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How's business this year?

16 June 2010

Midway through 2010, we ask four bosses from the indie TV, corporate and commercials production sectors how business is faring. Are things looking up? Or is a double dip recession on the way?

David Green
CEO, DCD Media

The dearth of UK production contracts has bottomed out and, after a disastrous 2009 for the indie TV sector, the worst is definitely over. Although the second half of 2010 remains uncertain, the sales growth in TV advertising for the complete year should be around 5%. As recession-hit UK broadcasters continue to drive down production fees, indies have looked elsewhere to increase revenues: growing their international production footprints; transforming themselves from service providers to owners of their intellectual property; embracing international distribution; and seeking out new ways of doing business such as co-pro and ad-funding.

Katy Eyre
Managing director, Jacaranda

So, what’s happening to the corporate market in 2010? Business is picking up, but not necessarily from traditional sources: public sector work could all but disappear. However, sustainability is still high on the stakeholder agenda, climate change is a hot potato and the Third Sector is alive, kicking and shouting about it. Plus, with digital convergence, we are seeing creative sector boundaries evaporating, hastened along by those who hold the purse strings looking ever more eagerly for creativity, professionalism and the Holy Grail...measurement and return on investment.

James Studholme
Managing director, Blink Productions

It’s never easy to compare years in creative businesses – particularly commercials production. That said, this has been a pretty busy six months for us. Busier than last year. The highlight being Dougal Wilson’s 90-second John Lewis ad that has had the nation’s ladyfolk weeping. It has never been harder to make money though. There is ceaseless pressure to reduce budgets. Clients apply increasingly draconian methods to bring this about. Procurement is purely on cost. The relationship between price and value is completely askew. The commercial production market is becoming less diverse as niche operators are driven out of business.

Laura Mansfield
Joint md, Outline Productions

Midway through 2010, there’s an overall feeling of increased confidence. We are as positive as you can be in an industry where no one honestly knows what’s next. Last year for us, like many TV indies was about putting our heads down and focusing. It paid off, with Outline securing four original and returnable fact ent formats, and getting them into first series, with two already in second series and selling well internationally. Technological change, from 3d TV to the iPad is coming faster than ever, and it’ll be the most imaginative and fast moving companies who capitalise on these emerging opportunities. We’re doing that by forging partnerships with gaming, digital and live events specialists.

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