I've been thinking over the writer implications of ITV or rather Michael Grade's aim to take 75% or production in-house with a view to how it might affect commissions.
And the more I think about it, the less sure I am of the implications. Obviously there are potentially huge implications for indie prodcos, but the writer? I mean we the jobbing writer, not the 'A' list prodco owning ones. I'm not all that sure it affects us much at all.
Unless those at ITV productions are a bunch of twats in which case it definitely does. I've never really dealt directly with them, not the London ones, Manchester yes and they are great.
Okay the temptation will be to submit directly to ITV for an ITV skewed project rather than go to indies. Because the corporate world being what it is, aims become targets, and targets are the watchword of industry. There is a danger that you option a project to an indie, who take it to ITV and ITV say - sorry not interested in a co production - we're only running at 65% in house at the moment, I'm getting heat from above to get that up and my job is on the line.
That is a very viable scenario.
But I would still submit to the indies anyway, a calling card is always a calling card. If ITV and an indie want to slug it out over one of my projects then great. That can only be good for me. I might just not be so quick to take an option with an indie on an ITV skewed project, if I knew what that was, unless they really made it worth my while.
The down side is that there are some indies I'd like to work with, because I think they do good quality work and are writer friendly. The two often go hand in hand. ITV is an unknown quantity, and judging by their recent output they have a lot of people to convince.
The indies are bullish at the moment, saying this move won't really affect them. But they would wouldn't they? ITV in house production is currently running at 54%. It's a heck of a hike to 75% and a heck of a bite out of indie producers bottom line. Okay, that's just one network, but most of these indies are already barely scratching a living.
So will more ITV in-house production be a good or a bad thing for writers as far as commissioning is concerned?
I'm still not sure. I guess it depends who's inda house.
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