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Understanding Equipment Finance

Asset finance spreads the cost of equipment purchases over a number of years, which helps protect cashflow and potentially allows a business to grow at a faster rate. The 2 most common forms of asset finance are Hire Purchase (HP) and finance lease, and there are some important differences to consider ;

The credit and underwriting process is the same for both. You’ll be asked for some financial information about your business and the kit that you want to purchase, and you’ll then discuss the preferred length of the deal. It usually only takes a day or so to assess and hopefully you’ll get an offer that is acceptable quickly.

The differences between HP and lease are quite subtle, but important.

Hire Purchase (HP)

The repayments are spread over the agreed number of months and on day one you’ll pay ALL of the VAT + the first payment / deposit. The VAT is fully reclaimable in your next quarter’s VAT return, assuming you’re VAT registered, and each monthly payment is made free of VAT. At the outset you know that by paying a nominal Option-To-Purchase fee with the final payment, usually around £100, you will own the equipment. It’s very clean, and clear from day 1 that you will own the kit once all the payments are made.

Finance Lease (lease)

VAT is added to each repayment, NOT as a lump sum payment on day 1. The interest rate, and therefore the repayments, are the same whether it’s HP or a lease, but VAT us added to the monthly repayment amount on a lease, which is reclaimable at the end of each VAT quarter. However at the end of a lease you do NOT own the kit. One of three things happen at the end of a lease.

  1. If you take no action the initial lease term ends, and you will then start paying Secondary rentals. This is usually an extra month’s rental, which lasts a whole year, but you still do NOT own the kit. At the end of the next year, you’ll be charged another month’s rental which will last another year but you will still not own the kit. This could go on forever.
  2. You can return the kit. You can, but why would you?
  3. Three months before the end of your lease agreement, you advise the leasing company that you wish to take ownership of the kit. They will charge you, generally it’s around an extra month’s payment, payable at the end of the agreement, and you take ownership. Choose this option.

Clearly, due to the end of lease payments, HP usually works out to be less expensive overall, but it may be that the initial VAT payment may stretch your cashflow too much, so a lease might be the best option. The choice is yours.

What – finance for people with money? Who’d have thought!

IBC and PLASA always indicate we have reached the busy time of the year, and 2018 is no different.

Returning from my 23rd IBC, I had several conversations ringing in my ears. Notably because they repeated the same familiar (and frustrating) comments that I have heard from the same people for a quarter of a century. Please take note, this really could change your lives!

On two separate occasions over IBC weekend, and on two different stands with two different suppliers, they each mentioned recent sales of their respective products to a major media group who had been upgrading its TV studio facilities. Both salesmen uttered the same words to me: “But they’ve got plenty of money, so they won’t need leasing”.

Leasing, Hire Purchase, Sales-Aid-Finance, however you think of it, is not for those customers who don’t have any money. Certainly, when you are seeking a point-of-sale solution for a freelancer or a small two-man business, you probably recognise that a finance option may be just the thing to get a deal over the line.

But what about where the customer is a much larger company, possibly even a listed multi-national with a household name and turnover of £billions? In those circumstances so many of you won’t even consider discussing payment terms or finance, or even enquire how the customer wishes to pay. There are many salespeople in the broadcast industry who appear to believe that “budget” means “cash”, and that the procurement team arrives with a piggy-bank full of savings to smash open whenever a £million order is to be placed. Seriously?

Let me offer an alternative perspective. The moment you complete a £million sale you have created a problem for your customer, who now has to determine the best way to allocate their funds. Why not instead offer them an alternative solution with a payment plan or funding option as part of the deal? Having the option to spread the cost across more than one budgetary cycle presented at the point of sale may even encourage the customer to increase the order –  which is surely a win/win!

If you want to learn more about the dark arts of this wizardry, we would be happy to walk you through the published accounts of some large well-known companies who, you may be surprised to discover, are only too happy to employ the solutions that we can offer.

