In an ever-changing landscape, Broadcast has been at the forefront
I didn’t get the warmest of welcomes from one early contact when I joined Broadcast more than a decade ago. “But you’ve never made a programme in your life!” he said, incredulous. “Does an ad agency showreel count?” I asked, immediately wishing I hadn’t.
But he was right. I had a lot to learn, despite what was, back then, a simpler world, without the likes of SVoD, ‘trending’ and tapeless workflows. The Communications Act 2003 was my baptism of fire and, asked to analyse its impact, I called the great and the good, eventually getting to terms with the Terms of Trade thanks to a certain plain-speaking Scot.
I remember the shock of my first Mip. Not the drinking and debauchery – I could handle that – but the lack of TV glamour in the sweaty pit of the Palais, where shows were flogged like fridges. Where was the pedestal to unveil your ‘baby’?
Business realities under my belt, I could get on with the fun bit: the programmes. Indeed, I had a job many friends couldn’t believe existed, where you could talk about telly non-stop, and where you got to meet the people in the shows and those making them. Sometimes in Monte Carlo (though more often in Shepherds Bush).
Of course, there have been good times and bad at the helm of the ‘TV bible’. A decision to relaunch and ditch the unwieldy broadsheet size for a tabloid would “finally see it off ,” I was told in 2007. Still going strong, the mag became A4 in 2008.
Sadly, like many media businesses during the economic downturn, the team shrunk with it. Yet we’ve always strived to give our readers more: digital newsletters, glossy photoshoots, awards, conferences, business breakfasts, a podcast and our upcoming tablet app – all testament to the talented writers, art editors, ad, event and production staff who give their all for a title they’re proud of.
Our 50th anniversary book in 2009 was a particular moment of pride, a chance to celebrate Broadcast’s place at the heart of the industry – where it continues to be, despite arguably more seismic changes in the past decade than any other.
Broadcast has reported, supported and, when warranted, criticised. It’s always a fine balance for any editor of a trade title to be a critical friend. This was put to the test recently with the Expert Women campaign – initially dismissed, now viewed as a model for wider diversity monitoring – and last year, when we highlighted widespread concerns about indie relations with C4.
It’s never personal: we went on to spearhead an important debate on the previously unmentionable tension of the buyer/supplier relationship with major controllers at Edinburgh. Sky’s announcement this week – a bid to address concerns – is a rewarding result of those efforts. I look forward to continuing this dialogue with Broadcast in my role as Edinburgh director.
There are scars as well as trophies during a decade I’ll never forget.
Lisa Campbell is editor of Broadcast