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Campaign Brief (AUS/NZ) Online.
Campaign Brief Magazine : November December 2008
T VC PRODU CT IO N Samway: “When years are very good people think you can just be a production company and the way your business has been for the past however many years will continue, but when things change, whether it be technology or a financial crisis, people need to re-look at their business and this is not such a bad thing.” better than the ones that don’t, so we are hoping that is true.” For J onathan Samway, exe cutive produce r at Prodig y Film s, 20 08 has be en a y ear when people have been fo rced to think ha rder about what their business offers. “When years are very good people tend to think you can just be a pro- duction company and the way your business has been for the past how- ever many years will cont inue, but when thing s change, wh ether it b e technology or a financial crisis, peo- ple need to re-look at their business and t his is not such a bad t hing,” says Samway. Prodigy, for one, opened two new companies - multi-media company, The Thi rd F loo r, a nd PR firm, Prodig y Public Rel ations, w hich was established 18 months ago and before t hat opened a Melbo urne and Auckland office. Con side rin g a percen tag e of Prodigy’ s business i s in se rvicing overseas production companies into Australia, he sees that as a hedge agains t what may come . This is because wi th the Australian do llar weakening, Australia is onc e a gain looking at tra ctive a s a plac e to shoot. Overal l, he ’s optimist ic abou t 2009, saying the financial crisis has made a lot of splashy headlines, but there’s s till briefs coming thr ough. He do esn’t expect the real impact to be felt until June/July next year, which gives people time to shore up their businesses. “I t hink something will come , I just do n’t kno w wh at i t wi ll l ook like yet. You can’t have a downturn of t hat magnitude and it not have 40 CAMP AI GN B RIEF Friedmann names higher crew costs, higher location fees, construction costs, recent payroll tax issues, workers’ compensation costs, and facing the prospect of production budgets that have stalled at 2001 levels as the biggest challenges. Clients think all you have to do is make a TV ad and stick it on their sites. The truth is that web content - movies, ads, shorts, etc, - have to be completely unique to stand out on the web. It makes free-to-air or cable TV look tame in comparison for content,” says Toia. Toia: “From the calls I’m getting from other directors around Australia things are not good at all. You know it’s bad when you get several emails a week from directors looking for new homes. Most of them blame their current production company or their producers, not the current economic climate or themselves.” an impact,” says Samway. Some thing that will hold Australian production companies in good stead is that they have been lean, competitive and hard working over many years - this latest is just going to demand more of the same. “If I was in America, I would fe ar this big-time, we don’t have middle management in production compa- nies, we don’t have the largess that sometimes accompanies t hose big - ger companies and the staffing and the buildings and th e con ditions,” says Samway. Sproul for one thinks the financial downturn has already affected local production work: “There’s definite- ly nervousness, which impacts on budgets, and in fact many jobs are fal ling ove r at the l ast mi nute, because companies are just not pre- pared to spend the money on pro- duction. They’d rather wait and see what is happening in the economy.” She expects next year to be quite tough, especially because the down- turn is having the same effect inter- nationally: “This means that c om- peti tion is very stiff, wi th every director g oing for ever y job that comes their way, and producing for less than usual. We are focusing on Australia, UK and the US markets, but I expect all markets will be very tough next year.” Ceccaldi concurs that the financial cri sis has a lready been felt with major clients choosing to re-run last year’s ads, which means there is less work to quote on. “A s a res ult of the tighter economic cl imate, w e seem to be collaborating with agen- cies at a much earlier stage of pro- duction and pitching, helping deter- mine the best and most economical viable way to approach a campaign. We’re now seeing more boutique agencies that are working on inter- esting client briefs and on a more project by projec t basis. Many of the principals front ing these new companies have come from estab- li shed n etwor k power hou ses . They’re choosing to work in a more innovative way,” says Ceccaldi. Toia s ays those not noticing the economic downturn are either with the hottest production company in the countr y or kidding themselves, adding that he’s had quite a few producers from other production companies c alling him looking for work. Additionally, says Toia, a lot of international production houses are scouring the world in search of work and he expects competition in the world marketplace to hit a new high. “We are getting a lot of big offshore productions houses wanti- ng to align themselves with us as well, this is normally a sign of de s- peration,” says Toia. While Australia remains his lead market, Toia i s goi ng to start tar- get ing Japan, Asia, China, India and the Middle East, markets he’s dabbled in for years. Admitting he’s a ‘pessimistic bas- tard’ he pre dicts some casualties in the local market: “The small ones will go f irst, the low and middle rung direc tors market is going to get hammered by this downtu rn. This is just an unfortunate fact. The big name directors will drop down i nto t he mid dle mar ket because they have to a nd the agen- cies will really take advantage of this. Why wouldn’t they?” 7 NOV E MB ER/DE CE MB E R 2 0 08
Awards Dec 2008
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