Broadcasters; Production-Companies; Universities; Multi-nationals; Household Brands; there are plenty of very big companies with lots of money who still use finance when making capital purchases. And many of them are already working with us, discovering that the art is not so dark after all. We are just an email or phone-call away.


Premier Light and Sound Action at Olympia

Once again Adamantean undertook a whirlwind tour of this year’s PLASA Show, due to its perennially frustrating date clash with IBC Show in Amsterdam. However, we were very glad we made the trip because PLASA Show appears to have put its visitor/exhibitor troubles of recent years behind it now that it has settled into its new Olympia home; celebrating the 41st PLASA Exhibition in style.

It was a fantastic opportunity for us to catch up with manufacturers, resellers and customers alike and put a ‘face to the name’ of some of our further flung contacts.

Robe went all out as a platinum sponsor of the event dominating the hall with a fantastic demo space and using the show as the UK launch event for their new ‘Super Spikie’ moving light with a theatre meets Rock ‘n’ Roll show on the Sunday, which we were disappointed to miss.


Nexo offset the frenetic Robe space with a calming Japanese Garden themed stand where we discussed the transition from a busy summer of installations into an Autumn full of rental-companies gearing up ahead of Christmas shows. If Nexo is on your pre-Christmas shopping list remember we are offering interest-free finance across the GEO M10 range.

On the subject of finance offers, Leisuretec has long supported interest-free finance across a range of professional and commercial audio, lighting and video brands. As a true trade distributor Leisuretec understands the value in providing an all round service, from training and expertise to next day delivery, and this includes providing a flexible finance solution enabling the kit to ‘pay for itself’.

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It was great to see L’Acoustics back on the show floor this year after a 10-year hiatus, bringing with them L-ISA immersive hyperreal sound, a revolutionary technology for multi-dimensional mixing and processing. Will the advent of adaptive and immersive sound manipulation be the start of a wholesale technology shift within the touring/rental markets?

Elation Lighting were also demonstrating new advances in technology with the launch of the Rayzor 760 compact LED wash light featuring Elation’s new TwinkLED technology which consists of 28 individual white LED’s strategically placed inside the lens itself to create an additional layer of effect.

As at IBC, products that save time, money or resource on site seemed to be the way of the future, with Avolites’ Synergy – integrated video server and Lighting console – and PRG’s innovative Spaceframe winning PLASA Innovation awards for “providing time-saving opportunities in production workflow” and “weight saving enabling considerable money to be saved on touring plus quicker, safer rigging” respectively – Well done guys!

Top all that off with a few beers and the warm hospitality of SSE, Wigwam, and their latest acquisition, Capital Sound Hire, bringing everyone together for the all-important networking at their ‘Dark Side Party’ and PLASA 2018 gets a great big thumbs up from Adamantean.

IBC 2018 – If you build it, are you sure they’ll come?

I heard a great line at IBC, which I think sums up where we may be getting to on our exponential acceleration towards a grinding halt in broadcast technology.

One of the major lens manufacturers was proudly showing off their new telephoto lens, which is now by far the longest lens in the market. The response I got when I told a friend about this new amazing piece of technology was “I didn’t realise they are making football pitches bigger nowadays”. And in that pithy comment may lie a fundamental issue for kit manufacturers….why are they making it? If the market is demanding the product, it saves the customer time or money, or it’s a new workflow concept, then that seems like a perfectly sensible commercial decision. But I think my friend’s point was that they just built it because they could. The current crop of sports OB lenses can frame a player’s face from the stanchion of the largest stadium, so what benefit is there from zooming further?

Can the same be said for the K race in camera technology? Some of the images I saw at IBC were incredible. The Sony big screen was staggering, and the images of the World Cup that were showing in the NHK Futurezone were captured and displayed in 8K and were as good as we can create currently. But I’m told that we’re getting to a point where the human eye just can’t tell the difference any more. The jump from SD to HD was seismic. HD to 4K less so because to notice the improvement the screen size required was so significant. Can I honestly say that I could tell good 4K footage from 8K footage? I’d need a really big screen or a magnifying glass to tell the difference for sure, and I don’t have, or want either.

