The last 18 months have been a tough time for everyone involved in production.
David Thomas, MD of International Sales Team, speaks to Production360 editor Dan Cooper about how the pandemic has affected the industry, what impact it has had on spending habits and what he thinks will be the biggest challenges ahead.
Can you give us an overview of what International Sales Team does?
In short, we find end users for clients in the manufacturing industry.
We call ourselves a sales team for hire and a sales team as a service.
We can help manufacturers to grow their business into a different region. For example, if you wanted to expand into Mexico City, we could have a sales team ready to go tomorrow.
Even if you want to grow in the same country you’re based, it’s a lot of hassle and time-consuming recruiting and finding good sales staff.
We are there if you are looking for a cost-effective way to grow their market without having to employ a load of people.
If you are a big manufacturer like Panasonic, you aren’t going to need us.
But if you are aspiring to be one, then we can provide you with a quick and easy way to grow your business.
Why should broadcasting companies put their trust in you? What makes you different?
What makes us different is that the person in the field who is promoting the product has a direct relationship back to the manufacturer.
Because the customer has direct contact with the factory, they are getting a truthful opinion and there’s no middleman so to speak. The manufacturer has direct contact with the end user and because of that there’s complete transparency.
We take pride in treating our customers fairly and providing a cost-effective service to them.
Has persuading people to part with their money become harder since the pandemic?
The industry has of course slowed down and it is true to say that both customers and clients are not spending as much money as they were before Covid. We’ve definitely seen that.
We are seeing a lot of companies delaying their decisions.
However, there’s room for optimism. What we do know is live sports is coming back, production is coming back. As a result, hopefully we’ll be seeing a lot more production opportunities and sales opportunities.
We’ve still got enquiries coming in, so we are optimistic that things are bouncing back.
When you look at the likes of Netflix and the productions they have planned, there’s definitely going to be some money being spent.
Have you noticed people cutting back on their marketing budgets?
Yes we have noticed people being more attentive to their marketing budgets and most of them are not as grand as they previously have been.
Obviously NAB got cancelled and if you are booked onto IBC you’ve probably already paid up. Some people are focusing on that and putting spending on hold.
With different countries experiencing different lockdowns at different times, it must have been difficult for you. How has the company adapted?
The main thing is its restricted our ability to travel and see clients and manufacturers in person. But fortunately, with technology the way it is now we can do most things remotely.
What do you think will be the biggest changes over the next six to 12 months?
Virtual production. It has been a promise for years, but it is now starting to really deliver. If you look at the Olympics, there were a lot of companies, one I know in particular, who are sending much fewer people to events now.
VP isn’t exactly new, but it feels like it is becoming more of a reality. It’s the same with studio production. Everything is becoming more and more virtual and I think that will continue in the months and years ahead.
And finally, we have to ask, are you going to IBC?
We were banking on going to IBC and then the Dutch announcement the other week knocked the wind out of our sails a bit. We’ve still got a couple of people going, but obviously not as many as we would have normally.
It won’t be quite the same, but at least for now it’s able to go ahead.