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Giving away your product

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Simon Roughan
Giving away your product
on Jan 31, 2011 at 12:22:56 pm

Hi everybody, first time I've posted on this forum, but I read it regularly, and can't think of a better source of advice for my situation.
I am a producer at a regional tv station in Europe. When I started here 6 years ago, all the commercials were made with lots of trouble, ie camera team, full production, editing etc etc. Then I came along, and introduced them to a new way to make content; Fast and dirty (but still good quality!) with AE and C4D etc.
I am also an experienced cameraman, but sometimes when a customer has a low budget, its easier to get a logo and a couple of pics, and make something cool in post-pro from them. This caused a small revolution in our production workflow, and everybody was happy.
Fast forward to now. Nearly every single spot we now produce is only composited picture material. And made for nothing (no-budget).
I have read here how you guys in cable tv stations in the states also produce spots for nix, and make the money from the air-time costs. I appreciate how this works as a purely economic principle. But in my opinion, it is absolutely ruining the market. Its not that I can (am allowed to)produce crap in an hour or so, the spots are still expected to be high quality. But finished in a half day etc.
The sales people always argue with me that "this is the market! We have to compete with radio - newspapers for the advertising money from companys! When a radio spot costs just 50 bucks to make, we cant say to a customer we make a spot for 1000! If we have to sell a spot for what its worth, we can all go home. Blah blah blah"
My argument back is that we are television, we have a greater audience than any local radio or newspaper. TV ads are more effective, and prostigious. The spots are more costly to make. My time costs money (I am well paid, dont worry), the software and hardware costs money, utility costs money etc stc... And I can with all honesty say, the spots are good. With what I have to work with, and the time I have, they are REALLY OK. You cant put them beside national spots with proper budgets of course, but for cable spots, put beside what other stations in the country make, they definately hold their own.
I think it is just lazy for the sales department to say "the market is so; the only way we can sell, is to be the cheapest." If this was true, the streets wouldnt be full of mercs and audis.
So, who can give me a bit of advice on how to handle this situation?
What can I say to these sales people who have no idea or interest in how a spot is produced?
Its not like my job is in danger, its more of a moral dilemma. No other business gives away work or goods, why should we?
But all I hear is "its the market, its the market.."
If you have got this far, thanks for letting me rant...
Simon

BTW, how much should I charge for a days work?*



*just kidding...


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grinner hester
Re: Giving away your product
on Jan 31, 2011 at 4:53:01 pm

Hi, Simon.
I love stations that do horrible work for free. It enables me to justify my rates without having to say a word. I'll say it again... I love horrible local spots that yield no profit for the check writer. Not unlike an ambulance chasing attorney, when I see an ineffective local spot, thats who I call that day. I explain why and how they have wasted money (they really don't know until somebody tells them) then explain what I can do to help them and how much it will cost. They haggle sometimes. They pass sometimes. Other times, they know in an instant what I am saying is not a pitch but the truth and they respond accordingly... instantly creating an on-going relationship.
You'd be surprised at how many people still think advertising on local television is somehow beneficial in this ADD, tivo world. If somebody doesn't hold them by the hand and explain they are paying for folks to pee, hit the fridge, or fast forward through their dollars, it just doesn't dawn on them. Habitual behavior is often undetected until somebody points it out.



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Simon Roughan
Re: Giving away your product
on Jan 31, 2011 at 5:00:10 pm

Dude, you insult me!
The problem is, I do GOOD work for free. I always do my very best with what I have to work with. And thats the crux of the matter.
I feel like Im whoring myself. For free.


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Richard Cooper
Re: Giving away your product
on Jan 31, 2011 at 6:27:50 pm

"Dude, you insult me!"

Hi Simon,
Surely, I don't think this was Grinner's intent, but rather a general statement, that is true by the way, about the Low end of the local television commercial market and how to better sell your self in those markets.

"I feel like I'm whoring myself. For free."

The way I see it is that you are NOT "whoring" your self for free. as you said, you get paid very well. I am assuming here you are on salary? What you have to understand is that in the television ad business, the money is NOT made in production, but rather in the sales of air time. So your company most likely makes a killing selling the air time with enough money to "pay you very well" to produce the spots for them. Even though they may not charge a premium for it, they more than make up for it with the revenue brought in from the time buys. They make money, you get paid a great salary and the client gets a "good solid" advertisement that is more than adequate for a regional market. This to me is how everybody wins. If you were forced to shovel *crap* out the door on a daily basis and were paid a pittance for your services, then I would see a problem.