Clearly advances like HDR, where the benefits are noticeable, regardless of the screen size, will win out over just squeezing more pixels in.

Netflix seemed to feature in so many conversations, and all of the FAANGs will have a major part to play in the next few years of the industry’s evolution. In a field ripe for disruption, and billion-dollar balance sheets behind the biggest players, the broadcast industry is a prime target. Even the term “broadcast” sounds out-dated. Facebook’s new on-demand service “Watch” seems a more apposite term. A verb; a doing word which is something that the consumer does by choice, rather than has done to them.

The hotel and taxi industries have been disrupted beyond all recognition by smart people leveraging new technology to offer an improved customer experience. Airbnb welcomed their first “guest” in 2007, and Uber their first “ride” in 2010. Neither own their own rooms or cabs, and as I walked out of my Amsterdam canal-side AirBnB apartment each morning and got in to the Uber that I’d requested just 5 minutes earlier, the benefits of both were obvious.

So, to the show itself… I had made a plan (In my pre IBC blog) to spend less time walking the halls, and more time learning and engaging. I’m now much more up to speed with the work of colourists, thanks to one of the excellent talks moderated by Jake Bickerton, and featuring Goldcrest senior colourist Jet Omoshebi. She was knowledgeable, eloquent, and engaging. There were others too; on sports technology, where Dolby did a great job promoting their technology, and an interesting session with the 50 foot face of movie director Doug Liman who skyped in to his seminar, having been called away at short notice.

These were all in the Big Screen theatre, and congratulations to the organisers of these sessions. So often the content at these shows is ruined by poor technical facilities, and in all of the sessions I attended, the mics worked, everyone could be heard, and the clips played on time. I hope other trade show and seminar organisers take note.

As for kit, I found some interesting new technologies, and some clever upgrades, but nothing game-changing. Did I miss something?

Long barrel lenses have always been demanded by Natural History cameramen understandably keen not to get too close to the polar bears they’re filming. But the issue has always been to keep the shot steady. Fujinon have developed a magic button on their new 46x lens which stabilised the image impressively. I gather it’s proving popular.

Cooke are continuing the Stella Artois mantra with their new full frame anamorphic lens       line up. The 50mm will be the available first, with a further six in the range to follow. The stand proved as popular as ever, so the “Cooke look” isn’t likely to fade any time soon.

I like the NCAM technology. To be honest, it’s been explained to me before and I didn’t really get it, but seeing it demonstrated, it all clicked. It seems to have been developed primarily to allow the cameraman to frame the shot correctly so the human actor can engage with the CG monster/hobbit/elf realistically, and in the correct position. It seems obvious, but the savings in post-production on a major feature film are potentially huge, far outweighing the cost of deploying the kit, so I think it’s going to be a success.

They have also developed it to create a virtual studio set, allowing a presenter to walk “behind” a CG desk, and for them to see where they are positioned via on-set screens. It would take some practice from the presenter so they don’t stand “in” the table (as in the photo), and whilst this isn’t the only virtual set solution, it’s a clever secondary use of the technology.


Film scanners have always been a bit of black art to me, and have always looked to be from a bygone era, like the Turin traffic control centre in The Italian Job. But spending some time with DTF enlightened me, and the demand for silver halide film to be digitised at higher resolution, and more quickly than ever, is huge. This isn’t just driven by new content shot on film, but by the millions of feet of archive footage that the plethora of new TV channels are demanding.


Modern film scanner ?



1960’s Turin traffic control system ?


DTF has developed a nice product called Wetgate which speeds up the restoration process. It’s a self-contained unit that fits in to their standard Scanity film scanner, and is filled with a liquid which has the same reflective properties as the original film coating. The liquid essentially fills in the shallow scratches in the film coating which accounts for many of the imperfections in the film. As a “first pass” in the restoration process, it is so much quicker than treating the entire roll of film before digitising, and restoring each frame by frame image. It’s not new for IBC 2018, but it’s new to me and I liked it.

