Ring out the old, ring in the new


At the start of a new year many of us will look back on the highs and lows of the last 12 months and try to predict what’s in store for us in the coming months before seeking advice on how to protect our business against the unknown.
Before making predictions for 2011 I thought I’d take a look back at key industry and business milestones over the past few years and consider the journey that the industry has been on.
When they were up they were up …
In the summer of 2007, the UK was focused on growth and my articles considered how best to set up a business. It was a strange time for a UK plc: Gordon Brown had just succeeded Tony Blair and the economy had been growing for five years quarter on quarter. The Spice Girls announced a reunion tour and David Beckham became by far the largest UK sporting brand when he publicised his move to LA Galaxy. Confidence was high and the news was all about setting out on new journeys.
When they were down they were down …
Then, in September 2008, Lehman Brothers failed (coincidentally at the same time as IBC) and, following hard on its heels, Northern Rock collapsed. The economic landscape changed overnight: cash literally dried up in the economy and there was an inevitable consequent dive in advertising revenue. The story was then about survival.
Survival of the fittest
In broadcast we saw, in fairly quick succession, the removal of the mid-range company post-houses (Rocket, Pepper, DGP, Oasis and many more). The industry needed more commissioning, better rates, no more receiverships, fewer reality shows, more films to be made in the UK, stable formats, and much more.
Staying down in 2010?
Unfortunately, a year later little had changed; and business conditions were bleak. Then, remarkably – and this is a testament to the strength of the broadcast industry – things started to get better around June.
I regularly harp on about first in, first out but, as a rule, as the economy changes gear, broadcast races one way or the other. It’s feast or famine and it always starts with ITV and the hire companies.
Why? Because ITV’s figures have a direct correlation with the amount of advertising revenue in the market. Naturally, this has a direct pull on the performance of the post-houses in London. Which then directly benefits hire company performance, because post-houses experiencing a couple of months’ of strong performance don’t have the confidence to buy larger amounts of kit so they hire equipment instead. If you take into account the effect of the World Cup and a surge in post-production activity, hire companies should be flying.
ITV to increase commissioning?
This increase in performance by ITV should have a secondary effect which I believe Adam Crozier understands well. When you have limited revenues, such as ITV has had over the past few years, you immediately make sacrifices on aspects that are core to the longer-term aim of your business. So ITV stopped commissioning original programme ideas – and started losing out dramatically on overseas sales with some of their top programmes.
X Factor, for instance, is co-owned by Sony and Syco (Simon Cowell’s company); it has been versioned in 46 countries and draws 20 million viewers at its peak. X Factor and Dancing on Ice are the last big overseas sales hits. I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here is owned by ITV but has nowhere near the same power or advertising pull; it peaked in series three, five years ago.
So Crozier, seeing the success of Downton Abbey on Sundays, understands that home grown ITV productions will keep not only keep ITV up in the ratings – but also provide a vital commodity to sell globally. So watch this space for more ITV commissioning.
Not so easy at the BBC
However, almost as a direct result of macro-economic factors, the news is not so good at the BBC. The government’s decision to freeze revenues from the license fee is likely to have real impact when ITV increases its commissioning. It takes a brave management to keep Aunty making original programmes when budgets are reduced as it means more redundancies. So I predict commission reductions at the BBC.
New predictions
So at the start of 2011, what are my thoughts about the strength and position of the media and broadcast industry? Please let me know what you think of the possibilities of any of these happening …
Twelve months of no interest rate rises
Eleven days in a row when BBC1 or ITV1 don’t show any reality TV
Ten months of growth in broadcast, starting in March
Nine new series commissioned by ITV
Eight hours of watchable 3D TV that is not sport
Seven blockbusters made in the UK
Six million flows into broadcast as a result of the royal wedding
Five new series commissioned by the BBC
Four of the top 10 post house consolidate
Three banks commit to lend to small businesses
Two major hire companies sell out pre-Olympic year
And a partridge in a pear tree.
If just five of these predictions come to pass in 2011 I believe the broadcast industry will be a far stronger than it is today.
If you have any questions or if you would like advice on buying or leasing equipment, or on management and business issues, do email me on peter.savage@azule.co.uk and/or write to the TV bay editor. To read other articles in this series, visit our website: www.azule.co.uk.

