July 2013 |


The media sector, along with many other sectors around the world, is experiencing a shift in where talent and expertise now sits within a business…

Recent research (from APSCo) found that there?’s been a significant rise in temporary labor being used in the media industry (most likely built around specialisms) – causing permanent placements to collapse (by 21% year-on-year).

The decrease in internally retained talent is a growing concern for a lot of large businesses who are now finding that innovation, IP and expertise resides outside their business ?- and instead with the provider or supplier of the specialist service.  At the core of this growing trend, lies the issue of effectively managing these talent providers to ensure value is being delivered back to the business. 

With a growing portion of talent and skills now sitting external to media business?’ operations, businesses are at risk of failing to drive out maximum value from their suppliers.  Instead of being troubled by the growing use of suppliers, they should be taking actions to make the most of the new norm.

But what are executives worried about?

Scandals such as the horse-meat fiasco and the BP/Macondo oil spill are two relatively recent, high profile events that have undoubtedly changed business leaders’? perceptions of what, operationally, makes up their business ?- and how the actions of suppliers can directly impact the business they serve, both negatively and positively.

The key here is that media executives must ensure they understand what is happening throughout their entire supplier base -? not just their own backyard.  Fortunately, media companies in the main purchase services rather than products, have to date avoided any public supplier scandals.  But the impetus is on them to better understand their supply network, so that they can avoid a ?’horse-meat’? style scandal before it happens.  

It may be less evident in an industry that mainly purchases services over products, but supplier management is still an important consideration. And one that is too often overlooked. Media companies are more and more using external PR, marketing or design firms as they find it increasingly difficult to attract the right specialist talent or expertise in-house. Suppliers are not only more specialist, they can be better, cheaper, lower risk, faster and more innovative. And furthermore, to have all this specialist talent permanently on hand all the time, simply does not make economic sense.

The issue here is to acknowledge that the current trend is only going to continue, and come up with strategies for managing this change effectively. Businesses should be examining the following:

  • Are you mobilizing your suppliers well enough to ensure the work they do is aligned to your business aims? 

  • Are you receiving value for money from your suppliers?

  • Are you tapping into innovation, enhanced skills or competitive edge from suppliers? If not, why not?

  • Do you have visibility into, and control over, your total supplier base (from a financial and compliance/ regulatory stand point)?

Some companies are already ahead of the curve. Activision Blizzard, one of the world’s largest and most successful video game developers, recognized this trend early on and began to reconfigure their supply management and sourcing processes – with the goal to better understand and manage their suppliers.

Click here to watch a video presentation about how Activision Blizzard overcame this challenge and some of the results to date.