The way in which regional news is delivered back to base has changed hugely as budgets have been driven down. Panasonic and Quicklink have teamed up to make a neat solution for getting “talking head” pieces back to the studio. The Quicklink box is IP connected, the screen can be used as a prompter, it has 2 way comms to the studio, the light strips on either side give an element of control of the image, and the inverted PTZ camera gives a pretty decent image. It can also be battery powered, and if you add a LiveU you have a truly portable remote production unit for the tightest of budgets, the smallest of luggage allowances and the most basic technical knowledge.


There was a world-first on the Megahertz stand where they presented the first battery powered uplink vehicle. I gather the BBC are in the queue for a few, and with most city centres mandating Euro6 emission standards now, this seems like the way forward. If only broadcast glue wasn’t so heavy. Battery life has long been the limiting factor with electric cars generally, and if you add in a heavy kit payload it makes it a solution for certain applications only, but it is undoubtedly the future.


The large kit manufacturers that I heard from seemed to have broadly similar sentiments. The US market was a little flat, but Europe has been good to them. There was a time when the US TV business was Never The Same Colour. Now perhaps it’s Not The Same (sales) Cycle? That was an engineering joke for those of a certain age in case you missed it.

And as far as new technologies go, the BBC announcement claiming that they have found a cure for the delay in IP signal distribution could be game-changing, and I’m curious about how that will affect remote production if it does what it says on the tin. And AI was a hot topic with the drive to automate simple repetitive tasks being the lowest hanging fruit for this technology to be utilised in. But there are already plans to automate editing and directorial decisions in sports programming, which is extraordinary.

So what did I miss? I’ll have missed far more than I saw, or caught my eye sufficiently to include in this piece. It seemed quieter to me. I left on Sunday night, so how was Monday and Tuesday?

During my time at IBC, I spoke to lots of people who told me they read and enjoy my musings, which was good to hear, but a conversation is far more stimulating when several people are involved, so please do add your thoughts and comments.

IBC 2018

I recall the excitement that I felt before my first IBC, back in about 1847.  To be honest, it was probably more to do with the free flights and beer than the opportunity to learn about the new technology, but it was real.

The headlines from the thought-leaders of the day would have said something along the lines of:

“We are at a pivotal moment for the broadcast industry and those who don’t embrace the changes will be left behind”.

Fast forward 20-odd years, and every year in between, and the message remains exactly the same.  My IBC outlook has matured somewhat since the heady days of my first trip, and to prove the point, I’ve made a conscious effort to read more about IBC. With this in mind, I read the following report and think it’s well put together and considered. Worth a look.

It’s also directly relevant to you if your mortgage gets paid by the work you do in the broadcast industry. Mostly focussing on the big picture macro-economics of the industry, there are some insights that will no doubt affect us all.

The Disney boss Bob Iger makes an excellent point. While the Mega-Media firms are playing a high-stakes poker game about whether content or distribution is king, the consumer is being given new technology to watch content on different devices via different delivery methods, so it’s actually the consumer who’s holding the aces. I’m paraphrasing, and it’s a great point. I’m sure he’ll be delighted by my endorsement.

It’s also clear even to the blindest of eyes and the deafest of ears that our industry is ripe for disruption, and scale is everything. The FAANG’s have already got their teeth in to content and distribution, and are busy making 4K HDR content by the petabyte whilst traditional broadcasters are feeding off the scraps. And with both of the A’s recently tipping over the $1B mark, they have deeper pockets than Croesus.

But even with deep pockets, they are setting the bar very high for what is technically possible. There was critical comment that Amazon’s recent 4K HDR coverage of the US Open tennis was delayed by 44 seconds. The technical challenges of this would have been extraordinary, and the images looked pretty good to me. I didn’t know or care that I was 44 seconds behind. Clearly Serena did, so maybe this explains her meltdown even if it doesn’t excuse it.   Next year’s will be half the delay, and the next year half again. According to Gordon Moore anyway, and he wrote the law in this area.

