‘We will come back stronger’ – PRG’s new CEO, Stephan Paridaen

PRG’s new CEO reflects on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the company and what the future may hold for the live events market.

PRG CEO, Stephan Paridaen.

What do you hope to achieve in your new role as PRG CEO?

“My goal is to ensure that all the markets in which PRG is involved pull together to harness the collective talent around the world. This will mean we come back stronger as markets begin to re-emerge and together we can aid the development of new markets, such as virtual production and hybrid events.”

How has PRG faired since March 2020?

“It varies from region to region. However, our work in the film and TV markets has gone from strength to strength. Nevertheless, like most, we have struggled tremendously with other markets particularly touring, theatre and corporate. That said, in all three of those markets, we sought hybrid solutions and now boasts several studios throughout the world, allowing us to offer virtual productions.”

Has COVID-19 changed PRG’s business model? 

“As we go forward, virtual productions and projects harnessing the creative capabilities of extended reality are here to stay on top of our work within live events. There was a quick learning curve when it came to virtual events but now, we are in a position that when live events return, we have another offering with virtual studios in key locations such as LA, Nashville, Paris and Hamburg. This feels like the beginning of a new evolution as we benefit from the development in the gaming industry as well as improvement with media series, LED and camera technology. Notably with Unreal Engine it is creating the next level of story telling.”

How is the health of the global events market? 

“It’s clear that the live events market remains extremely important but at this point in time it’s unclear how the market will emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, in mainland Europe lockdown measures have been enforced again, so it’s hard for promoters and organisers to take the risk in Q1. Our virtual capabilities, however, allow us to provide customers with alternative solutions.

“On top of this, there is also the issue of global crew shortages. There is a huge amount of talent in the industry, especially with those who have transferable skills beneficial to other sectors. There has been a great deal of movement in the past few years and when the sector returns to full force, the worry will be finding the right people.

“At PRG, we have been working on various schemes to bring people in-house, rather than using freelancers as a way of hanging on to talent as well as enhancing pre-existing training schemes amid the pandemic to ensure new hires are trained to a higher level than they may have previously.”

This article originally appeared in issue #267 of TPi, which you can read here.