Finance - the shooting season with Peter Savage


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Peter Savage goes biking and rediscovers that new isn’t always best for creating real impact, and that flexibility is the new game.
The shooting season has started and, with it, the weather looks (well, this week at least) as if we could at last see some summer. The light is better, the days are longer, and the summer sports programme has kicked off with the French Open, the Derby and the cricket tests.
Going OTT at the TT
Each year I try to experience an event I haven’t been to before to gain new insight into broadcast coverage. Last week I was lucky to be invited, for the first time to the Isle of Man TT (Tourist Trophy) motorcycle race and was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the North One production that covers this hugely adrenaline-packed event.
I’m no petrol head but it was great to see the enthusiasm of the crowd and, above all, the skill and nerve of the competitors. This also emphasised to me what a difference the development of head and bike cams have made to events like this. Nothing shows off the skill of the riders as impressively as the view from their helmets while they hurtle round 37 miles of country roads at an average speed of 125 miles an hour. Even more worrying were the sidecar competitors; these guys, and some girls, must be seriously mad in my opinion!
Late night viewers
The event attracts nowhere near the money of Formula One – or, indeed, football – but it wins by really immersing spectators in the action and conveying the feeling that those watching can get up close to the riders. Competitors were happy talking to punters, proving they were real people not overpaid superstars – this in itself brought a new dimension to the event and is a huge plus for niche broadcast coverage despite it having a limited audience and being confined to ITV4 late at night I imagine, though, that it attracts solid, steady numbers of viewers and the whole event shows, in my view, where the proliferation of smaller channels has helped to get non-mainstream events to the public.
A slow slog
Meanwhile, this season seems much slower than usual. Last year we were spoilt by the Jubilee, then the Olympics, both of which brought new work to the market. This year by contrast has seemed a harder slog, despite the government’s aggressive attempts to boost the market through quantitative easing and tax incentives. Most camera companies are reporting that figures are down, some by up to 30 per cent, so well done to those that are bucking the trend. I believe manufacturers will find it hard to push products into an already saturated market, and we have already seen several new incentives coming out designed to do just that.
Multi-platform routes to income and clients
As a result, becoming more multi-platform is now a must-do rather than a nice-to-have. If you look at the coverage of, say, the aforementioned TT, it had everything from live streaming, video on demand, DVD sales, YouTube and email updates – all available on the Internet. The lesson is that, if you fail to make your product multi-platform, you are surely going to lose out on some potential – and precious - income streams.
It is with this in mind that post-houses are finding that the route to the client is not necessarily through prime editing work, but in having the capacity to re-purpose existing footage into the many different formats that now form the essential income streams of rights holders. Interestingly enough, if - as has been reported in the press - CVC Capitals(the British venture capital fund that co-owns Formula 1) does make a successful bid for IMG (the old Mark McCormack business and now the world’s largest rights holder and sports manager) it will have a firm grip on some the world’s most precious televised assets. Money is obviously still there to be made out of sport, and all these properties have to be acquired onto media formats. It is up to us to understand that flexibility is now the game we must play.
Make best use of your assets
The best footage I saw at the TT was shot not in 4D by a camera that costs a small fortune, but on a small gopro camera made for the purpose which succeeded in giving a thrilling indication of what it must be like to be a TT rider. It was, of course, combined with steadicam pictures and slow motion editing; that I believe was all shot on XDCAM. Whilst not the newest of formats, it is an effective - and reliable – one, and ultimately it is what you do over multi-platforms with the acquired asset that makes your work stand out.
If you would like to know more about how your business could perform better, or read more of these articles, see our website: www.azule.co.uk and twitter @azulefinance or get in touch with me on peter.savage@azule.co.uk and/or write to the TV Bay editor.

Tags: iss078 | finance | azule | shooting | filming | loan | season | late night viewers | biking | flexibility | mark mccormack | assets | [author]
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