I’ve been scanning the pre-IBC press releases for what the big new product launches will be. I’ve seen a new sub £1K camera, and Cooke has announced some new Anamorphic full frame lenses, but that’s it, and to be honest, that’s fine by me. Clients need some longevity from their products to get a decent return on their investment. We saw a flurry of new cameras and lenses launched at BSC in London in January. Sony’s Venice, Arri’s LF, and Panavision’s rental-only DXL were all announced even before NAB, as were Arri’s Signature lenses and the very nice Zeiss Supreme lenses which have just started shipping.

There was also passing comment in the IABM report that some businesses are spending less on trade shows, which is a particular bugbear of mine. I think that what the consumer needs from a trade show has evolved, but trade shows themselves haven’t.  Often, you can get a better awareness of new announcements around a trade show from the internet, than you can while you’re walking the aisles at the show itself.

But crucially what you don’t get is the personal human interaction, which is the basis for all true business relationships. With online discourse so binary, the chance to spend some time learning about the person that you’re dealing with is invaluable. In the Twitter-sphere where the requirement to present your point of view as the only sane one is over-powering, the chance to meet real people in real life is what I enjoy most about any trade show.

Now I’m a business owner, and realise that of course the flights and the beer aren’t actually free after all, I take a more holistic view that spending time talking to clients and properly understanding their issues is the best use of the precious few days at IBC.

Gareth, Sam and I are there from Thursday afternoon until Sunday evening. It’s our 2nd IBC as a collective, and we remain in awe of the support and trust we’ve been given. Business is great, and our sense is that over 60 combined industry years of doing the right thing has put us on a good footing.  Thank you.

We look forward to finding some common ground with you at the Beach.

Happy IBC.

What does loyalty mean to you?

What does loyalty mean to you? It’s such a personal, visceral emotion that it must be unique to each of us?

I’m prompted to ask by two calls that I received last week from old customers that I helped many years ago.

One used to have his own business, but is now an employee of a larger organisation. He was chatting to his new boss about the challenges of financing kit, and my old customer told his new boss “ I know a guy who made things really easy, shall I give him a call for you”. I was blown away by this. As a “sales guy” this type of response is what we aspire to build. I remember the deal that we did, and the engagement that we had, like it was yesterday. I had the deal agreed really quickly, and I met him at short notice at a sports stadium near where he was on location that day to sign the docs over a Costa coffee. I remember being really proud of the deal, and it’s reassuring to know that the feeling was reciprocated.

The second call was perhaps even more satisfying. The customer and I had completed two deals years ago, and they’d gone well. It had been a few months since I’d seen the client, and unbeknownst to me, he was buying more kit. The supplier had actively promoted a different finance provider, but the customer told them “it’s OK, I use Duncan for my finance”. Again, just awesome.

It leads on to another deeper question. Who or what are you loyal to, and why? My assertion is that people are usually loyal to people, not organisations.

One of my mentors when I was learning my trade had two simple mantras that he strived to build his business on. He was on to something…

  • Be useful to your customers : Be the guy that tells them about new products first. The person that goes the extra mile to do a thing.
  • Be easy to deal with : don’t put unnecessary obstacles in the way. Be creative about how to construct a deal, and if he needs a thing at 7pm on a Friday night, be the guy that says yes. If he really needs it at 7pm on a Friday, it’s pretty critical, so be the guy who solved his problem.

A business doesn’t offer these things. A business has a structure, a process, that has been implemented to manage its day to day business, with delivery cut off times and minimum order values for free delivery. It’s the individual in the business that makes the difference and builds a partnership rather than just a customer/supplier relationship.

I believe this is our USP here at Adamantean. One of the true liberating benefits of a new business, is that we have no legacy baggage. We don’t have the “this is how we’ve always done it” mentality, and as we own the business, we have the autonomy and trust in each other to make our own decisions about what is good business.

