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The Red Carpet Economy Suffers in the Pandemic

Marion Charatan

Posted on April 24, 2021 14:06

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Businesses that provided services for the Oscars have lost revenue because the 93rd Academy Awards Show will be virtual again on Sunday, April 25.

It's been my tradition to watch the Oscars every year. Some shows are better than others. Just like last year's broadcast, the 93rd Academy Awards will be virtual with no host once again.

What does this mean for businesses connected to Hollywood's most glamorous night? One word--disaster. The so-called 'Red Carpet economy' refers to the ancillary businesses that provide services during Hollywood's award season. In years past, a whole entourage of workers, from event planners, DJs, florists, hair and makeup stylists, photographers, limousine drivers, parking attendants, waiters, bartenders, and other gig employees, will lose significant income they had relied on. The Hollywood Reporter called the loss of jobs 'a brutal hit' for thousands of people who may not be known to the public but have been long-standing viable contributors to the Oscars. Except for the past two Academy Award shows, the Red Carpet economy was the busiest weekend for behind-the-scenes employees of the star-studded show.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, caterer Sean Heyman who had, until recently, prepared food for multiple after-parties, said business has dropped significantly: "I had a full-time assistant and she pretty much ran the office. And I had to let her go."

Bread & Wine Catering shut its doors last month. Co-owner Daniel Flores said, "We might just shutter. I've been waiting to see what's happening." The business's Awards season catering budget, per event, averaged $100,000. After 19 years of supplying food for clients like Apple and Netflix, owners said there is a good possibility they may never be able to reopen.

Red Carpet Systems usually booked 150 events during awards season. They ranged from the annual party Elton John hosted post-Golden Globes to SAG Award functions. The prices were $7000 for a 35-foot set up for a red carpet. CEO Toni Kilicoglu said the company will potentially lose 30 percent of its income due to shutdowns.

Celebrity Red Carpets took a 35 percent hit in revenue and had to furlough 8 employees. CEO London Moore said, "The staffing that we would normally use to have guys go out there and set up stuff with big trucks, all that's gone."

Hotels room rentals have been negatively impacted, too. The Beverly Hilton, home to the Golden Globes, was always booked during awards season. In prior years, the hotel's International Ballroom hosted parties four to five nights a week. A good portion of the hotel's income came from award season events. Previously, in the time period from the Rose Bowl through the Oscars, all 566 guest rooms in the hotel were sold out--but now there are many unoccupied rooms, even though The Beverly Hilton launched its "Healthy Hotel" with UV robots and electrostatic sprayers operating to create a lower-risk environment.

Hopefully, Hollywood's Red Carpet economy will flourish once again and jobs will come back to businesses and workers who, in the meantime, are struggling from lost income and adding to unemployment rolls.

Marion Charatan

Posted on April 24, 2021 14:06

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