My area of specialism is broadcast. But having looked back recently over some articles I penned more than ten years ago, I also seem to have a future as a clairvoyant should I ever feel the need to give up the day job.
It was almost a decade ago that I first used the c word - that's convergence - in relation to my industry. Now you cannot sit through a meeting without it being uttered. Except now it's been joined by other c words that are all having a significant impact on our business, sector specialism and PR industry as a whole - and those words are content and cash.
This year has seen many examples where all three have had an effect and helped to further shape the future of broadcast.
The summer of 2012 was a fantastic opportunity for broadcast to flex its muscles, show what it can do and ultimately what it does best when innovation and investment are applied.
As well as the fantastic legacy of the Olympics in terms of the medals won and lingering feel-good factor, we also witnessed a masterclass in broadcast, where the BBC showed us, the sometimes cynical licence fee payer, what the future could and should hold.
The remote became wand-like, with one touch of a red button transporting you magically to one of 27 different HD channels streaming every sport taking place with more of the same via a broadband connection on your PC, laptop, tablet or mobile.
It was second nature to us. No-one gasped at the fact you could watch the live stream online via a portable device or looked quizzically at the red button. It is that broadcast 'future' that needs to form our thinking in the world of comms now.
Imagine you the brand as the broadcaster. Agreed, the cold, hard reality is not all brands have the financial clout of Auntie, but they do have the access to technology to enable them to compete for our precious time, wherever we may be.
For every brand or organisation that has its own Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube or social media channel of choice, it is broadcast that will make those platforms truly engaging and effective. Whether consumer, b2b, internal or external, it does not make a difference; you have built a community and its expectation is growing ever more skyward for more than text and image. Broadcast has found another home.
So why after two decades am I as excited and remarkably (at my age) even more enthused now than I was 18 years ago when I first started up? Well, my reasons are many, but here's a few.
I still feel an immense amount of pride seeing and hearing the stories we tell for our clients dominate news agendas in the UK and, in the past few years, internationally. I am still old school as far as that is concerned.
But one moment that stood out for me more than most this year was at a client launch event. Mainstream broadcasters were all there, conducting their interviews and capturing their footage, which will continue to be a big tick in the box.
However, as I looked on, watching my clients view their own live streamed TV content, broadcast on their iPhones and iPads and on their social media channels, and I actually shed a tear of joy at what we had collectively produced as a 'broadcaster', well, that stood out.
So when I speak of the Olympic legacy, it is because it helped so many to realise the potential of broadcast in the modern era.
It is a shame we cannot have the Olympics every year, since it was also such a pleasure driving in London.
VIEWS IN BRIEF
- What is the biggest challenge in producing PR campaigns in your sector?
Change. It is well documented that the newspaper industry has seen a seismic shift. Circulation has dropped, yet online readership has risen and the PR industry has adapted to the changing disciplines and deadlines. Broadcast has undergone a similar contraction and convergence, but more silently. Outlets and output have changed, but has the PR industry been as quick to adapt? Not all. Flexibility and adaptability are crucial.
- If you did not work in PR what would you be doing?
I dare not think about it too much as I trained as a chartered accountant.