Sam met a client 150 miles from home late on a Friday afternoon as this was the only time he could see her. I signed a deal up at a Toy Fair as my client was working there, and I also signed a deal up in a car park at Wembley stadium. Perhaps the most rushed sign up I’ve had was a cameraman I met for the first time at St Pancras station. He had a 20 minute window between an incoming train from Leeds and an outgoing train to Paris, at 8pm on a Friday. These times are fun, and can build proper relationships. It demonstrates both of the mantras in spades.

So who/what are you loyal to? And why? When was the last time you showed loyalty, or were showed any? When was the last time someone went above and beyond, to showed that they really cared? And did you tell them that it was valued?

All constructive comments welcome…

Russian World Cup roulette in the Summer sunshine

Anyone ready for the new Premier League season? Nah.. me neither. The World Cup joy of seeing the Koreans outplay the Germans will live long in the memory, and the gut-wrenching tension and ultimate success of an England penalty shoot out was pretty epic, and cathartic for those old enough to remember Turin, 1990.

Just as epic was the TV production itself, and it’s a bumper 4K summer for all at the vanguard of the UK OB sector.

Anyone who has worked in and around the OB sector will know the odd year/even year conundrum, and for any NAB regulars familiar with the roulette tables, the red and black colours are a perfect visual analogy.

Every even year we have a global sporting event, conveniently arranged around the annual football season TV cash-cow juggernaut. World Cups, Olympic Games and all the warm up events around them are key to the success of the OB sector. So any OB business should be well in the black in these even years, to cope with the odd years when they may well end up in the red. See what I did there?

For the major OB hire businesses with huge inventories of the latest 4K camera channels and lenses, the appeal of a long-term World Cup/Olympic project is huge. Getting significant amounts of kit out for long periods of the summer is hugely desirable, even if the rate card goes out of the window.

Of course with so much kit out of the country for so long, the opportunities present themselves for businesses who didn’t win the World Cup work to fulfil local demand. And with a shortage of kit the theory goes that the margins on these jobs should be better as it’s not so much of a buyer’s market. Well, that’s the theory.

Much of the Russia-bound World Cup kit left the UK in June, and some still isn’t back as I write this in the second week of August. But the UK summer OB events were still huge and plentiful, and the shows must go on.

Wimbledon is an enormous broadcasting operation which happened right in the middle of the World Cup. Having the same location and facility knowledge each year helps, but the developments in technology have been fascinating. The Open Golf championship was an extraordinary technological challenge, spread over huge swathes of Eastern Scotland, and last weekend’s Women’s British Open also had some great coverage, and a British winner was the icing on the cake.

And then there is the new format European Championships “athletics” which is being billed by the BBC as a European Mini-Olympics with extended coverage on TV, on-line and red button. Gymnastics, athletics, swimming, cycling, rowing, triathlon and a new team golf event over 11 days, and all but the Athletics is being held in Scotland.

And the brilliant 1st test match in the India v England series in Birmingham. Oh, and the fantastic British Grand Prix. And some spectacular horse racing and and and …you get the idea.

I really should mention Love Island at this stage too, which also achieved huge viewing figures and was a pretty amazing technical broadcasting feat (apparently…I managed to miss it all, which may go on my list of Linked-In achievements).

It’s clear that sport is key to our nation’s TV viewing habits. Ask yourself this…do you watch ANY other live TV? Maybe the news? Our favourite Harry’s last minute goal against Tunisia became the most viewed event of the year, knocking a certain other Harry’s big day off the top spot. And the viewing figures as England progressed through the tournament were extraordinary. Of all the amazing viewing stats from the World Cup, I thought the most telling was the split of viewers for the only game that was simulcast on BBC and ITV. I thought the BBC coverage and punditry was excellent throughout, and of the 10.5 million people who watched the final, 8 million agreed with me. That’s some audience share.

