29 January, 2008 – Television for the Nations and Regions conference held in Salford
The 15th Annual Television from the Nations and Regions Conference was held in Salford on January 22nd, attracting indies and individuals from across the country.
Keynote speaker, Director General of the BBC, Mark Thompson, told the 400 delegates who packed into The Lowry’s Quays Theatre that he had never known a time when the BBC was more grateful, or reliant, on regional talent.
He also explained that the corporation planned to make half of all programming outside of London within the next eight years, in addition to moving more programming strands outside the M25 by 2016.
"Our plans include the biggest injection in regional programming we have ever made," he said, adding that he hoped the BBC would be able to "break free from the institutional tendrils that have marred previous attempts" to do that.
Although the BBC commissioned 150 indies outside of London last year, Mark Thompson expressed his desire to significantly increase that number.
Chairman of the Conference, Steve Hewlett, welcomed the news, adding that Salford and the new mediacity:uk was now right at the centre of many of the key issues facing broadcasting today. "If we get it right, we are looking at the future of broadcasting in Britain, right here, right now," he told a packed auditorium.
Vanda Murray, a Board Member for the North West Development Agency, added that the industry as a whole was vital to the regional economy and its properity, and would continue to be a priority to the NWDA. "We will continue to invest in skills, infrastructure and businesses within the industry," she said.
"mediacity:uk is a globally-significant development that is changing the international perception that the industry is London-centric," she added.
Also speaking at the Conference, Brian Greasley, MD of mediacity:uk, said he was not only helping to build a new media city, but was helping to change the way the media works. "This industry is going through a change that is quite alarming," he said. "That’s why mediacity:uk is being created here, because the talent pool we’re able to drawn on is extraordinary.
"I also think that a lot of the talent that previously moved to London to find work will return to Salford, as we attract facilities that are leading edge."
In addition to the main debates and addresses, this year’s conference also held bespoke workshop sessions on areas such as How To Make The Perfect Pitch.
Channel 4′s Director of Nations and Regions, Stuart Cosgrove, conceeded there was no such thing as a perfect pitch, but there were important elements that could make-or-break an indie’s chance of success. What was needed, he said, was a grabber headline, highlights and evidence you’ve done your research.
"Don’t start with a subject, start with a story, and do your research – make sure your pitch is appropiate for the particular broadcaster you’re approaching," he advised.
The Conference also gave delegates access to five commissioners, with a Speed-Dating session allowing indies and individuals a five-minute face-to-face pitching session.
Northwest Vision and Media’s Talent Base Manager, Ed Pugh, chaired a lively debate, Off Your Soap Box, in which some of the industry’s leading soap talent spoke about the highs and lows of making TV’s most watched shows.
Source: Northwest Vision + Media press release