Quotes of the Week: ITV, Robson Brown, Brass, The Big Chopper, CIPR, Newsquest,
It’s a bit of an epic Quotes of the Week this week folks, but it’s been a bit of an epic week for news, as the Robson Brown situation rumbled on and redundancies were unfortunately at the forefront of several company’s thoughts. Meanwhile it was also a big week for ITV which announced that it would be moving to a new north west home.
With the announcement that ITV was to open a production base at MediaCityUK, and also move Coronation Street from its home for half-a-century Granada Studios, chief executive Adam Crozier, commented; "Coronation Street is an incredible brand and as we celebrate its 50th anniversary, it’s fantastic news that we are able to invest in the construction of a modern production centre to ensure that the nation’s best-loved soap remains at the top of its game for another half a century."
Paul Taylor incoming CEO of creative development organisation Vision+Media was pleased with the news and felt that it would have a positive effect on the media sector in the north west: "I hope that we will see with the opening of BBC North next year a serious re-engagement by ITV with the talent of the North West which has served it so well both creatively and commercially since Granada first launched,"
The same days as the MediaCityUK move was announced, Ofcom revealed that it would not be changing the ITV network cost sharing agreements, despite the broadcaster wishing it. In response, an ITV spokesman said: "Ofcom acknowledged earlier this year that the existing networking arrangements result in ITV significantly subsidising the non-consolidated licensees on an annual basis. Given the value of our PSB licences this is not sustainable and action will be needed to overhaul this outdated regulation to reflect purely commercial, market-driven agreements with no subsidies. This would allow for a straightforward relationship to exist between ITV plc and the non-consolidated licensees."
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Meanwhile, STV, one of the regional Channel 3 licence holders praised the decision, with Bobby Hain, director of STV, welcoming the response: “This is in accordance with the recommendations made by STV and the other non-consolidated licensees and provides certainty for all."
Elsewhere, the situation regarding the future of Newcastle creative agency Robson Brown continued, as new owners emerged to buy the name and image rights for the agency, a subsidiary of The Mission Marketing Group, ThinkBDW, rather than the directors of the agency, who had prematurely announced their takeover. Kevin Coates, director of administrator Zolfo Cooper, explained: “After discussions with a number of parties we are pleased to announce that we have been able to secure the sale of some of Robson Brown’s assets. We wish Think BDW Limited every success in their future endeavors. We would also like to thank the employees and directors for their continued professionalism and help during this exceptionally difficult time.”
Another creative agency under scrutiny this week continued to be Leeds based Brass, which admitted that redundancies were on the cards. It was not the consultation period however that was in question, but rather the way in which the agency had handled the situation, having originally denied the consultation.
“We have identified a number of roles that are at risk of redundancy and are in consultation with the individuals affected. That process is likely to conclude this week but until then we are unable to comment in any more detail publicly due to the ongoing nature of these discussions,” John Morgan, CEO of Brass commented following an outburst of anger on The Drum website by commentators who refused to believe original denials.
”The lesson here is that PR agencies rarely do online PR well. Old rules do not work in the new world. Get with the times oldies!” were the thoughts of one Anonymous commentator.
Meanwhile, Paul Whitaker left a comment with the aim of bringing a positive light upon the situation. “My agency and Bax's were growing about the same time and slugged it out toe to toe if business was around - but we always had a pint or three in the Regent afterwards. A great team and a great agency! Anybody made redundant should take comfort in the fact that you were part of that success...” said Walker.
Newsquest The Herald and Evening Times also made several redundancies this week, despite the National Union of Journalists launching an early day motion against the publisher, in a bid to have it reconsider. “Newsquest continues to generate huge profits and the latest accounts for parent company Gannett UK show that the highest paid director enjoyed a £108,000 hike in his overall pay to £609,235 last year. Excessive payments for senior managers expose the corporate greed doing so much damage to Newsquest papers and websites,” the letter claims,” wrote NUJ President Peter Murray to union members to ask them to contact their local MPs and local groups, councils, family and friends to lobby against the redundancies by the publisher.
Speaking to The Drum, Sally Sykes, president of PR membership organisation CIPR for 2012 called on professionals to become better at lobbying Government to protect the sector; “We’re not a huge sector, but with things like the Olympics 2012 coming upstream, we do need a viable public relations sector which can respond as the economy recovers and hopefully the public sector people who have been displaced will find alternative opportunities and they will have more to bring to the party,” she explained.
Despite the soft launch of COSLA’s public sector notice website, Jim Raeburn, director of the Scottish Newspaper Society said that he expected newspaper to still carry the notices; “I don’t see it as inevitable that public sector notices will disappear from newspapers at all,” commented Raeburn. “That’s what COSLA and its improvement services will no doubt be hoping to achieve but the relatively low broadband connections in Scotland, the people who don’t have an interest to declare making very clear that they wish to use newspaper for public notices, they will continue to be in newspapers.”
Finally, a story that prompted more knob and balls gags than any other story run by The Drum previously, the marketing of The Big Chopper, a new chopping board that separates your raw meat and two veg, by Chapter, was unveiled. Phil Wright, explained: "So we conducted some exploratory marketing and price research and found that - despite stiff competition in the kitchenware sector - the potential of The Big Chopper was huge."