at Hitachi Capital Business Finance comments: “It is clear from these results, as well as anecdotally, that the media sector is less optimistic about the Brexit vote than others. What is encouraging is the percentage of those who are anticipating growth, as although this markedly fell by 16 per cent immediately after 23 June, it has since dramatically risen 11 per cent with a strong number of Media organisations positioning themselves to see significant expansion up until April .”

Media SMEs outlook over the next three months

2017 2016
Q1 Q4 Q3 Q2 Q1
Significant expansion 8% 3% 3% 5% 7%
Modest organic growth 37% 39% 32% 45% 38%
Stay the same/ no change 39% 38% 46% 33% 35%
Contract/ scale down 10% 9% 15% 13% 11%
Struggle to survive 6% 6% 3% 3% 7%
Net Growth 45% 43% 34% 50% 45%
Net Decline 16% 16% 18% 16% 18%
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