It’s an issue for a commercial Broadcaster when it doesn’t capitalise on a huge potential live audience that can’t fast-forward through the ads. It’s also interesting/concerning that 17% of all ads broadcast during the World Cup were for gambling related businesses. However, as ITV were lucky enough to have the Croatia semi-final which produced a tournament-high 20M UK viewers, they ended up very much in the black. Especially as it went to extra time, so even more ads!! I imagine you could have had a bet on that happening.

So for the OB kit providers, the Premier League bread and butter returns. Given the sums of money involved though, it should really be “hand-churned dairy lacquer, gently smoothed onto a bed of organic artisanal loaf.”

Could it be any further away from a pie and a pint on the terraces?

4 More Reasons Why

By now you all know what Adamantean does. Some of you will be existing customers already. Some will be potential customers considering financing your next equipment purchase and some of you will think it’s useful to know we’re here, but finance is probably not for you.


If you fall into either of the latter camps, read on; as I have put together a collection of brainworms that just might get into your head and change your thinking:

  • If your kit is earning more than it costs every month the surplus is potential profits earnt from day 1 (as long as you don’t spend it all on fancy coffee machines and Jaffa cakes before your year end).
  • If the initial outlay is lower (often just 1 rental and some vat) you can buy more kit. More kit = more revenue potential = more Jaffa cakes.
  • Keeping cash in your business rather than tied up in equipment means you have more flexibility to weather storms or take opportunities as they arise or buy that fancy coffee machine (and we can finance that too!)
  • If you ‘just buy kit outright’ can this continue as your business grows and you need more kit more often? It may be prudent to finance some smaller purchases now, so that when you suddenly need a larger sum, you’ve already built up a credit history; which will not only make it easier and quicker to secure the finance you need, but it’ll likely come at a lower interest cost too. (not exactly sure how this translates to coffee and confectionary, but I guess you could relax and enjoy a celebratory Jaffa Cake when your finance is speedily approved!)

Media Production Show – is 2 days the new 3?

On the tube on the way home from the Media Production Show, I found myself comparing trade shows, and pondering what I need and expect from them.

I’m sure your calendar, like mine, is littered with trade show dates throughout the year, and the decision about making the effort getting to, and spending a day or more walking the aisles, is becoming more difficult as we all balance the growing demands on our time.

The key reasons anyone attend the shows are basically –

  • To sell things
  • To buy things
  • To find a new product or service
  • To meet new clients
  • To network with current clients

Adamantean is still just over a year old, and despite us all having been around a while, Sam, Gareth and I are still building our new brand, so MPS ticked several of these boxes for us.

At just 2 days, MPS seems plenty long enough for a UK show, and a day was more than enough to get around the show floor and take in a few of the seminars. I like the cinematography-oriented BSC show in February for the same reason, but theirs is Friday and Saturday which helps to accommodate freelancers, which makes a lot of sense.

Having said that though, MPS was heaving for most of the first day, and had as very positive buzz around it. I heard a lot of some of the seminars, far more than I should have done really as I didn’t get to go in to any of them, such was their popularity. The seminars seemed to have good content with great speakers, and deserved better facilities. I’m no audio specialist but a 3 foot high banner is not a good audio barrier, making the seminars hard to hear for the attendees, and were a huge distraction for the adjacent stands.


One of many busy seminars

One key plus for MPS was the cost for exhibitors, and may well be telling for the long-term success for the show. I’m told that stand costs were less than half of the cost of BVE, for what seemed to be a broadly similar audience profile. Global manufacturers Fujinon, Cooke and Canon all had a presence there, but not at BVE. I can’t help but wonder if the cost of exhibiting was a factor in their decision?

Timing may also be a plus for MPS, as it fits better with the TV shooting schedule. BSC in February works well for the digital cinematography world as the format decisions are made then for the upcoming shooting season. There were also major product launches at this show. Sentiment seemed to be that a June show fitted well for TV between BSC, April’s NAB and September’s IBC. And its certainly warmer…anyone remember the Beast from the East?