Bottom line, if your getting paid very well to do a job you love, again, assuming here, then it's all good. We all want big budgets so we can really sink our teeth in to a cool project! But there is value to your employer in you doing solid work on a quick turn around so they in turn can go out and make money.

Just another perspective, I hope it helps.

Good luck!

Richard Cooper
FrostLine Productions, LLC
Anchorage, Alaska
http://www.frostlineproductions.com


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Simon Roughan
Re: Giving away your product
on Jan 31, 2011 at 7:58:36 pm

Hi Richard, and thanks for your reply.
I do see your point. As I stated in my post, I understand the economics. But the fact is that there is no perspective on the cost vs. quality. I shudder at the thought of 2 of my customers meeting and one saying "I got a great spot, and it cost me 2500 to produce" and the next saying "mine cost 999, including air-time." There are a hundred ways to give a customer a good, nay GREAT deal on TV advertising, without saying "We produce for free." You will never ever get a cent more out of that customer for production again. And like I said, these are not crappy throw-away spots. They (customers and employer) understandably want a high standard of work. And this is my problem. The spots that cost quite a bit of money (relative to a small business) must look as good as a spot made for "air-time" money. Sometimes I get a clean PDF file, with good vectors that I can easily pull apart and do something with. 2 hours work, and theres your spot. Then next I get a CD full with 30 small low quality jpegs, and must redraw the logo from scratch etc etc, and it takes 2 days. Like I said before, they have no understanding of the process. And they want none.
Im certainly not being snarky, or not appreciating my job or salary. But really, what other business gives away work like this? Im being "Grinded" from my own sales dept.


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grinner hester
Re: Giving away your product
on Feb 1, 2011 at 1:19:04 am

Dude, you insult me!
Stop it. You insult yourself by whoring for free. That's not a whore, that's a willing slut. Lots of sluts are awesome at what they do, man, and lots of dudes dig it. It can make you downright popular. Stop acting like a victim when you happily hop in line for abuse.
Man up.
Stick your chest out at state your rate.
See what happens.



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Patrick Ortman
Re: Giving away your product
on Feb 1, 2011 at 4:07:16 am

Oh, man! You rock :-)

>> Not unlike an ambulance chasing attorney, when I see an ineffective local spot, thats who I call that day. I explain why and how they have wasted money (they really don't know until somebody tells them) then explain what I can do to help them and how much it will cost. <<

And I really dig this approach- mind if I steal it?

---------------------
http://www.patrickortman.com
Web and Video Design


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Simon Roughan
Re: Giving away your product
on Feb 1, 2011 at 8:44:07 am

Wow, Grinner. Such venom!
I was originally asking for advice on how to deal with a sales dept. that has no idea of the production process, and doesnt want to know. Just as long as quality spots keep flowing off the conveyor belt. I dont believe we should be giving work away for free.
Your answer was all cable spots are crap, and a waste of time for the customer.
Quote "You'd be surprised at how many people still think advertising on local television is somehow beneficial in this ADD, tivo world. If somebody doesn't hold them by the hand and explain they are paying for folks to pee, hit the fridge, or fast forward through their dollars, it just doesn't dawn on them."
So basically your advice was, or so it seems to me, is to tell a customer not to advertise on cable at all, as its a waste of time and money.

An youre a moderator on a business forum.


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grinner hester
Re: Giving away your product
on Feb 1, 2011 at 10:26:07 pm

So basically your advice was, or so it seems to me, is to tell a customer not to advertise on cable at all, as its a waste of time and money.

I do when they ask. Sometimes I just make the spot and they do the media buying. When I spearhead the whole thing, I simply put their dollars to the best use.



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Mark Suszko
Re: Giving away your product
on Feb 1, 2011 at 10:42:35 pm

Grinner makes an excellent point, Simon. When your job is just to make the donuts, you make them best as you can and that's it. If you are hired to be more than that, to be a communications consultant, then you have a duty to educate the client and help them avoid wasting their money, and this is what the hotrod editor grinman is telling you. And he's right that small-market local cable spots are a terrible way to advertise. It's just that they are often the least-terrible of a bunch of more terrible options.

