Spotlight has temporarily suspended its membership fees for three months, following pressure from actors.
Last week, a petition signed by more than 500 performers urged the casting site to halt its fees, while actors are left out of work because of the sudden closures of theatres.
Membership of Spotlight costs £158 annually, which can be paid upfront or split into monthly instalments.
In an email to its members, Spotlight said the “past week has been a very stressful time for everyone in our industry, as many people have been affected by a loss of work and opportunities”.
“If you’ve been particularly affected by this crisis and are struggling to make ends meet, you can opt in to a one-off, three-month payment holiday,” it said, adding that anyone who pays annually would have three months added to their membership.
Those who pay monthly will not have to make any payment for the next three months.
All profiles will remain on Spotlight throughout so people can be submitted for any work over this period, it said.
Spotlight also said it had frozen prices, meaning members will “pay no more than last year” when it comes to renewing.
The news has been welcomed by agent JBR, who launched the petition lobbying for the suspension of fees.
JBR said: “The people I spoke to were terrified and had so much to worry about in this time of unprecedented crisis that being a member of a website was the least of their worries.
“For some it wasn’t so much ‘every penny counts’ as actual lives depending on it. One month’s Spotlight is also equivalent to one month’s NHS prescription charge for antidepressants and other medicines. When there is no work on the horizon and people are choosing between food, health or having their photograph and CV appear on a website, something needed to be done.”
He added: “I started the petition fully expecting they would continue to ignore me but hoping that if we increased the pressure they might be forced to reconsider. I’m absolutely delighted they have done it and given their members some respite.”
A spokeswoman for Spotlight said: “As soon as we understood the extent of the COVID-19 crisis on the UK last week, the team here at Spotlight immediately began work behind the scenes to plan how best we could help our members. Whilst we were always optimistic that we would be able to ease the financial burden our members were experiencing, we needed to understand to what the extent we could support them, and how we could implement the necessary and complex changes to our systems.”
She added: “The announcements made by the chancellor on Friday evening about various business support packages available allowed us at Spotlight to work out how much financial support we could offer our members through a payment holiday, while still ensuring that Spotlight is able to continue to provide our services to the industry throughout this crisis. We hope this comes as a welcome relief to those of our members who are struggling the most.”