Is your TV production process moving forward or stuck in the old ways?

Recently I received an email from an “Institute” claiming that they were researching the current state of the global TVC production industry.

They said that they had read several of my posts on the TrinityP3 site and considered me to be an expert on the international TVC production industry. Of course, I was extremely flattered to be labeled as an industry expert. The email then went on to propose that I forward my insights to them so that they could incorporate them into their “white paper” on the global production industry as it now stands.

It did not take long for the penny to drop (having a healthy cynicism is one of the most important traits a production expert should have). Of course the “Institute” would use my insights and re-brand them as their own, passing themselves off as industry experts and perhaps even make an income from their new-found expertise without doing the hard yards, many years of hands-on experience and constant monitoring of the industry. So I declined their kind invitation to share my specialist knowledge with them, instead to continue to share it here with you.

The state of the television production industry

But their invitation did make me think that the current state of the TVC production industry is one of confusion, mistrust, and fear, in fact this could be said about the advertising industry in general. I will keep my generalisations to TV production and television as an advertising media.

This confusion is partly driven by the impact of technology on the advertising industry and particularly the production industry. The cost of entry into the production arena has dropped as digital technology has made production equipment and the process more cost-effective. In fact, it is so cost-effective that many companies, and particularly their marketing departments, are building video production capabilities in-house to cost-effectively produce the huge amounts of video content many marketers need for their content marketing.

So back in the early days of television onward, if you wanted to advertise on TV you went to an advertising agency and they took care of everything to do with TV advertising, from script to on-air scheduling and everything in between. But now things have changed.

Now an advertiser has a multitude of options: you can buy each and every agency service individually from any number of specialist service providers, you can bring the whole production process in-house and contract the experts you need when you need them or you can still leave it all up to the agency. The reality is that advertisers are now tailoring their production models to what suits them and their needs. Continue reading

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17 ways advertisers can make their advertising production more transparent

In light of the recent ANA Production Transparency Report in the US, and the growing trend for the ‘Big 6’ Networks to establish separate brands for production services, here is a list of key considerations for your current agency contracts. TrinityP3 believes terms and conditions should be transparent, and not support hidden agendas, especially where an agency may engage a related production supplier. So here are our seventeen areas or principles when reviewing your agency and production contracts:

Review your agency contracts regularly – The contract should contain transparent terms, which are clearly understood by both parties, and reviewed at least every third-year due to technological advancements and process efficiency within industry practices. Do you know exactly what the terms and conditions are of your agreement? If not, you should, transparency is paramount.

Be clear on the type of relationship your contract defines

Contracts are generally one of two formats. This is either one of Principal and Agent, or alternatively Principal and Contractor. Where the Agency is acting as an Agent, the Agency has a fiduciary responsibility to act in the best interests of the client, and procure production at the best possible price. However, where the contract engages the agency as a Principal and Independent Contractor, often terms allow for the agency to mark-up or provide less disclosure and transparency over the sourcing of external production services.

There has been a recent shift towards these agreements where the Agency acts as the Principal with production suppliers, to limit the ‘risk’ of audit and potential compensation in the case of a breach of terms of the agreement. The Agency engages suppliers, which are often deemed external 3rd parties (although often related), which are not subject to the terms and conditions of any Master Services Agreement.

Investigate contracting third party production companies directly

A direct Production Services Agreement with the related 3rd party production house is always recommended, which should include the same transparent terms as the Agency agreement, and especially include the right to audit. This supports the move away from ‘fixed price’ and ‘non-auditable’ external production agreements, which are common within the industry. Continue reading

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What are the biggest challenges facing marketing today?

Back in February this year we had our twice yearly get together in Sydney will all the TrinityP3 consultants from around the world, including Michael Farmer, our new Executive Chairman and the author of the best selling book “Madison Avenue Manslaughter”. Every six months we get the gang together to review and discuss the business and plan the future. Last February this conversation led to the changes you see on the TrinityP3.com site today. It was started with a conversation with Michael around the trends and challenges facing CMOs and their organisations, which could be summed up in one word – GROWTH – or more specifically the lack of it. Continue reading

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Addressing the ‘alternative facts’ of advertising production

Living in a post truth world full of alternative facts and fake news may seem like a recent occurrence to some. But a real fact is that in advertising broadcast production there have been alternative facts for many years that survive the test of time and are perpetuated from one generation of agency producer to the next. These alternative facts assist the agency from having to address the issues that plague the production category and alleviate the advertiser from ever having to worry about taking action to close the loopholes these alternative facts obscure. Loop holes that allow the agency and production house to operate without accountability and at an increased margin at the advertisers expense. Here are a couple of these alternative facts and their implications from the many that shroud the advertising production category. Continue reading

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Why advertisers should never accept a ‘sound-alike’ music track for advertising

The international scandal from New Zealand concerning the court case between the publisher of Eminem’s song Lose Yourself and the National Party of New Zealand reminds us why advertisers should be very careful when it comes to copyright, music rights and intellectual property. During my career as a copywriter I witnessed on so many occasions situations that could easily have ended up in the same embarrassing court battle that the National Party of New Zealand is currently facing. Continue reading

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Is the Year of the Rooster an opportunity to address a few major issues for advertisers?

