As if no time has passed since last Christmas, the festive season is upon us and Xmas cheer is all around. Sticking with our own tradition of a themed view on the broadcast industry specifically, and the wider economy in general, here are our wish lists for Santa.
- A good story about the banking industry something that makes you sit up and say they really arent all bad, greedy and corrupt. Im not sure this is possible as the entire banking industry seems to have let itself down by finding ever more creative ways to break the rules, or make new rules for its own benefit, and, yes, I know I work in the Industry.
- More government incentives for the film, TV and gaming industries the latest set has seen a significant shift of production back to the UK so its more of the same, please from me. Its a success story that makes me pleased that a government has listened and learned and, no, I am not pro-Tory, as you will see later; Im a pragmatist who likes to see things work.
- Make the market pay for talent again far too much of the pricing of all forms of technology is about commoditising the industry rather than paying for talent. Its not the price but the UK talent industry, combined with tax incentives, that makes us a market leader.
- A true format stabilisation whether it be 2K or 4K, or whatever, lets get the industry to agree on the format and the types of workflow. There are too many manufacturers bringing out different standards. In the days when there was one format, the market remained consistent for 10 years. This allowed planning, investment and, from a financiers point of view, slowed down asset depreciation and allowed us smaller niche players to invest in new business instead of continually investing in new products.
- More incentives for people to invest in training across all walks of business life, too little is done to promote effective training. Everyone in our industry accepts the runner culture starting at the bottom and moving up the ladder by hands-on experience. There is nothing wrong with this as a method but the problem is the level of pay. Wages are so low, and our business so London-centric, that it discriminates against people from poorer backgrounds who live outside London. If proper training was tax deductible then real apprentices could have their income subsidised through tax incentives resulting in a greater diversity of people coming into the industry.
Five dont wants
- A 3D telly for xmas at last I have been vindicated for my this format will never take off forecast of Xmas 2011. Yes, it has its application in childrens TV but the formats are now so good that true 4K viewing seems generally to have a similar depth with increased sharpness but without impairing your vision. This must be the way forward and, yes, I do promise not to harp on about this again.
- Another daft new camera you know the one; it comes out superseding the previous one, but at half the price, in a knee jerk reaction to the market, claiming to be the xxx killer. This constant churn destabilises genuine capital investment and depreciates assets. Manufacturers: dont just follow the market! Be bold and bring out something better!
- Another company phoenixing itself out of trouble this is one that I bang on about every year and, yes, I visited a small audio post-house pre-Xmas for a catch and maybe the possibility that they might need some more finance. This is a company that, from 2008, has traded itself out of a rather dire situation. It didnt take the supposed easy option of folding one day and re-opening the next. As I chatted with the MD, he said that his proudest pitch is the fact they have been around for 20 years and paid every bill and still manage to compete with a company that has phoenixed a couple of times and is now in CVA (creditors voluntary arrangemnt). I raise my glass to that company and hope that someone will change the law to make it more difficult to operate this unholy practice.
- Another conversation about leaving the EU with offices in the UK, France, Germany and Eire, we at Azule are European traders. The market in TV, broadcast and media is a global market. We need to be included in a global economy. Yes, there are problems with EU membership but business doesnt get enough say when the focus is on politically-driven debates about immigration. Remember that, as long as all things are equal (all people pay the same tax rate, for example), economic migration will be driven by a demand for people to fill vacant jobs. Thats no scare story.
- Another trade show I dont know about you guys but it seems to me that we are constantly at trade shows ¦ with the same suppliers, the same manufacturers and not a lot of customers. Its the same for TV, film, lighting and sound each with its own niche shows. We seem to have forgotten the main purpose of these events to make money. As a French exhibitor said to me in a typically honest Gallic way, why should I talk to you trade when I have paid so much for this stand? I have to talk to customers to make money. (You would be right to imagine that his words were rather more colourful, but thats the gist.)
These wants and dont wants are my personal opinions and are topics that can be expanded next year if you, the readers, want to carry on these trains of thought. Or perhaps you have your own beefs? If you would like to continue or start a conversation then email me at email@example.com. And my final want? A happy Xmas and a prosperous new year for us all.