Your duty is to serve the client's best interests when you are in this consultant type of job. I have several times in my career told a client "This is a job best suited to another kind of media; video is not the best use of your money this time for what you want to accomplish". In every such case, it never hurt my relationship with the client to be that honest with them. Indeed it built trust that I was there to really make their plans successful, and not just to take their money and deliver a useless product. It helped that I offered constructive alternatives and an explanation why the alternative was a better fit for that specific need. Your job is broader than just making videos, videos may only be a small part of the overall campaign. You're really in the business of solving their communications problems. Any way that's most effective. I sense that Grinner gets to be that kind of consultant often, but Simon, you're not in that position, the bosses made that painfully clear to you.

Don't think badly of Grinner for telling it like it is - not only is it just his nature, it is often his actual job to be painfully frank. There ARE a lot of bad and wasteful videos being made out there by somebody. There is also art being made. And sometimes art and commerce come together in a mutually pleasant way. It isn't the norm, but it can happen. With luck, it will happen for you eventually too.


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Malcolm Matusky
Re: Giving away your product
on Feb 3, 2011 at 12:45:32 am

Unless I'm missing something "whores" usually get paid! :-)

Working for "free" is never a good way of doing business, unless you are independently wealthy and can afford to live for free as well.

There are some projects where I have not "charged" but I did not consider it working for "free." I have done short promotional films for non-profits, but I keep the copyright, I stream the content from my website, My producer credits are at the head and tail, usually, and they may not be omitted from any venue I allow the "client" to display MY work.

I keep ownership, period, and allow the "client" to use it within very specific terms. No broadcast, unless the broadcaster is willing to run my credits, or pay.

I consider this work "advertising" for my business, advertising is an expense and I am willing to commit a certain amount of money and time to this, when people are asking you to do work for "free" and it does not promote your business, that's when you are getting "screwed."

M

Malcolm
http://www.malcolmproductions.com


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Walter Soyka
Re: Giving away your product
on Jan 31, 2011 at 8:20:43 pm

[Simon Roughan] "TV ads are more effective, and prostigious. The spots are more costly to make."

I can think of two reasons to spend more time and money producing the spots: (1) you can prove that a better, more expensive spot will provide greater lift and greater ROI than the cheaper spot, and (2) a poorer, cheaper spot would be mis-aligned with the client's brand or marketing strategy.

Some clients may be interested in spending more to protect their branding even if the ROI is lower, but most local ad buyers won't.

Remember that many of your clients don't care about advertising, production value, reach, or even branding. They are buying money. They give your station money to spread the word about their business, and they hope that their profits on the incremental sales the advertising can generate will more than offset its cost. For many local ad clients, all that matters is how much they have to spend and how much it will put back in their pockets. The spot itself is often secondary. (Gauging from local commercials in my area, some clients only care about getting their kids or grandkids on TV, and their actual products are secondary!)

I'd be very curious to see how production quality actually affects lift and ROI. You'd need to partner with your clients and do some experimentation to see if your station can really provide a better (and more profitable for you) product that will get your clients better (and more cost-effective for them) results.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Simon Roughan
Re: Giving away your product
on Jan 31, 2011 at 8:35:55 pm

Thanks Walter,
all good points to mull over.
Id love to get a crack at the customer at the selling point. My company is very compartment-alised(huh?) and Im told staight out that s not my job. Also, at work Im not speaking my first language.
I have in the last year produced a couple of big budget spots, with good results in respect of technical quality, storyline and customer satisfaction. But it is very hard for a company to measure any kind of bump in sales, without some kind of direct feedback like a phone number. One of these spots was for a well known local soft drink, another a Utility company. Both hard to measure in that respect.
Thanks again for your feedback.


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Walter Soyka
Re: Giving away your product
on Jan 31, 2011 at 8:48:37 pm

[Simon Roughan] "But it is very hard for a company to measure any kind of bump in sales, without some kind of direct feedback like a phone number."

Absolutely -- gathering the data necessary to correlate sales with advertising is very difficult!

There's a famous quote attributed to department store and advertising pioneer John Wanamaker sometime around 1900: "Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half."

