The Insider's Guide to Production: Survival of the Fittest

The production world is keeping pace with the evolution of digital, but those outfits that don't move fast will struggle

Here's another one of those arresting statements about the growth of digital: "The average 18-year-old today doesn't remember a world before the internet."

Well, good for them. But unfortunately (depending on how you look at it) the "average" person in the production world can. And looking at the business from that point of view, it is easy to see why so many companies are pushing themselves to stay at the cutting edge.

A seismic shift has taken pace, where many of the traditional boundaries in the production process have become blurred by technological innovation. There's also downward pressure on fees, a greater temptation for creative agencies to buy a few more Macs and take some production bread and butter in-house, and all that nasty chatter about the "death" of the 30-second spot just won't go away.

Times are tough. And all these factors add up to make the importance of moving with them abundantly clear.

The big question is: are people really prepared to do it... and really invest in digital? Unlike some not-too-distant relations in the wider world of marketing communications, the production industry's answer has been an overwhelming "yes".

You can see for yourself in the opening pages of this insider's guide as, this year, we've decided to move with the times too - collecting together the chatter about digital opportunities at the beginning, before moving through the production process.

And with all this investment in new talent and technologies, the relevant parts of the production world should be well placed to take advantage of another tried- and-tested soundbite about teenagers: "The average 14-year-old of today doesn't remember a world before PlayStation."

Well, lucky them... I can. It was really annoying: you had to go outside and climb trees instead. Not much chance of finding an advertising opportunity up the top of one of those things. But games on the other hand - now there's an opportunity.

In fact, as ideas that work across any platform become key, moving-image commercials production has been thrust into a new phase. Making things work across different digital media is a nettle the industry is already starting to grasp.

Those Sony Bravia "balls" have been spotted bouncing down the digital escalator panels at Tottenham Court Road Tube... and it is fair to assume work of that kind is just the tip of the iceberg.

For the more forward-thinking companies in the industry, all this change can only be a good thing. And one added benefit for the entire sector is the process should swiftly dispose of anything other than excellent businesses.


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