How is the commercial production industry bearing up at present?
From industry-wide belt-tightening to advancing technologies, the dwindling importance of TV and the growth of online, commercial production has changed a lot of late.In a series of articles featuring the questions surrounding commercial production, The Drum catches up with low budget TV and digital ad specialists STV Creative, creative audio company Kalua, video guide producers Flixity, TV and radio commercial production specialists The JMS Group and animators Flaunt Productions to take stock of the industry and find out what we can expect to see going forward.Today’s first question is: How is the commercial production industry bearing up at present? Has the economic climate meant a decrease in the commissioning of new commercials? Are clients increasingly re-hashing old work instead of investing in new?Stephen O’Donnell, head of STV Creative, STVGiven the economic backdrop, I think almost everyone has found the last couple of years to be challenging. This year we’ve managed to continue our growth but that’s been based on good old fashioned hard work, our commitment to excellence and building strong relationships and trust with our clients. We’ve been nimble enough to react to the changing needs of the market - we’ve innovated, restructured, invested in new technology, built a strong network of proven freelance talent and at the same time managed to retain our existing talent. I’ve got a great team which is passionate about doing excellent work and that’s stood us in good stead through an incredibly challenging economic climate.Francesca de Lacey, head of TV, The JMS GroupI think the industry is definitely having to work a lot smarter these days. Even national clients are looking to make every penny count and think of ways to get on TV for a lower cost, so we’re seeing an increase in graphics-based productions compared to shoots for instance. We’ve found some clients have dropped TV because of the climate, but this has been out-weighed by an influx of new clients who are being tempted onto ITV regions and the numerous satellite channels. Investing in new work is continuing but it’s under the remit of watching the pennies and finding ways to keep the cost down. (Yes there is some re-working of earlier productions but clients still do appreciate that audiences get bored with old ads so there is a keenness to create something new where budgets allow).Jack Garrow, director, FlixityThe past year hasn't been great – Flixity has noticed a lot of clients adopting a 'wait and see' approach. However also have to say that 2012 has started well, so maybe there is a light at the end of this tunnel...Paula Lacerda, executive producer, FlauntI think there are still plenty of good potential projects out there to be won or opportunities to be explored with existing relationships. It's becoming a lot more about close collaborations between supplier and client, and whereas a few years ago we would have just received approved scripts from which to pitch on, nowadays we are finding that the most successful projects we've done and pitches we've won have been in cases where early collaboration with the client has taken place. The situation with the economic climate means that pressures are at an all-time high to deliver the goods and trust in who you work with becomes one of the key main factors in a successful production.We have noticed a slight decrease in the commissioning of high end commercial content in Scotland, however, as we have for some time been working with clients on a more global scale we've fortunately been kept busy with a number of high value contracts. There seem to be a lot of enquiries from clients wanting to explore routes that won't cost them much, can get done in record speed and at the same time have the production values and longevity you would expect from the higher valued campaigns. Sometimes this means re-hashing old work, but it's in our creative interest to constantly output work that is recognised for the right reasons and we will always try to persuade clients to opt for a fresh approach that meets their goals within their financial means. Gav Matthews, MD, KaluaI think overall the industry is holding up well, certainly from a radio perspective. Clients are still investing in new creative for campaigns, but in the current climate, more focus is being placed on the effectiveness of the commercials. With spending budgets being cut, there is no room for creative that sounds great but doesn’t deliver – and I’m all for that. Sponsored by:
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