How are this summer’s line up of major events, such as Euro 2012 and the Olympics, affecting indie production? Five leading TV producers give their view on the impact of all the big events on commissions, kit and crew
Richard Thomson, md, Wall to Wall
At this stage, we haven’t seen our business significantly affected by the events of 2012. The main disruption appears to have been triggered by the scheduling departments, with most indies left wondering whether their programmes will go out pre or post Olympics. On a purely practical note, it has been more difficult to obtain OB units, large screens and other production equipment, as we discovered making The Voice UK. To complete our studio set, we had to specially import more screens as none were available in the UK. However, given more people will be watching TV, surely the summer of events can only be a good thing?
Melanie Leach, md, Twofour Broadcast
The myriad of events taking place this summer has resulted in a number of unexpected opportunities for Twofour, from producing a significant documentary series as part of Channel 4’s Paralympics coverage to celebrating the jubilee for Sky Atlantic with God Save the Queens. There is undoubtedly pressure in terms of securing facilities but we’ve found that suppliers are keen to try and accommodate our needs ahead of non-domestic producers who may be parachuting in for just a few days.
Nick Bullen, md, Spun Gold
I don’t feel this year’s events are going to create a production hiatus. We’ve produced programming around the Diamond Jubilee with All The Queen’s Horses: The Diamond Jubilee Pageant for ITV. I don’t feel channels are commissioning less. They are now focusing on next year and the need seems great. The channels have got the money, and it’s the indie’s job to prise some of it away from them. Every event needs to be celebrated and every event needs alternative programming scheduled against it. Take your ideas and get out there and sell. There are plenty of slots to fill and if you’re not knocking on the door, you won’t be heard.
Howard Myers, md, Rival Media
At Rival, we’re fortunate that roughly half of our commissions and revenue come from outside of the UK, so we’re less affected by the ups and downs of factors like the British economy and big events that take over the schedules. Saying that, this summer a lot of our favourite crew and suppliers are either unavailable or working to capacity, especially the OBs and edit flypacks. We’ve not noticed any particular downturn in commissioning activity at the main UK broadcasters, which is good news, but I’m not looking forward to a summer of travel hell in London.
Liz Tucker, md, Verve Productions
For us, the upcoming summer of sport and festivities has not really impacted on business and that seems to be the general consensus amongst most of my colleagues in the indie sector. As a niche company, I made a decision early on that because of the huge range of programming being developed and commissioned around these events, the most effective strategy for us was not to compete in an already crowded market place, but to offer commissioners and viewers something completely different. And indeed our major current project, a powerful but ultimately tragic human story, could not be further away from the Olympics or the Jubilee.