The UK's post-production sector needs a trade association fighting on its behalf if it is to survive as part of the television-making process, writes Will Strauss.
That's the verdict of a group of prominent post industry figures assembled by Broadcastto discuss the future of the facilities market in the UK.
Speaking at a specially convened meeting in Soho, the group of managing directors, facilities directors and post producers agreed that the best way for facilities to achieve a better relationship with broadcasters and producers is to set up an independent body - like producers' alliance Pact - to speak on their behalf. It could even benefit the broadcasters and producers themselves as the trade body would be able to monitor and maintain standards in training and service.
Online Post managing director Toby Daniels, discussing the idea of improving communication with broadcasters, said: "The reason why it will currently never happen is because we don't have anyone voicing our opinion or lobbying the broadcasters. We don't have an association of any sort that says to broadcasters, 'this is the way you have to work with post-production companies'."
Daniels was not alone in supporting the idea of a trade body. Dan Gable, dubbing mixer and facilities director at Resolution, reasoned that its existence could help to push through some sort of "Indie quota" equivalent.
"The question is what would we want a trade association for? Importantly, it could mirror what happens to the indies where they have an agreement with broadcasters for a certain percentage of work. This is not carried over to the facilities. There's no agreement to say indies have to farm out their work to independent facilities. So what happens is that production companies buy their own kit and we're getting ousted."
David Brady, client liaison manager for Soho Editors, even believes the group could be a help to producers using facilities. "The value a producer or broadcaster could get from an association of this type is at accreditation level," he said. "It could measure how we treat our staff. Make sure that our kit is up to spec. And ensure that we will not charge over the odds. The suggestion being that if you can work with one of these accredited facilities you are guaranteed a certain level of service."