Tags: iss049 | azule | finance | new year | business | N/A
Contributing Author N/A

Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Article Copyright tv-bay limited. All trademarks recognised.
Reproduction of the content strictly prohibited without written consent.

Related Interviews
  • Azule Finance at BVE 2016

    Azule Finance at BVE 2016

  • Azule Finance at BVE 2013

    Azule Finance at BVE 2013

  • Five Arrows Media Finance at IBC 2015

    Five Arrows Media Finance at IBC 2015

  • Kit Financing with Medialease at NAB 2017

    Kit Financing with Medialease at NAB 2017

  • Pilat Media on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    Pilat Media on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013


Related Shows
  • Paragon Bank Technology Finance at BVE 2016

    Paragon Bank Technology Finance at BVE 2016


Articles
The Biggest Toy Shop in the World
Emma Morrison When Nigel Woodford started his career at BBC Wood Norton in 1962, television was black and white and BBC Two had not yet been launched. In 2018 Nigel will retire, and Richmond Film Services, the pro-audio equipment rental company set up by Nigel in 1973, can count numerous contributions to iconic moments in British cultural, sporting and film history over this time.
Tags: iss133 | richmond film services | audio rental | auction | liquidity | go-dove | Emma Morrison
Contributing Author Emma Morrison Click to read or download PDF
How todays technology platforms can make AMAZING seem mundane
Bruce Devlin - new Some things never change. It's September and it's time for another IBC. Maybe I'm getting old and maybe I have selective memory about the past, but recently there hasn't been the buzz of years gone by. Sure, as you wander around the vast halls there will be lots of enthusiastic sales people trying to give you the best demo possible, but something has changed and to survive, I believe that vendors and customers need to change too.
Tags: iss133 | ibc | class | vulture | imf user group | Bruce Devlin - new
Contributing Author Bruce Devlin - new Click to read or download PDF
Fast-moving productions need multi-cam RF reliability
Darren Bilton Wireless acquisition creates a level of freedom not possible with any other form of filming yet only a decade ago the technique was barely possible. The technology enabling live real-time connections over radio frequencies has advanced leaps and bounds such that there is barely an entertainment, documentary, sports or news format today that doesn’t benefit from at least one link system. That means the demands on the kit continues to rise and includes the need for fail safe multi-camera operation, ease of use and backwards compatibility all within a small, lightweight and budget-friendly package.
Tags: iss133 | boxx tv | wireless | mpeg-4 | multicam | rf | multi-cam | Darren Bilton
Contributing Author Darren Bilton Click to read or download PDF
What is next in OTT
Mary Kay Evans In the past year alone, we’ve seen a substantial increase in the amount of OTT content that’s being streamed. In the first quarter of 2018, there’s been a 114 percent year-over-year growth in streaming video hours, and those numbers are only expected to rise. With OTT revenue predicted to reach $16.6B in 2018, a 40% gain over last year, there’s no question that OTT is booming, and that there’s never been a more critical time to pay attention to the space.
Tags: iss133 | ott | verizon | cisco | Mary Kay Evans
Contributing Author Mary Kay Evans Click to read or download PDF
Ride along on the Tour de Tech at IBC
Lorna Garrett Finding your way through the halls and aisles of the massive IBC can feel a bit like attempting to complete all 21 stages of the Tour de France — but in far fewer days. But have no fear; your team at Garland is all geared up and ready to show you the best on show at this year's exhibition.
Tags: iss133 | garland | liveu | lu600 | media excel | teracue | wisi | broadcast wireless systems | bws | artel | ibc | Lorna Garrett
Contributing Author Lorna Garrett Click to read or download PDF