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Mark Suszko
Re: Giving away your product
on Feb 1, 2011 at 5:37:16 am

Simon, you have two issues here, it seems to me

First off, your internal problem of the "grinder" being your own sales department. You can handle this two ways that I can think of. Ask if you can sit in on the client meetings and silently "take notes". Do this enough times and you can get a rapport with the sales staff about where they are over-promising or being unrealistic. You might also get some ideas you can pass along to the salesperson, to steer the production process into something that suits your needs as well as the sales and client needs, or to find more economical ways of "templating" certain projects. One such pitch to try is the "added value" pitch of hosting their spots on the web, on youtube. Cheap to do; costs just the encoding time, after the master spot is done. They in turn can add this to their newspaper and radio campaigns and web site. Youtube doesn't limit you to 30-seconds so you could do a "Director's Cut" of the spot, and let your muse run wild. If they like this, think about how you can extend this and make it something they can take to say, an annual trade show or meeting. Now you are "upselling" additional billable services, and that is always of interest to sales and management.

You could address your concerns about "grinding" to your manager, in a positive way. Expressing that you think you could do much more, if you had the chance, with some examples. Frankly I don't think this route has much hope, not in the market niche where you live. You are there because they haven't yet perfected a computer program that generates spots without human aid, and the day they do is your last day there. They don't see you as a creative partner, but as a technician, a needed expense, at this scale of operation. Your work is what they term a "sunk cost", not unlike the cost of a recording deck. But not as a potential revenue maker. The TIME BUY is the revenue maker.



The other thing I want to respond to is this idea proposed by another poster of contacting clients that you see have aired bad spots, to tell them what they're doing wrong and that you can fix it. I did this last year with a local ceramics shop that advertised on the local cable. Spot was so awful that I finally lost my mind and gave them a piece of it. Gave them a concise explanation of about ten reasons why the spot was ineffective, and how I would do it differently/better. Didn't get any response back. I didn't really expect to, but I had nothing to lose by trying. Frankly, most clients you contact this way would be insulted, I think, but as I said, I actually had such low expectations for this client, I felt it worth a risk to reach out. YOU, Simon, however, cannot do this; going around your employer to "educate" the customer will only get you fired, maybe locally blackballed as well.

The thing is, cable spots are all about the production being subsidized by the time buy, and Simon, you know this already. This is why cable co's especially like their local spots to be what we call "no-shoot" spots, all made by compositing some stills together with some canned animations and flashy fonts. That is very cost-effective, (for the cable company) and you know, every once in a while, somebody talented and imaginative actually makes something quite good and pretty that way. But it doesn't really matter if they do.

The fact is that though I could easily write and make a better spot for the ceramics shop, where are they still going to put the spot up? Yes, the local cable TV station. So I'm at a huge disadvantage, telling the shop owner that they have to pay more than they already are, on top of the existing ad buy for an ad that already runs on the cable. My fee to do a better ceramics spot would have to be a grand or two for me to bother with the hassles, and deliver the better quality I promised. Meanwhile, the time buy with "free" production included may be that amount, or less. To them, I'm just another middle-man with a hand out, asking for money. Double the money. For a spot that will be seen by relatively few people.

The value proposition of the spot being actually GOOD falls on deaf ears with most of these clients, because they are very small businesses and fifty dollars more spent per spot in the name of "quality" would be outside their margins. Of all the places that advertise on local cable, your best bet for making this special appeal to quality and effective production would be credit unions, community colleges, and local hospitals. They alone of the local businesses have enough extra money to throw at the production for creativity and production value, plus they crave a higher status and profile in multiple communities served by the cable co and they have internal marketing staffs who's vanity and professional validation can be appealed to by promising a product worthy of winning some local or regional award.

Simon, you are not going to get your Maslovian Hierarchy satisfied, working at that place. Come to terms with that. It is a steady check, and a place to occasionally experiment, somewhere in the margins. But it was not designed for what you really want to do. Your artistic fulfillment, and the proof of your worth as a creative in your own right, are going to have to come from some projects outside of the weekday job. These could maybe be commercials for clients outside of your immediate market, that don't compete with the day job. Or it more likely would be another entire genre' of video work, where you are your own boss. Web videos on various topics, for example. I suggest this so often I sound like a stuck recording, but try to find a charitable cause you believe in, and concentrate your creativity on helping them, by making some free spots "on spec". Do this in your weekend off hours at home, completely apart from the office. Unleash your frustrated muse on a potential client who could appreciate it and use it. It might lead to paying gigs where you are the boss of what is good, and to networking new contacts. It becomes work you are proud to put in your reel and portfolio. You may find that the experience also makes you a better editor day-to-day, by giving you variety of experience.

