Predictions for 2005

As 2004 came to its biblical ending, RealScreen asked its readers to foretell what 2005 might bring. Here's just a sampling of your answers:
January 1, 2005

As 2004 came to its biblical ending, RealScreen asked its readers to foretell what 2005 might bring. Here’s just a sampling of your answers:


‘Big-name media executives backed by venture capitalist cash will buy up moderately successful indies and create ‘super indies’ – soon to become media empires. This will take place at all levels, with small indies being swallowed by big ones and distributors moving into production.’

‘We’ll see the first signs of genuine takeover bids for ITV.

‘Sustaining the momentum of [our] genre will be one of the challenges posited… The opportunity lies in the redefinition of the genre… Authenticity will go a long way. The public is more intelligent than the studios think. Its bs radar is very strong, especially after being saturated with reality programming.’
Vanessa Arteaga, senior programming and production executive, Wellspring

It remains the biggest commercial channel in the U.K., with the best brands, and with a great chance of retaining a valuable share of the ad market in the digital world. I’m hanging onto my shares.’

‘Big challenges for those ‘bread and butter’ documentary producers – middle-of-the-road programs aren’t in demand any longer. Networks want big docs, some with big, dramatic recreations…
‘The good news: lots of new channels going up around the world. The bad news… not lots of money to spend on programs, particularly original ones. But the long-term potential for second cycles of program deals looks promising.’
Gary Lico, CEO, Cableready

The Good…

‘It will be a great year for independent producers working for the U.K. terrestrial broadcasters. The new terms of trade have seen indies forming new relationships with distributors, which should begin to reap tangible cash benefits in 2005.’

‘Less work in the reality sector means doc producers will get a break on the cost spiraling that’s taken place in the production and post area.
‘Producers will ‘court’ sponsors for backing, not just networks…
‘A greater emphasis will be placed on coproductions across both oceans. Real business is coming with China, and not just for media giants…
‘The Internet will take more steps towards the hope it promises indie producers to become a distribution/revenue source.’
Craig Haffner, president and CEO, Greystone Communications

The Bad… and some in between

‘Sales agents see the industry in a difficult period, and it’s not looking as if it is getting any better soon.’

‘More indies setting up distribution arms.’

‘You will see an increase in the number of distributors going out of business.’

‘Another round of commissioning editors playing musical chairs, especially between Five and Channel Four.’

‘More companies will enter the broadband market… Along with this market are the handheld viewers, which will enable consumers to load 300 or more hours on these devices.
‘Satellite stations will continue to multiply and supply viewers worldwide with a huge variety of choices. There will also be a churn of these stations as poorly conceived or financed stations fold.’
Tom T. Moore, president, Reel Media International

Brave new worlds…

‘The TV landscape will become a free-for-all marketplace where viewers are their own program directors in their homes, on cell phones, etc. This will offer production opportunities for producers who are creative, innovative and nimble.’

‘Reality – the stampede to entertain first and inform second will lead to ever new variations and cross-pollination with traditional forms of docs that will further blur the lines.’

‘With expanding channels, there is an increased demand for ‘distinctive and targeted’ production at the lowest possible cost… There are great opportunities for subjects that resonate and feel mainstream, but haven’t yet been tapped.’

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.