What does the Royal Wedding mean for us



The recent announcement of the royal engagement has triggered a wave of national euphoria – at least at the thought of an extra bank holiday in April next year. But, for us broadcast professionals, it also brings a welcome boost and a much hoped for additional income to our cash-tied industry. It is one of only a few indicators showing that the long broadcast recession may be nearing its end.
A boost for our industry
The royal wedding is expected to benefit the UK by bringing in a potential income of £620 million. Of that, London is expected to receive a £50 million boost simply from visitors coming over to try to watch the procession, or join in with the wedding fever that is likely to hit our streets and parks or, of course, from buying the souvenirs that are already being churned out.
The wedding of Prince William’s parents was viewed by 750 million people around the world and, although we can’t anticipate how many will watch this one we can expect some of the income to filter into the broadcast market. With spin offs, documentaries looking forward and back as well as into the lives of Prince William and Catherine Middleton the boost could be even more significant.
It’s all down to odd numbers
Much of this can be put down to the fact that the royal wedding will take place in an odd year. Not odd as in strange; odd as in numbers. Most of the large OB companies relish the even years – with the World Cup and the Olympics bringing in large amounts of income. However, they have always suffered during the following odd number years, finding it difficult to balance their books after needing large amounts of kit in the even years, followed by limited demand for it in the odd years.
However, this time we are likely to see demand holding up next year, an odd year, and that should help companies to gear up for the Olympics in even year 2012.
Springing back after a long, harsh winter
In the last couple of months I have visited several of the large rental houses and they were still busy in November – something that has been almost unheard of in the last few years. In addition, orders are already being made to reserve equipment for the royal wedding weekend in April next year. Hopefully this feeling of optimism will continue into next year when the harsh realities of January and February bite.
ITV has also recently reported that it is now back in the black – mainly because of an increased advertising spend. This is probably the fairest indication that the market is returning, as ITV is the bell-weather in our industry. Therefore, we should all be feeling optimistic that 2011, and the subsequent Olympic year, should be better for our industry.
Crystal ball gazing
So, royal wedding apart, what are my predictions for next year?
First, there will be more bad news: probably another post-production house will go bust in February.
But there will be some good news: cinemas will sell tickets to watch live 3D images of the royal wedding.
Prime Focus will delist from the London stock exchange.
Carlisle won’t sell the Mill for £150 million.
Rental houses will have a bonanza two years but at least two companies will merge or consolidate.
HD migration to tapeless format will continue apace.
Market consolidation will continue amongst manufacturers.
Watch out for an acquisitive Avid.
Will only the turkey be stuffed?
So, while you are eating your Christmas turkey and trying to relax after the long December haul, think optimistically about the next year because, if you are going to make any money, the next couple of years is when it is going to happen. However beware of January and February as they will be tough.
After that, make hay, because it has been a long time since the sun shone on the broadcast industry – and who would have thought it would be due to a royal wedding?
Merry Christmas and a prosperous odd New Year to you all.
To read more of these articles, visit our website www.azule.co.uk. 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.

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