Then the daily grind at the shop will not burn as badly, because you'll have the spare creative outlet.


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Simon Roughan
Re: Giving away your product
on Feb 1, 2011 at 8:28:15 am

Thanks for that Mark. Lots of good ideas there as well.
I sort of shot myself in the foot as well. As I said above, I introduced this way of production to the firm.


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Nick Griffin
Re: Giving away your product
on Feb 1, 2011 at 11:32:08 pm

[Mark Suszko] "you are not going to get your Maslovian Hierarchy satisfied, working at that place"

Awww, Mark. Maslovian Hierarchy, REALLY?? Do you really need to prove that the money spent on a college education was worthwhile when you went into a career in video anyway? ;)

Good points, though.


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Mark Grossardt
Re: Giving away your product
on Feb 2, 2011 at 4:24:09 pm

Simon,

I've been there, man, and I feel for you.

In addition to some of the great advice above, I'd suggest finding a few allies on your sales team. Try to understand where they're coming from. In many cases these poor salespeople get hammered on by a sales manager every day. If it's not a sales manager, it's a general manager, and the message is always the same: "Get out there and sell! We need more revenue!" Sales is tough, especially in this economic climate.

Now, not every salesperson makes a good ally, so use your best judgment, but approaching a few of them with the case, "Hey, tough times out there for you, huh? What can I do to make your job easier? What can I do with this spot to really make you a hero in the eyes of your client?" I bet you could get invited into a few creative meetings with the client that way.

Consider cutting something great for one of your biggest clients as a thank you. Brainstorm with your new friends in sales to come up with likely targets to pitch. The client will definitely appreciate it and probably won’t have any problem with you using their spot as a shining example of great production. Just make sure other prospective clients aren’t aware that the spot was done gratis.

When I worked in the commercial production department at a TV station, I put together a reel with spots ranging from bottom of the barrel to higher end. In a corresponding brochure I clearly explained production costs pertaining to each spot. Sales reps could take these materials out on sales calls and let the client decide if they wanted to kick in some extra dough (and how much) to make something nicer. Again, if you’ve got friends in the sales department, and they’re really good salespeople, they might be able to coax some production money out of the clients. In our case, most clients didn’t chip in for something extra, but I was surprised by the small number that did. In fact, we had one client who ended up shooting their spot on film! If you can get a few clients like this to start building a higher-end reel, your salespeople are going to be more excited about drumming up business and making sales calls. Sales people LOVE it when they can go to their client and show off a great looking spot. And some clients might just be willing to keep up with the Joneses when they see what the guy down the street got for his spot.

Another thing to consider it approaching your sales manager and pitching a commission on production costs for the salespeople. Since it seems like you have the clout to implement new ways of doing things, you might be able to convince the sales manager that you’re sitting on an un-monetized asset. You’re not looking to squeeze the folks that can’t afford it: they’ll still get their freebie spots. But there’s no reason that the folks that can afford it shouldn’t add to your bottom line. And if there’s something in it for them, I guarantee your sales force will push hard for the upsell.

Working at a place like this can be a grind, I know. People are resistant to change, so you might not get anywhere with any of these tactics. But if you can make the argument that this stuff will add to the bottom line, they’re worth a shot.

Good luck.

Mark Grossardt
Video Editor
Clark Creative Group


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Simon Roughan
Re: Giving away your product
on Feb 2, 2011 at 4:46:55 pm

Thanks Mark, constuctive and productive advice.
Lots of your ideas have been tried already, a few not. I will definately be pushing for a updated reel with examples from both ends of the spectrum with associated costs spelled out.
Again, thanks alot.


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Mike Cohen
Re: Giving away your product
on Feb 3, 2011 at 3:41:16 am

Simon
Having read your original thread again after reading the diatribe that followed.
1. You work full time, receive a salary, and do the job set out in your job description (make ads as cheaply as possible because it is what you do in cable advertising).

2. Yet you are a creative person and you feel the need to work in a creative manner, even if that creativity is not in the scope of your directed work. Hey you have a soul, good for you.