The facilities for BVE attendees at the Excel are undoubtedly the best of any trade show location. Anyone who has sat on the floor to eat their £10/€10/$10 sandwich at Olympia / Rai / LVCC will agree I’m sure that the choice of restaurants at Excel is a joy. And Crossrail will now get you there from Soho in just 15 minutes. I just wonder what will be waiting for you when you get there.

As for the contents of the show, there were no new kit announcements to see (did I miss something?). The Telegenic OB viewing gallery was awesome, the Panasonic 4K footage  was really impressive and the Cooke show-reel of films that their lenses had been used on was extraordinary.



The Telegenic production truck was pretty awesome


I’ve had mixed reports from friends on what they thought of MPS, but the key issue as I see it is that the structure of trade shows hasn’t changed in years. What is a trade show for? Back in the day, attendees learnt of new products at major product Trade show launches, but now it’s actually easier to find out what has been launched at a major show by reading the press releases on-line. For me, it’s the perfect environment to build a network, learn from the seminars and catch up with old friends. So MPS was a 2 out of 3, and I’m happy with that. And I picked up a nice deal so my ROI was pretty good. And I’m guessing that many of the exhibitors feel the same as the initial investment was less than other shows. If you exhibited I’d love to hear what you thought.

In my opinion, if MPS is to be the go-to UK show, it needs a bigger bar, bigger floor space for more stands, and more fit-for-purpose areas for the seminars. So basically bigger. But centrally-located, bigger venues are hard to find, and will probably cost more per square metre. Before we know it, it’ll morph in to BVE and the whole trade show merry-go-round starts again.

All aboard.

All thoughts and comments welcomed.

See you this Tuesday?

Are you going to the Media Production Show at Olympia this week?  Gareth, Sam and I will all be there, as we see the opportunity to see so many customers, suppliers, and friends (these aren’t mutually exclusive by the way) in one place is too good to miss.

I’m curious why you are going?

  • To look at new kit? Certainly there will be an opportunity to see the latest equipment. But couldn’t you do that just as well on-line? Well, no, probably. What better way to learn about something than to actually touch it, and talk to people who know the product inside out and can tell you the things that the glossy pdf’s don’t.
  • To discover a new piece of kit ? It’s pretty tough to google-search a thing that you don’t know about. However, there are well over 100 exhibitors vying for your attention, and you’d think that at least one of them will have a “thing” that you’ve not seen before and might make your business better.
  • To listen to experts?  Frustratingly, I have an appointment on Tuesday morning as I was really looking forward to listening to Doug Allan. He was excellent on Desert Island Discs, and has some great tales of filming killer whales wave-washing seals off of ice-bergs (yes, that was him). His 7 Emmy’s and 4 BAFTA’s isn’t a bad haul for a jobbing cameraman. You might feel that this has little to do with equipment finance, so why would I be bothered. I’d argue that having a broad outlook on our industry keeps it interesting, and there are lots of speakers covering lots of topics. It’s actually what trade shows do very well.
  • To exhibit? It’s the shortest of the current merry-go-round of trade shows, which must be a relief for those who have not learnt how to say “I really shouldn’t” when a colleague offers you the next drink on a Show night.

The chances of closing a deal from scratch is remote for any of the exhibitors, but the opportunity to build networks, develop friendships and to engage on a personal level is something that a big trade show does best. And because the cost of exhibiting at this show is so much less than others, there is a good exhibitor list.

Global brands Panasonic, Fuji, Canon, AVID and Cooke will all have stands, which is interesting as none of these were at BVE. Post production is well covered too with lots of manufacturers (Editshare, AVID, GB Labs to name a few) as well as some of their major resellers (Jigsaw, Tyrell, XTFX, Altered Images).

Add in a few trade show stalwarts like JVC, Holdan and Ikegami, new entrant Sharp which has some interesting kit developments, and a small US business called Netflix, and it should add up to time well spent.

I look forward to seeing some of you there. If I’m still in the local bar after 11pm on Tuesday night, feel free to quote the “I really shouldn’t” line back to me.