Pandemic hits entertainment


It is 14 March 2020 at the Hilton Park Lane, London and there is an air of unease at the sixth British Ethnic Diversity Sports Awards, BEDSA. Not something that I have ever witnessed before at any high-profile, glamorous event.

“Until the very last minute, we were uncertain about when lockdown would hit us”, emphasises Rajan Singh, a pioneer and leading veteran of the UK’s Asian Entertainment and Media industry, during one of our regular on-line meetings to assess the impact COVID-19 is having on the business world, and on the entertainment sector, in particular.
Rajan is the architect of the BEDSAs and collaborates with Sporting Equals to organise this prestigious event. “It would have been a financial challenge and a huge disruption all round if we had to cancel”, he adds.

The six hundred guests and celebrities from the world of sport, healthcare, entertainment, media, armed forces, multi-nationals, big and small business, braved the evening to acknowledge the participation of people of all ages from around the country.

As ever, celebration by nominees and winners alike was a testimony to their commitment and achievements, captured on live TV, was poignant Families and friends were proud of the achievements being honoured.
To follow – BEDSA 2019 photographs of: Rajan and one of the key winners – if need be!

Rajan is also the architect of the Asian Viewers TV Awards, AVTA. Ash Verma Consulting has been partnering and sponsoring these events for many years.
The AVTAs in December 2018 and 2019 were held at the Heathrow Hilton Hotel. Each of the prestigious televised gala events were attended by some 500 Asian and non-Asian TV businesses, professionals and, of course TV, Film and Music personalities, especially from the UK and Bollywood.


“So, with all this lockdown, social distancing and working from home, no more lights, action, camera for a while then I say to Rajan”, as we consider options for moving forward creatively and at the same time see how the many businesses – caterers, photographers, technicians, performers, not to mention sponsors, can play their part in entertaining audiences, when it is safe to do so.

A New Normal seems to be a source of topical and often forward looking, if perhaps premature, conversation across all sorts of sectors, at least for now. The UK’s multi-billion entertainment and media (E&M) industry and all those small and medium size enterprises involved in it directly and indirectly seem to be side-lined, for now.

The impact is devastating on live performances and event management companies that connect people and businesses from around the world. Millions of revenues lost or under threat, thousands of jobs at risk. That is the reality staring them in the face for some time to come.

The industry was estimated last year to grow in the coming years, making it one of the largest markets in Europe. It would have been worth £76 billion by 2021 according to accountancy giant PwC’s latest Global Entertainment & Media (E&M) Outlook 2018-2022. The events industry is a £11 billion activity.
UK Asian businesses and consumers are characterised by a healthy blend of Western and Eastern lifestyles, tastes, behaviours, and interests. We understand this market and work closely with leading Asian TV, radio, and news channels.

New ways of working, sponsorship and collaboration with the UK E&M industry, in partnership with leading Asian and non-Asian brands will now have to be found to reach the UK Asian Diaspora and indigenous businesses through mainstream and Asian TV and news channels, such as Star Plus, Sony Entertainment Television, Zee TV, Hum TV, and Aaj Tak, ABP News and NDTV. These channels, some with their own on-line platforms provide bespoke product-placement and sponsorship solutions to help businesses that want to benefit from the purchasing power of the Asian Diaspora in the UK and in emerging markets.

Awareness of wellbeing in all aspects of life is now critical too – there is no getting away from it. COVID-19 has put a spotlight on this. None more so than on the health and economic inequalities amongst many of the UK’s four million strong Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic – BAME communities. An added horror for the UK Asian Entertainment and Media industry that was forging ahead in recent years with its ever-increasing relationship with Indian Cinema and entertainment. Bollywood and multi-national brands have been an ever-present symbol at these and other major events.

The evening provided us with an opportunity to praise the inspiration and support that entertainment and media companies provide in helping businesses to grow and encourage business owners present to forge even stronger ties with the Asian and wider business community.

Ash Verma Consulting have been proud sponsors and supporters of the BEDSAs and AVTAs from the beginning. In 2018 we were delighted to sponsor the Music Channel of the Year Award won by B4U Music and presented by me and Surbhi Chandna from Bollywood, winner of this year’s much coveted AVTA Female Actress of the Year Award.

pandemic hits entertainment 2

Last year we partnered to sponsor the Soap of the Year Award, won by Bepannah. The award was collected by Harshad Chopda.

Ash Jai
Ash Erica

The world of entertainment came through the global financial crisis. It will get through the coronavirus pandemic. People are social animals who simply need to interact, now more safely.

“Health and wellbeing will be the order of the day, we have challenges ahead, and opportunities to play an even bigger part as be rebuild the BEDSAs and AVTAs, maybe even new events” Rajan reasserts . I nod in agreement!

Entertainment will bring back joy and a smile on the faces of the young and old, the lonely and the sick. Businesses need show-business to reach out to customers. Young people need role models and inspiration. Our business to business events is a good platform.
Share your ideas. Be part of this business led journey out of COVID-19 with us!