3. The clients and the sales force who actually generate your salary do not appreciate nor acknowledge the extra creative effort.

Thus, what advice are you looking for?

If you want to do creative work that is appreciated by whomever is paying you, then you need to change careers. Grinner has the right idea - approach clients who are paying for crap and tell them you can give them something much better for a fair price. If they are insisting upon putting ads on local tv they might as well have something that does not look like a Monster Truck commercial.

Thinking of my local tv commercials - there are a few businesses in my state whose commercials everyone knows. Bob's Discount Furniture - hokey but well made featuring the owner in various green screen compositions - he's been doing these for 20+ years. Family Ford - the family of always cute kids does most of the talking. Cheaply made but gets the message across. Kaoud Oriental Rugs - cheaply made reminding me of the Ghostbusters commercials with Annie Potts.

All other local spots are in one eyeball out the other - forgettable and poorly made.

I'm afraid you might be in a Catch 22 - you want to be acknowledged for your good work by people who don't care if your work is good or not. You could try convincing them that by making the spots better you are giving the clients better value. They may not pay for it, but the acknowledgement of your efforts seems to be what you are after.

Good luck - sounds like an existential problem.

Mike Cohen


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Simon Roughan
Re: Giving away your product
on Feb 3, 2011 at 10:44:30 am

Thanks for your answer Mike.
What I probably didn't make absolutely clear, because unlike some posters here Im not too keen to splash around my firms name on this forum concerning a negative topic, is that when I say we are a "Cable" station, its probably not what you guys in the states know as "Cable". We are officially known here as a Regional Station. We have 4,5 million people in our "Cable" zone, and on sattelite, the whole of continental europe. We have among our customers big international companys that you would all know. We have the local news window for a big national channel, and according to our (and their) research marketing we have approx. 400,000 viewers every night.

We dont produce crap. I have never, ever produced an ad for a local company with their kids in a speaking part. I use only professional actors from agencies, or local theaters. We are talking about a totally differant ball park. I do quite a lot of work in a producers role for our industry films, and sometimes when I have the time, NIFS and other stuff (weather pics etc) for the news. I do have quite a lot of clout here, and am known to the boss as one of his "better" workers. I love my job, no doubt about it. A lot of people in vid production would kill for it.

My problem was, and still is, how to deal with what I find to be a lazy sales team, who have slipped into a rut that they can make a quicker turnover, selling ads for air-time, with little or no production. I make a client something sexy with Cinema 4D say, and they take it to the next customer and say, "here we make this stuff for 999, including 2 weeks on air." I say "hang on, you cant give this stuff away like that, it has lots of market worth". They say "Well you didnt have to leave your office, the software is paid for, youre getting paid anyway, whats the problem?" And its true.
Mark suggested above getting the sales dept into the thinking of their provision for the cost of production. Believe me, Ive tried that. Anyone read that book "Freakonomics"? Its exactly like the example they give with real estate sales people. They wont work harder for the extra few thousand, cause for their provision, it means just peanuts.
I think what I really might have to do, is to negotiate with the boss to get in on the provision payment scheme on top of my salary. Then I wouldnt care so much anymore. Then I really could be a whore!

But seriously, my biggest concern is to the whole market; that we are killing it with this way of selling. We are cheapening the worth of the product. Grinner said above he loves to see shite ads on cable, cause he sees a potential client. Its actually the other way around. We are the ones winning clients. How do you guys feel about seeing shit-hot, kick arse ads on cable, and knowing they were produced for a dumped price that you as small business people could never, ever compete with? And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the whole thing in a nutshell.

I will request a meeting in the next couple of weeks with the big boss, and the sales manager, and talk this whole theme through.
But you know what the biggest hurdle for this whole thing is? Last year was the best revenue ever from sales of advertising. Even with the finance crisis etc etc. The bottom line is a bitch to argue with.
Believe you me, in a purely narcissistic way of looking at it, I'm doing great. My job is secure, Im doing what I love, but I cant help but think that there is something here fundamentally wrong. Perhaps if enough of you say "Dont worry, youre doing alright, just go with it" it would ease my mind a bit. But I just cant help thinking its wrong.

