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December 2017

In the magazine
Only available in print
  • The Televisual Commercials 30
    Jon Creamer introduces Televisual's exclusive annual report, the Commercials 30, and finds that while budgets are down and production companies are under threat from agency in-house units, commercials producers are finding new horizons beyond ads too.
  • Commercials 30: Best in Show
    Commercials producers also get to vote for their favourite directors, stand out ads and top rated agencies along with their favourite post houses, editors and vfx ops. We reveal the results
  • Commercials 30: The Top 30
    Televisual reveals the Commercials 30 itself, the 30 top rated commercials production companies in the UK
  • Music in Motion
    So what’s next for the music behind the commercials? Will it be another year in the ascendant for London Grime perhaps? Portugese house? Afro beats or the Angolan kuduro sound?
  • Televisual Factual Festival report
    Last month saw Televisual's annual Factual Festival return to Bafta. How to stand out in a world of ever increasing viewer choice was the big theme this time. Tim Dams reports
  • Alison Kirkham in interview
    At the Televisual Factual Festival, the BBC's controller of factual Alison Kirkham outlined the shows the corporation is looking for in the year ahead
From the magazine
Available to read online
  • 2017: the year in review
    Two very different stories – the rise of SVOD players and the Harvey Weinstein abuse allegations – defined TV’s year. Tim Dams reports
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Commercials 30 2011 Back to Reports & survey Listing

A snapshot of the feedback from producers about the issues facing them in the year ahead

Another recession
Unsurprisingly, a major concern for commercials producers, along with everyone else, is “the financial collapse of the world,” as Passion bleakly puts it. Quite apart from the local difficulties of the commercials production world “‘It’s the Economy stupid’” that is a worry for the year ahead, says Not to Scale.

Risk aversion
“The threat of continued troubled waters with regard to the world’s financial markets has caused clients and agencies to continue a cautious and frugal outlook,” says 15 Badgers in a typical complaint. Uncertainty about what lies ahead in the economy has meant clients and agencies are less willing to take a creative risk. “The really exciting creative scripts are few and far between,” says Another Film Company, which means producers are having to spend more time and effort “chasing the limited good work that exists and having to be more resourceful than ever,” says Gorgeous. But risk averse clients and agencies also mean more involved pitching processes. “Pitching standards are exceptionally high, seemingly clients would like to see finished commercials before they decide to make them,” says Picasso. That risk aversion also means decisions are taken down to the wire. “Decreasing lead times and ever more involved pitch processes put a huge strain on production,” says Knucklehead.

Falling budgets
The challenge, for production companies that live and die on their creative reputation, is to “keep creating innovative work and pushing the boundaries,” says Stink while budgets become more constrained. Falling budgets don’t allow producers to lower their standards so the trick is now “balancing delivering outstanding creative work with budgets that are challenged,” says Independent. The challenge is “retaining the quality of our output in an environment dedicated to reducing schedules and budgets,” echoes Studio AKA. But in a tight market, a further concern is that competition between production companies could lead to undercutting. “Competing against companies who drop their mark-up to ridiculous levels,” as Smuggler puts it, is a further concern.

Beyond the TV spot
The challenge for all commercials production companies in a market where brands are more and more keen to promote themselves in ways beyond the traditional TV ad is to become much more than commercials production companies. “We want to stay focused on how brands engage with their consumers,” says Blink. And “the trend is less through traditional TV advertising as an interruptive media and more through brand participation and direct engagement. Branded content will probably dominate in the future.” For Rattling Stick, it’s about “remaining relevant and current to agencies as they continue to develop their ‘new media’ offerings.  Managing our profit margins and growth as we move into other forms of ‘communication’, which historically have significantly lower budgets.” Diversification is the key, and all commercials production companies, to one extent or another, are trying to move into other areas. Mustard, for example, is looking to “webisode commercial campaigns for clients direct for their websites. Client film sponsorship and ad-funded longform opportunities.” With others trying out installations, virals, branded content, features, shorts, work for fashion shows and apps.

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