By Marc Loftus
Issue: August 1, 2003


I initially met Bob Koch while he was a VP/managing director at TZ, the design division of the now defunct National Video Center in New York City. Today, he is an industry consultant and we touch base every couple of months to compare rumors and rumblings.

It's interesting to note what's been going on in the broadcast design field these days. A number of houses have closed offices or shut down, leaving others to pick up that work.

Koch spent five months working with one Manhattan-based design house to put together a full-time sales initiative that would more aggressively seek out business. The facility had previously relied solely on word of mouth to bring in work. And while that worked, they wanted to be able to target new prospects. "It's hard to find people who are specifically focused and dedicated to the roll of sales at creative and production services companies," says Koch of the salesperson search. "There aren't a lot of professionals in that roll. Most of the people in this business want to be creatives, producers or even animators."

Sales positions, he notes, have very different requirements. "Six months down the road, the person is still going to be faced with 10 hours of selling each day. This is not creative script writing or executive production."

He was able to get about a half-dozen applicants in front of his client, one of whom was selected and is already handling pitches and attending shows like Promax/BDA.

Koch says the design business is changing and the demand for design-specific facilities might be tapering off. "It seems like the level of service from a creative standpoint and a strategic standpoint is no longer needed." There are less networks launching and existing networks are not rebranding as much, he notes. "So the client pool is kind of disappearing." It will be interesting to see how it pans out. Will editing houses offer more design services? Koch does not think so. "I don't think they have enough credibility in trying to be a design house."

Perhaps the networks will bring the creatives in-house? "Networks are saying, ‘Let's invest in these guys because they can offer strategic vision as well as design,'" says Koch. "Add a few visual people to work under them and you don't need an editing or design house."