The 2010 Year in Review

Now that we’ve had a full 6 or 7 weeks to fully digest 2010, let’s review it from a Production and Media Standpoint. “How was YOUR 2010?” It felt like more of the same: There was business out there but less of it. Look, “2010” was better than “2009” because much of the fear was dissipating. Fewer people were looking over their shoulders and waiting for the next Economic or Political Calamity. We all sort of settled into this new “Economic Reality”. The “salad days” were over but at least we had our job, or in most cases TWO jobs! Companies learned to do more with less and that meant most of us taking on more responsibilities and tasks.

picture of Dinosaur smoking cigar

Here at Studio Center we saw some very positive things START to develop towards the latter part of the year and some distressing behaviors throughout the year. Behaviors that will impact all of us by producing lower quality work, suppressing employee compensation further, and lowering prices if they are not eliminated. Let’s start with the “Bad”: DINOSAURS STILL ROAM THE EARTH! There are still far too many Traditional Media Companies, Agencies, and Owners/Managers who just don’t get it. Media, Advertising, and Technology have, and will continue to change the way Customers behave and in turn, buy things! IT’S NOT COMING BACK! Much of Traditional Media stagnates while celebrating 2% growth after they have already lost half (or more) of their business. They continue to wait for Washington to stimulate The Economy so their business will come back. Shouldn’t they have been looking forward BEFORE their business crashed? These companies were printing money in the 90s and could have been investing in new technologies and products that would appeal to current and future customers. Business 101. Instead, they bought and sold each other at obscene multiples and continued to leverage themselves all the while ignoring their customers. Somehow they never figured out or cared that there are entire GENERATIONS of Consumers who have NEVER read a Newspaper or NEVER had a Favorite Radio Station! They never have and never will…UNLESS these companies drastically change their models. Rupert Murdoch’s new iPad Newspaper “The Daily” is the first sign of intelligent life out of these companies in years.

Some Ad Agencies still adhere to the “Madmen Model” of Top Heavy Shops that guard “their” accounts like a Pit Bull guards a bone. They need to adapt to the New Advertising World: Collaboration and Trust. NOBODY OWNS AN ACCOUNT! It’s all of our responsibilities to help clients get RESULTS. Isn’t that what really matters? Getting Results for the Client. We can split the pie up later. Many large agencies have already implemented and staffed their own In House Production Companies, competing with “Production Only” Companies, yet bristle if Freelance Producers or Directors contact or work on projects “without the agency's permission”. We all need to free our minds of traditional models and be willing to put our egos aside and work WITH and FOR anyone who needs our services. Here at Studio Center we sign agreements with many of our clients and competitors to foster trust and allow a free flow of information while collaborating on projects. Going forward, trust, business ethics, and doing the right thing for the client will drive business and allow for bigger budgets and better work for all. Dinosaurs will again become extinct. At the tail end of 2010, we started to see extensive collaboration from unlikely bedfellows. We began working WITH other Production Houses and Agencies FOR the betterment of the client and along the way garnered trust, cranked out some stellar work and made some new friends. Let’s all push it forward.

William Prettyman