This is the last long rant from me on this topic. Thanks again to everyone for taking the time to discuss it.
Simon


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Scott Cumbo
Re: Giving away your product
on Feb 3, 2011 at 5:52:16 pm

So the bottom line is you want to be able to say "my spots brought in X amount of money to the company" for either an increased salary or bragging rights.

and you already stated that your spots are great and your well paid,
so is it money or ego your looking for?

Scott Cumbo
Editor
Broadway Video, NYC


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Simon Roughan
Re: Giving away your product
on Feb 3, 2011 at 6:47:17 pm

What do you think? Both.


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Scott Cumbo
Re: Giving away your product
on Feb 3, 2011 at 8:12:53 pm

If it's both than it's easy... If your as good as you think you
are. than you'll have no problem finding a new gig if you boss turns you down when you give him the old "I want more money or I'll have to leave" line. problem solved

you'll never get the salesman to change the way they are.


good luck

Scott Cumbo
Editor
Broadway Video, NYC


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Simon Roughan
Re: Giving away your product
on Feb 3, 2011 at 8:38:56 pm

Actually Scott, I was being sarcastic. Im talking about a principle.


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Malcolm Matusky
Re: Giving away your product
on Feb 3, 2011 at 6:02:18 pm

Over time every business changes, producing "spots" for cable was never very lucrative for independent producers and now it is less so. So what? If in house production units can do what their clients need and bundle it with broadcast time, great. They can have it, they have the advantage that they do not need to charge for production if the client is willing to pay enough for ad time, I can never compete with that and its not worth trying. I do not do, repetitive work, I hate it and every production I do is different. Talking heads corporate video was once a market segment, now it is mostly done in house as well, with "desktop" video equipment. If that suits their needs fine, I cannot compete with that either, I will not try. If the client is satisfied with a production value that any hobbyist/ enthusiast can crank out, fine. As an independent producer I have to do something else, and cannot compete in segments where I have no competitive advantage.

I started making films with 16mm film. It was easy to get jobs from companies because it was nearly impossible for them to do it themselves; now that has changed. With a few thousand dollars worth of equipment anyone can now buy the equivalent of millions of dollars worth of capital investment in "film age technology" From this post it seems as though peoples business models have not kept pace with the technological change at hand. That is unfortunate and will only drive you out of business as "rates" for producing corporate/industrial work drop through the floor.

As a business owner/producer I have to constantly define what my services are and make sure I am doing what the client cannot do, affordably or at any price. If not, I'm toast!

I do not compete with high school students, college students, no matter how good their "reel" is or ability with after effects. I "sell" business solutions, not ever changing technology. Define your business offerings better and you will be able to "compete" on better terms, your own.

If a "prospect" says they can do a production themselves, great, they are not a potential client, I saved money identifying a waste of time. I am happy with that and may keep them on a contact list for future work if they every want to do a project beyond their internal abilities. That is my market segment, going beyond the abilities of the clients capability, and I charge them for that privileged, if they are not willing to pay, too bad, let them do it themselves because they are not a "client" unless they pay MY bills, otherwise they are a complete waste of time. Be able to identify who is wasting/stealing your time and your business will improve.

Easier said than done, I know, but what are your options? competing in an area where you can never win? that's stupid. Never run a race when the prize is poverty. Never let the "client" dictate price, if you are not able to make a profit, why are you in business? that's stupid as well. Know your costs, make a profit, forget the "competition" if they are undercutting you, they are either stupid or have lower costs, if they are being stupid they will go out of business, if they have lower costs they will succeed. Do be sure you are "bidding" on the same thing though. It's easy to "be competitive" by offering a much cheaper to make production and selling it as an expensive one, that is underhanded and fraudulent, but happens all the time. This is where the business gets tough, how to make a "fair" comparison between two production companies? Better selling skills usually win out in the short term, better ability in the long. How you position yourself is up to you, so is taking care of your own needs, your "client' really does not care if you can pay your bills/live decently, all they want is the work, cheap!

In my business, there is no "cheap" the word "discount" is never used. Any "prospect" that is looking for a "discount" or something easy and cheap is not a potential client for me, I tell them to "do it themselves" and may or may not keep them on my prospect list if I think there is any potential for the future. If not, they go on the "blacklist" so I do not waste my marketing money on a waste of time.

Good luck!

Malcolm
http://www.malcolmproductions.com


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