The Chinese Year of the Fire Rooster starts tomorrow on January 28, 2017 and lasts until 15th February 2018. Astrologically we are coming out of a pretty confusing period of time and entering a rational and constructive period. The Rooster gives the year that just begins some of the characteristics of the bird it has as a symbol: ambition, pride, the desire to be admired, punctuality and courage. Most importantly the relationships between people will be under the sign of great honesty. Continue reading

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Corrupt and illegal advertising production practices in advertising agencies?

It was with great interest that I read an article in The Wall Street Journal (Dec 6 2016) detailing how the US Department of Justice is investigating advertising agencies in the US for manipulating the tender process especially for the production of TV commercials. The concept of the agency acting as the production company is not a new one and has been an effective way to produce television commercials in the past. What is of concern is the way the agency and their holding companies manipulate the bidding process to circumvent the competitive process and maximise the profits from their clients. Continue reading

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Marketing management predictions for 2017 by the TrinityP3 consultants

Each year the TrinityP3 consultants work with marketers, advertisers and procurement professionals to improve the marketing outcomes for those organisations. We do this across a wide range of categories and marketing channels and disciplines. Each TrinityP3 consultant is an industry subject matter expert and their exposure to the range of issues and challenges facing these marketers provides incredible insight into the emerging trends facing the industry. Continue reading

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How to attend the shoot or edit without leaving the office

When you hear about technology and innovation in television production it is usually focused on what new whizz-bang visual effect can be achieved with the latest piece of expensive computer effects equipment. And every director will want to find that next television commercial production to try it out on. But there are also many technology innovations that actually reduce the costs associated with television production. While these will not necessarily make the headlines of the media or even the production trade media, they are creating a quiet revolution in the 21st century approach to production. Continue reading

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How using a facilitation company for that overseas TVC production is costing you money

A few years ago I wrote a post on the issues associated with shooting overseas. At the time the strong Australian dollar meant that shooting offshore was an attractive opportunity for advertisers and their agencies. My how much has changed in a couple of years and with the vagaries of the foreign exchange rate.Today the Australian dollar makes shooting domestically more attractive, yet there are still many overseas markets that represent great value for advertisers, especially in a global production market hit by the low growth economic conditions. Continue reading

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Managing marketing: the death of advertising and the power of creativity

Sean Cummins, Global CEO of Cummins and Partners talks with Darren on the difference between the Australian advertising industry and that in the USA, the fact that advertising is not dead and the need for advertisers to have more fun with their advertising to deliver greater effectiveness and make a difference to the marketplace. Continue reading

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How consumer goods brands can turn the talent casting process on its head and save.

While the headline particularly points out consumer goods brands this approach is applicable to all brands with well-developed strategies and disciplined implementation.This could apply to all types of categories, but is probably not as applicable to services industries. The reason being it requires taking advantage of longer term planning as a way of optimising the cost and contracting of talent be it actors or voice over actors for the production of broadcast video and content. What is required is to effectively turn the current process on its head and use longer term processes to negotiate the right talent at the best possible but reasonable cost across a multitude of channels and markets. Continue reading

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There are great production deals, but here’s why you the advertiser are not seeing them

If you believe some of the headlines there is no one advertising on television and yet the 13 and a half minutes of advertising every hour on commercial television appears to be full of commercials. The trade media are busy showcasing the latest campaigns from the major brands with the latest 60 second of 90 second director’s cut of television commercial on YouTube as the headline visual for the story. So clearly television commercial production is still happening, but perhaps not at the volume seen in the golden years of advertising and not with as many multi-million dollar budgets. Continue reading

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Where do those props you paid for end up after the television shoot?

There is a couple I have known for many years that work in the production industry. She is a stylist and he is an art director. They have a lovely house in the country and they often brag it is totally furnished and decorated from the props and wardrobe from commercial production shoots. This is not unusual actually, as the practice is quite common and most people in the industry know about it. However, in this case they took it to a whole new level. Basically, various advertisers have funded their whole holiday home furnishing and decorating. How does this happen? Continue reading

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How do you get the right production value for your advertising?

Now the following is true and I was a party to the events as they unfolded. The moving media (television or video production) involved an actor talking direct to camera. The agency art director thought that the actor needed to wear a suit to give him an air of authority and conservative values. The agency art director also wanted the actor to wear an Armani suit as the cut and drape of the garment would also give the actor a presence of sartorial elegance and personal wealth (both good traits that would wash-off onto the product). Now the suit was black so it was very difficult to see the cut and drape at all. But this was only discovered after the set and actor were lit at the studio on the shoot day. So there is some argument that the production value of a designer suit was misguided. Continue reading

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