Experienced TV design company Ortmans Young International (OYI) has been forced to close, writes Sam Espensen.
The 15-year-old branding specialist ceased trading last week citing problems with reduced budgets, the unstable nature of commercial broadcasting and increased competition for pitches as the reasons for its closure.
OYI is the fourth such company to fall foul of the struggling UK TV design business in less than 18 months, following the demise of Red Pepper ID, Pittard Sullivan and Hobbins Sides ( Broadcast, 19.7.02 and 10.8.01).
OYI was responsible for design work on Channel 4 and Five news, Smash Hits channel and Kerrang! channel branding, among other credits.
Founder and managing director Marc Ortmans told Broadcastthat he felt changes in the pitching process contributed greatly to OYI's demise: "It's got totally out of control. The number of people asked to pitch for a job is now huge. I discovered that for one£10,000 job, 10 people were asked to storyboard.
"Pitching fees are either non-existent or very modest. And as a result of the hunger in the industry, people are putting in an awful lot of work and dedicating too much time to pitching.'
He also believes that commercial problems faced by broadcasters have led to a downturn in business: "People aren't firm about business at the moment. We had a lot of postponements and cancellations due to the uncertainty of the economy.
"Of course, budgets have been cut and a lot of work is being done in-house to reduce spending, and there's a lot of debt-ridden broadcasters."
He added that a doubling of his rent in Soho last year was a contributing factor: "By far the biggest debt is to the landlord."
Debts outstanding as a result of the closure will be dealt with as soon as possible. "We always practised a Robin Hood approach to our business, but inevitably people get caught in the crossfire," said Ortmans. "We will make amends as soon as we're able to on the back of future business."