Edouard Minc, director of the corporate business affairs group & director of business development, Banijay France, which is behind formats such as Les Cinquante, Good Luck Guys and A Season at The Zoo, discusses what needs to be done to tackle industry-wide skills gaps.
A very real and immediate talent shortage is upon our industry. Spurred on by the proliferation of streamers and digital players, and subsequent rise in content demand, the need for good creative people at all levels has never been greater. Thankfully, we have not yet reached the crisis bar but if the industry does not rapidly respond with tangible action, we will all feel the impact.
As a group, we often discuss the importance of scale, and while it benefits our position in so many ways, it is incredibly beneficial in times of strife. With so many content specialists under one roof, all with an eye on their respective markets, we have a huge pool of expertise with whom to collaborate in problem solving and sharing best practice. From this network, so many ideas have been born and that is no different to right now, as we look to drive up our creative base via innovative partnerships and in-house-run schemes.
While the specific skills required around the globe vary territory-by-territory, we are seeing the collective need to respond to the shortage, as urgent. Already there has been a positive market reaction to the conundrum and beyond production outfits looking at new initiatives to ramp up unscripted and scripted recruitment, partnerships and training across the board, there has also been support from trade bodies and industry organisations worldwide. However, given our own reach as a sizeable business, we have a significant responsibility, and the capacity, to drive up the talent base ourselves.
Time & investment
Recognising the requirement to widen and diversify our pool at all levels, and upskill the next generation, our local holdings and companies have so far been incredibly proactive in exploring alternative avenues through which to drive improvements.
In Australia, we have seen an Accelerated Post-Production Training and Mentoring Program launch; in Italy, there is a new course on offer in partnership with The Università Cattolica (Unscripted Academy); in Spain, there has long been three masters coordinated between Gest Music and the Blanquerna Faculty of Communication; the UK team recently invested £500k in a “fast-track” inclusion programme, and that’s not to mention the various internship schemes at-play across so many of our companies. There is also a conscious effort to support talent once they are through the doors with mentoring, incentivisation, training and development, project investment and global movement opportunities.
Just a few weeks back in Cannes, so much of the industry united and in reviewing the press and seeing the keynotes, it was clear, that alongside rights retention and battling the economic crisis, the talent shortage was an ever-pressing matter for everyone. Even more reason then for us to have announced our latest venture with the city of Cannes and its mayor, David Lisnard, and Université Côte d’Azur.
Off-the-back of our successful three-week Content Creatives Incubator program, introduced in 2020, we have now triggered a “Mastering the TV Formats of Tomorrow” diploma. Marking the first university degree entirely dedicated to the creation and development of unscripted TV formats, the course will combine the best lecturing from a host of professors, with the expertise of our own executives, here at Banijay – with it all being led by Benjamin Duboin. Truly immersive, the aim, over nine months, is to prepare a number of both French and international young students for an unscripted career as creatives within our industry, and importantly, at our own company.
Undoubtedly, schemes like these do require time and investment but the pay-off for the whole industry is immeasurable – a group of smart individuals eager to learn and passionate about their impending career. For us it makes total sense, particularly in an era in which we all have a responsibility to pivot our approaches to talent to meet the needs of our ever-expanding industry. In continuing to trial new avenues for outreach, together, we can all fuel a more diverse and expansive talent base for the whole industry.