Creative agencies, TV producers revolt over TrinityP3's 'power grab'

By Paul McIntyre | 12 February 2014
TrinityP3 managing director, Darren Woolley.

Creative agencies and TV production companies are in revolt over a move by pitch and procurement consultant TrinityP3 for a land grab to control which directors and production companies can use for bigger budget video and TV projects.

No production companies contacted by AdNews would go on the record for fear of compromising their ability to get work in the future from TrinityP3’s move to create a “preferred supplier” roster of production companies which creative agencies have to use for advertiser clients. Creative agencies would also not comment for fear of retribution from TrinityP3 in being left off advertiser pitch lists that Trinity manages on behalf of some of the biggest blue chip advertisers in the country.

“It’s a power grab,” said one. “Everyone is worried about what TrinityP3 might do to enforce its agenda. It wants to control everything.”

In December last year there was a heated industry meeting between TrinityP3 boss Darren Woolley and members of the Commercial Producers Council, housed inside The Communications Council.

Communications Council CEO Margaret Zabel told AdNews: “It’s not a one size fits all solution. Because the challenges raised are real and reflect the changing nature of the communications industry and content development it needs to be worked through collaboratively so there are options for clients to make the right choices for the best outcomes for their business.”

Zabel would not be drawn further other than the preferred supplier issue was continuing to be discussed with brand marketers, creative agencies and production companies.

The biggest concern from creative agencies is being forced to use production companies on the preferred supplier list whether they are best suited or not to the brief. Many production companies are boycotting TrinityP3’s move because it requires unprecedented reporting and intervention from TrinityP3 during briefs.

But according to TrinityP3’s Darren Woolley, the reaction from the industry was too dramatic. He said it would not unleash dramatic change on the sector and probably only affected 20-30 per cent of all major advertisers.

“There is not a coming tsunami. The last time I checked with the Screen Producers Association there was something like 2,000 production companies. About 20 of them get the big-budget jobs of over $200,000.  Traditional practices in the production industry would not stand up to the levels of scrutiny, rigour and governance that is required of business today. I was a copywriter and creative director for 15 years and my biggest influence was in choosing which director I was going to work with. Of course if you take that away people are going to kick-up a stink and chuck a tantrum.”

This is the first piece in a broader feature series AdNews is covering on the TrinityP3 initiative. Our aim is to facilitate a constructive, considered debate on the move and its implications. If you have a contribution, email AdNews editor-in-chief:         

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