Subscribe Online  
 

September 2018
£15.00


In the magazine
Only available in print
  • The Production 100
    Tim Dams introduces Televisual’s exclusive Production 100 survey of the indie television sector, now in its 26th year, and finds the rise of the streamers is creating opportunity –but also plenty of anxiety. The report includes the top 100 indies, the
  • The Genre report: Factual TV
    Demand for factual is growing as channels fight ever harder for audiences. Televisual Factual Festival producer Pippa Considine reports
  • All the Fun of the Fair
    ITV and Amazon’s new Vanity Fair adaptation demanded a period drama with a modern sensibility. But how was that balancing act achieved? Jon Creamer reports
  • The Art of the Vfx Super
    Creativity, tech know-how and a cool head are essential attributes for a vfx supervisor. Three top supers tell Jon Creamer how they help create screen magic
  • Channel 4's big move
    Three cities are still in the running for the new out-of-London Channel 4 HQ and three for the two creative hubs. The indies in those cities say the potential prize is immense. Jon Creamer reports
  • IBC preview
    IBC is a great place to check out both new launches and to get your hands on something already announced at NAB. Here’s a small taste of what’s likely to be on offer
From the magazine
Available to read online
Read >>

Reports&
surveys

Commercials 30 2010 Back to Reports & survey Listing

Times are certainly still tough with budgets tight, pitches long and jobs hard to win. But most production companies reckon the clouds are clearing a little. And although the TV ad is still the main game, all producers are keen to try new things too. Jon Creamer reports

Congratulations to Rattling Stick, which spends another year at the top of the Commercials 30 after sharing the winners' podium last time with Gorgeous.

Rattling Stick had another standout 12 months creatively winning the BTAA production company of the year award for the third time in a row on the back of a host of top spots from its very small, but very high quality, roster of directors. Danny Kleinman shot the Plane Stupid Polar Bear spot along with the new Peter Kay John Smiths ad; Ringan Ledwidge directed the Department of Transport Eyes spot and the Virgin Media Backlot ad and Andy McLeod shot the Thinkbox Harvey spot.
This year's second placed company is Blink, up from fifth last time on the back of some great commercials including Dougal Wilson's John Lewis Always a Woman and Heinz ketchup's bottle ads. Gorgeous, in third place this time, also shone with spots including Barnardos Turn Around, Miss Chief for Hovis and Football Evolution for Visa.

At the time of last year's survey we were in the very midst of recession. This year, the recession's officially over - right? Wrong, of course, but there have been a few slight glimmers of sunshine breaking through the gloom, especially in the latter half of the year it seems. RSA reports "autumn bringing a sudden rush of scripts” and HLA comments that it's been "tougher than ever for the first six months but easing over the past six months." There's "still a lack of creativity generally in the scripts but at least a desire to advertise again on the part of clients." And that's a feeling echoed by HSI: "There's been a noticeable improvement in board flow since the beginning of the year with some months being the busiest on record. Creative quality, however, seems to have dropped off."

The slight upturn in business (though not necessarily creativity) felt by our respondents is reflected in the survey's figures, with the average company making an average of 64 jobs compared to 60 from last year's survey. The average production budget for a 30-second ad has improved slightly too, from a figure of £143k in last year's survey to £167k this time, although even that has to be seen in a longer term context considering the average budget was £177k back in 2007.

The average turnover of a commercials production company has, though, risen substantially to £9.7m from last year's £7.6m with most of the bigger players reporting substantial turnover increases compared to a year ago. The average number of directors on the roster of the average production company has risen too to 22 from last year's average of 17. Is this a symptom of the sector's bigger fish getting bigger and gobbling up a lot of the smaller jobs that the industry's minnows used feed on?

And if clients and agencies are pushing more work towards the tried and tested big name directors at the big name companies that wouldn't be a surprise. A distinct lack of risk taking is a complaint that runs through the responses of most of our survey senders. "The recession has clearly dented the confidence of clients, causing a palpable aversion to more adventurous creative work," comments HSI. The year's been tough due to "risk averse clients" says Bare Films in a typical response.
And that aversion to risk is evident in the demands coming from agencies and clients before the job has even been awarded. "The expensive endless pitch process is never ending with a lot of agency initiatives which have come to nothing," comments 2AM. "Pitching standards are exceptionally high," agrees Picasso. "Seemingly clients would like to see finished commercials before they decide to make them!"

And they're taking longer to make that decision and leaving ever-shorter amounts of time to produce the finished article. There are "shorter lead times," and it takes a "longer time to confirm a job," reckons Gorgeous. And, even when a client does confirm it, the tightness of the budget means "procurement [departments are] producing ridiculous cost questionnaires without help from their inhouse TV department," says Great Guns. The demand that production companies come up with new ways to cut costs can only go so far. "Shooting video with digital stills cameras doesn't negate the need for quality crew that need to be paid commercials rates. We still need locations, art department, editors etc," says Epoch.

Many production companies are also noting that the middling budget ad is disappearing with only the blue chip and the very cheap now up for grabs. "It has been a case of feast or famine," comments Independent. "Projects have either been well funded or, at the other end of the spectrum, not properly funded. The former have been highly competitive to secure and the latter very challenging to deliver creatively in light of financial restrictions."

But the lack of bread and butter middle ground TV work is something that's been increasing over a long period and production companies have opened up to new opportunities. The survey shows that our respondents still derive 77% of their work from the traditional TV spot but almost all are doing, or trying to do, business outside of this. For some that's shooting the stills for the print campaign too, or making interactive online ads, or creating installations, or longer form 'branded content.' As Hotspur and Argyle puts it "The opportunities are everywhere right now and everyone's becoming a potential client."

More Chapters

 



Televisual Media UK Ltd 23 Golden Square, London, W1F 9JP
©2009 - 2017 Televisual. All rights reserved
Use of this website signifies your agreement to the Terms of Use | Disclaimer