Photolink’s Craig Johnson on BBC’s move to Media City

Photolink Creative Group’s commercial director Craig Johnson recently caught up with The Drum to talk about the BBC’s move to Media City. Here’s what he had to say...

“The BBC’s move to Media City is the most exciting media innovation in the region since the Manchester Guardian was established. Not only does it present the region with another opportunity to be seen to be leading the UK, it will act as a hugely powerful catalyst to the local economy which will have repercussions reaching further than we can even imagine.

“So, will the City of Salford get the recognition it deserves? Being the BBC’s new home will certainly raise its profile to the rest of the world. This is a fantastic opportunity for the region, and I’m disappointed in the doom mongers that say our digital talent will all migrate across to the BBC, leaving a staff and skills shortage so significant it’ll keep the region’s creative business owners awake at night. Ok, so it may throw up some teething problems in the immediate term, but these are far outweighed by the limitless, long term opportunity that the BBC’s move up north presents. Yes, the talent could be able to command more money, and staff retention has the potential become a fierce competition, but business owners can address this now by putting longer-term incentives in place that are linked to the success of the business.

“For the first time, digital agencies are in the exciting position of being able to attract levels of talent to the region that were previously unsustainable due to the finite digital opportunities here. From a business development perspective, agencies will have the chance to grow at an unprecedented rate by providing solutions for the growing number of new businesses set to flood the North West marketplace. It’s heady stuff.

“Finally, for everyone in our industry to benefit from the move, we do need to work together. I wholeheartedly applaud the efforts of Manchester Digital and its Digital Skills Summit, at which David Edmundson-Bird, director of executive programmes at Manchester Metropolitan University Business School, called for internships to be paid so that they aren’t solely an endeavour for the rich. This makes sense; if the industry offers more paid internships, by the time the BBC opens its doors in Media City, the North West will be bursting with strong digital candidates – skilled in account management, SEO, PPC as well as design and development – ready to service the increase in demand for digital staff. It’s a good thing that the region’s talent has such an insatiable appetite, and there’s no reason whatsoever that we should ‘lose’ them to the BBC if we invest in existing and prospective employees. But we have to start now.”

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