To see in 2008 Andy Stead conducted an industry survey for In Focus to gauge industry players on their views on the year past as well as the year which is upon us.

Ronnie Van Wijk and Rick Grantham, co-owners of Global Access which operates out of Broadcast House in Johannesburg and provide programme production and broadcast transmission services comment:

“We had an exciting 2007. Other than our regular live studio productions we saw an increase in demand to produce and broadcast outside broadcast special events for our clients.

We have no doubt that 2008 will be a watershed year for the South African broadcast industry with the new pay TV players launching their services to consumers. We anticipate an increase in demand for creative and technical talent and resources… this together with the 2010 World Cup, when we look back in years to come, will be remembered as one of the most challenging and rewarding of periods”.

Tony Boyers, General Manager of the Film Lab in Highlands North – the only full service and Kodak approved Laboratory in the country observes:

“Although we had Generation Kill which was very good for us, footages for both negative processing and positive processing in 2007 was down on 2006 figures. We see 2008 being ‘flat’ much the same as 2007. We are looking at installing a 16mm negative processing machine not because the footages demand it but more for the convenience to clients and to provide a better service to the Industry”.

Jess Goedhals, General Manager of Sony Broadcast based in Midrand Johannesburg and one of the largest equipment suppliers to the broadcast industry is optimistic:

“Sony had a very successful 2007 with the delivery of the HD Studio to M-Net, the first HD Studio in Africa. We also sold a growing number of HDCAM cameras and VTR’s, whilst the sales of our XDCAM disc based products were very good.

2008 should be an interesting year in the broadcast market with the expected new players entering the market. On the TV production front we expect High Definition to further strengthen as more and more customers opt for this growing global trend.

The exciting prospect for Sony this year is the new XDCAM EX range of products that combines full 1920x1080 and 1280x720p capability onto our new solid state memory recording media”.

Johannesburg based Andrew Human, Managing Director of the Loerie Awards, South Africa’s premier showcase for the commercial industry issued the following observation through his PR agent Tracy O’Brien:

“The Loerie awards now provide a year round hive of activity to highlight creative talent among all elements of brand communication encompassing advertising, design and experiential media, and specialist crafts such as cinematography, music, sound design, editing and directing from agencies across Africa and the Middle East.

2007 had a record year of entries at a figure of 3,200.  The economy in 2008 is set to tighten, which could affect entries adversely. However, the broader acceptance of creativity as a vital element in business coupled with the growth of the Loeries in the Middle East and Africa should result in an increase in entries this year. Attendance at the Festival weekend in Margate is predicted to be at full capacity again filling 2,100 seats plus a waiting list.  2008 is the 30th anniversary of the Loeries and in celebration a few surprises are planned.”

John Difford, operational manager of Q-Studios' in Kew Johannesburg expresses his views:

“The future is difficult to gauge, dictated as it is by so many factors beyond our control e.g. the prevailing power situation.  If these are satisfactorily addressed however, we anticipate a very successful 2008.

Considering that our Sound Stage 2 was only completed in December 2006 and was largely unknown for the first 6-months of 2007, that studio's steady growth throughout the year was even better than anticipated. Unit 1 is a very busy studio and we believe that business in that unit will continue to grow as well”.

Nic Bonthuys Acting CTO of SABC’s Airtime who provides Outside Broadcast services to the nation, based at Auckland Park Johannesburg was extremely bullish about 2008:

“This year promises to be an exciting year for the broadcast industry. Many new players have entered the broadcast arena and there is also increased competition from new platforms available to the consumers of media.  The patterns of how consumers want to interact and receive media is also changing.

The SABC will be increasing its investment both in replacing the analog infrastructure and also investment into new areas. As much as 3.5 million listeners do not have access to radio, let alone to any media and we will be working hard to give access to this section of the population. In October 2008 the first DTT transmitters will be switched on. It is a real challenge for the SABC to get ready for this deadline.

Also, 2010 is upon us and the SABC will be allocating a tender for 4 HD OB units early in 2008. This is just to mention a few of the challenges and initiatives – there are many more! I have a feeling that 2008 will be a pretty busy year for all of us”!

Dave Keet of Video Lab Johannesburg one of the largest post production services in Johannesburg also saw potential for the New Year:

“The second half of 2007 was fantastic. We saw a general up-turn in the industry both in Cape Town and in Johannesburg. Feature film activity was not great, and what carried us was an upsurge in the commercial side of the business.

The indications are that this up-turn will continue for at least the first half of this year. The advent of the Pay channels should benefit the industry in general. We have a couple of big productions in the pipeline – but it’s always hard to predict whether these will come through or not. The possibility of an initiative offering subsidies and bundled services will also help.

The only negative I see is the power situation as this will have a huge adverse effect on the studio side of things and will add a massive cost if generators have to be factored in to every budget”.

Johannesburg based Director and DOP Tai Krige S.A.S.C. had this to say:

“I personally didn’t feel the 'crunch' last year too much, since I luckily worked abroad a lot, shooting in Europe, the DRC Congo again, and all over Nigeria. And this year, with my ear always close to the ground, I've heard and experienced much activity already, having just completed two spots in Cape Town and a 5min international music video up here in good old Jozi. And for the month ahead, I have many "pencil-bookings", (a fine euphemism used in the industry, actually meaning; 'maybe' or 'never'.) in my diary. So I look forward to 2008 with hope in my heart and an electric generator on standby!

Throughout the advertising ages all the various well known sages have unanimously held that it would be prudent for clever clients to INCREASE their advertising spend in the days when a downturn in the economy presented itself.

Since we seem to find ourselves in a similar predicament at present I will hide behind these bright sparks of the advertising firmament and predict '08 as the best year ever, or at least; a lot better than the last”.