Many of us will recall, in years to come, the story of the time in 2020 (and perhaps beyond) when we discovered the words ‘Coronavirus’, ‘COVID-19’, social distancing and ‘furlough’. Not to mention clapping for the NHS, lockdown, wearing masks in public and the shocking daily toll delivered on the nightly news about the ravages of the virus on the world’s population.
Live Streaming

In what has been a series of firsts for the population, it has also been a series of firsts for many of the world’s most beloved events. Sporting, music and live events have registered, in many cases, the only occasion that their particular event was cancelled outside of wartime.

The Olympics for example, The US Open, Wimbledon to name just a few. Many great music festivals such as Glastonbury, Coachella, Burning Man and Download Festival have been cancelled as well as renowned events like the Geneva Motor Show, Basel World Watch and Jewellery Show.

Whilst many of us crave sporting and cultural events, the shift to streamed performances has also seen a shift in the huge volume of trade conferences and events being held virtually, where the only alternative is to mothball the event. This brings the opportunity to expand to broader international audience and reduce costs - the drive to present these events online has now become a reality. Amongst this sudden online shift, it is clear to many that (paid) live-streamed events may well stick with us for some time to come.

In the same way that business world has responded to the need to change their communications strategy to reach their customer community, many enterprising artists have begun to produce shows for their fans via live stream. The prospect of lockdown wiping out an entire year of events has meant that the need to monetise performances and events to an audience now in lockdown has become a reality.

‘BTS’, the leviathan K-Pop boy band, recorded an astounding lockdown ‘first’ recently, with their 2020 ‘Bang Bang Con’ live streamed event that shocked paid stream event nay-sayers by, recording a staggering USD20m in online revenue and a record 756,599 paying viewers. Tickets ranged from USD26 - 35 a time for the opportunity for fans to see their idols exclusively in colour monitor mode. This then conclusively proving that streamed events are a performance medium that has real potential.

Since then, music artist Laura Marling and her Union Chapel show has proven that there is an audience at all ends of the spectrum for ‘pay-for-view’ style ticketed entertainment in music, such as there is in boxing and other sports via television. Other artists such as Garth Brooks and Blake Shelton have also used the “drive-in” to perform “live” to fans in multiple locations simultaneously across the US.

All these types of events have risks in delivery and to the bottom line, and considering how to respond to these is not any different. If this is the new reality, and events being ticketed to an exclusive online audience takes hold in the manner that pay-for-view events have with television, then some new risks can come into play.

There are a few key risks to consider when thinking about protecting and insuring streamed events:

  • Cyber – the rise in streamed events has driven a whole new level of fake ticketed or ‘fake host’ live streamed events. The possibility for a cyber-attack on a legitimate event remains high, such as a Data Distribution Service (DDS) denial of service attacks or the threat of cyber extortion.
  • Technical & Transmission Failure – Technology can be unpredictable, so if you are relying on the revenue from an event and have exclusively hired a location, incurred production expenses and galvanised a workforce, then the failure of your streaming hard/software can leave you seriously out of pocket. Transmission failure for uplinks/downlinks can also be hugely disruptive and can also cause major headaches with networks, sponsors and fans.
  • Artist Illness/Accident/Death – The most common of causes for cancelling or rescheduling an event are often the illness of the artist, an essential band member or an accident. Temporary illness, accidents and in some tragic cases - death, have all caused shows to be cancelled, abandoned or rescheduled. Time and money will all be lost in the cancellation or rescheduling.
  • Localised Force Majeure – Events such as power cuts, flooding or adverse weather can easily put an unfortunate stop to the best-laid plans. This is the same for filming a live paid stream as it is for any other type of show.
  • Travel Delay – Another common cause of disruption to any show can be the impact of production equipment not arriving in time, or in one piece. The inability for those essential production members being able to get to the event or perhaps even the possibility for localised lockdowns causing travel chaos or curfew need to be considered.

There are of course many other reasons, and when sourcing risk management and insurance solutions to deal with the outcome of plans not working out, it is essential to have experienced professionals helping you protect your interests.

The insurance community is responding to these trending developments with existing and in some cases, new solutions. Gallagher has a team with over thirty years’ experience to assist you in the journey in making the move to live streaming and virtual online events.

The sole purpose of this article is to provide guidance on the issues covered. This article is not intended to give legal advice, and, accordingly, it should not be relied upon. It should not be regarded as a comprehensive statement of the law and/or market practice in this area. We make no claims as to the completeness or accuracy of the information contained herein or in the links, which were live at the date of publication. You should not act upon (or should refrain from acting upon) information in this publication without first seeking specific legal and/or specialist advice. Arthur J. Gallagher (UK) Limited accepts no liability for any inaccuracy, omission or mistake in this publication, nor will we be responsible for any loss, which may be suffered as a result of any person relying on the information contained herein.