Media: Opinion - All hail the saviour of the ad industry: the super-producer

The flurry of start-ups going on at the moment, and the number of client organisations realising that they have to seriously reorganise how they do things, means there are a lot of people worrying about the future, and the structure they should adopt in order to face it.

It must be terribly worrying to do so, because it's very obvious that the media and marketing landscape isn't going to settle down any time soon. And it's not going to shake out. And neither will the dust settle.

Well, I guess it might, but not until Moore's Law runs out, the global population stabilises, climate change gets fixed and ITV decides if it's going to put the news back on at ten o'clock. Failing all of this, it's clear that we're facing a roiling, turbulent future full of RFID 2.0, locative spam, DNA fingerprint voucher validation and bans on advertising to impressionable people.

What on earth is the ideal agency or client structure to prepare for all of that? Obviously, I don't know or I wouldn't be spending my weekends writing for Campaign, but here's a thought it would be easy to overlook.

Anyone who now starts up a communications business without some sort of well-connected super-producer at the heart of its operations risks being completely unable to execute all those splendid cross-platform ideas they'll constantly be having.

The big agency networks seem to have correctly diagnosed a shortage of talent out in the world, and they're throwing global HR titles around willy-nilly, but they don't yet seem to have spotted the fact that many of the most talented and interesting people don't want to work full-time for that kind of business. They prefer to freelance, to work more flexibly, to serve several masters.

In this sense, the whole agency business is going to become much more like the production of television commercials or movies: ad hoc teams of appropriate experts put together to do a particular job.

This situation will only get worse when you're not just looking for lighting cameramen, but for Ruby On Rails developers and geospatial installation artists. And for this you'll need some version of those legendary Rolodexes and little black books, you'll need that cerebral database the super-producers carry around, telling them who works well with whom, who can never be put in a room with whom, and who can't be trusted to pass a pub.

Add that knowledge to the ability to cajole, seduce and bully the talent into doing the right thing at the right time and you've got a crucial 21st-century skill-set. It makes you wonder why you seldom hear about producers as principals in a start-up. Maybe you will from now on.