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Media Work

December 21st, 2009

signpost1With thousands of Graduates and youngsters eager for relevant experience within the media industry, the UK National Council for Work Experience are experiencing their busiest period yet. The Council’s brief is to promote, support and develop quality work experience for the benefit of students, organisations and the economy – particularly important given the number of unemployed 16-to-24 year olds in the UK rose recently to 952,000, the highest figure since records began in 1992.

With fewer jobs and tighter budgets across the global media sector, businesses will naturally be looking to offer placements – a rare opportunity for candidates to gain industry experience, enhance their CV and hiring capabilities. But on what terms should businesses offer such opportunities. Should they at least be covering expenses and a minimum wage? Laws vary from country to country but certainly in the UK limited term (2-4 weeks) unpaid experience is allowable. [The UK minimum wage for workers under eighteen years old is £3.57, a development rate <> of £4.83 per hour for workers aged 18-21 inclusive and £5.80 per hour for workers aged 22 years and older (rates from 1st October 2009). This is different in America, where each state is responsible for its own minimum wage rate.

The subject of payment and wages presents very different opinions from business to business. What is clear is that for individuals considering a career in television, work experience offers the chance to gain an insight into the industry and to learn about different job roles and working arrangements. Most importantly, it can help them to build up contacts, which as we all know, are hugely important in this industry.

In a difficult economic climate and ever-developing industry, it is unfortunate yet inevitable that exploitation takes place. However companies and bookers should remember that there is a huge gulf separating untrained workers vs. trained and experienced workers, though both are eager to develop their talents and experience.

Creating and educating new talent is vital for keeping the industry alive, that much is obvious. Work experience can be as beneficial to companies as it is to individuals. In monitoring an employee a company may well find an individual worth investing in, after all, where are tomorrow’s camera operators, cinematographers, make-up artists etc. coming from?  Comments welcome!

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Posted in: The Weekly Wizard

The Age of the Engaged

December 8th, 2009

As we drop the curtain on 2009 and look through the moody clouds and stormy weather to 2010, media strategists will be gathering to discuss what the New Year will have in store. The first decade of the ‘Noughties’ (00’s) has seen Big Brother rise and fall, social contact between friends and family grow increasingly virtual, and the general rise of the ‘always-on’ society. Whether Apple or BlackBerry, our smart phone delivers information and storage at our fingertips; anytime, anywhere (unless you travel on the South Eastern train from London Victoria around 18:18).
So, the passing of Big Brother leaves an important legacy: the expectation of audience interactivity. Our highly-connected society now clamours to vote contestants in or out, throwing themselves wholeheartedly into the satellites of gossip, recordings, T-shirts and online applications. The challenge therefore for 2010 will be the alchemy now required to make commercially successful programmes; ride with what’s hot and to avoid what’s not. And crucially for the bottom line to make sure that all bases are covered: the SMS deal, the online advertising, the mobile application revenues, the recording contract rights share and so on…complicated.

In a year that has seen the need for potential advertisers to make every marketing penny count, the importance of brand positioning and targeting will surely be on their mind when it comes to working with both producers and broadcasters. Both the government’s acceptance of product placement and a brave new interactive world make that possible. So begins the age of the ‘engaged’?

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Posted in: The Weekly Wizard