Our intern Sarah Rankine from Melbourne Australia gives her perspective on the news agenda from both parts of world
Coming to the cold London winter from hot Melbourne, I was excited to finally start working with Franklin Rae PR and get my first taste of what it’s like to work in public relations. Currently studying a degree in communications, I wanted to gain more experience and understanding of what this career path could hold for on a global scale, so I applied to come to London to start an internship with a company which understood my goals and was willing to help me achieve them.
After spending nearly 2 months of learning about the industry and experiencing the British media sphere from daily newspaper reading both with the physical papers as well as major news sources online, I’ve gained a deeper understanding and appreciation for how news is shared around the United Kingdom and the EU compared to Australia and other countries around the world. I’ve watched top stories focus on issues close to home, like the Australian bushfires to UK specific issues like Brexit and Megxit, and of course the worldwide outbreak of the Coronavirus. Whilst observing all this news and living in London for the first time, I’ve seen how the current events affect the nation from the social media presence, to the people talking about top stories whilst being handed newspapers at the entrance to the tube stations.
One of the main differences I’ve seen, is how serious the news here comes across, as compared to the laidback nature of Australia, which is apparently not just a stereotype as I had originally thought. The colloquial language which is commonplace in a lot of Australian newspapers and online publications shows a real trend that I’ve come to appreciate through watching the British media of how, despite speaking the same language these two countries communicate within themselves very differently. I’ve noticed all the ways in which Australian and British newspapers tend to differ and remain similar can be likened to how that represents the overall culture of these countries. While Melbourne based newspapers like the Herald Sun and The Age often have headlines and front pages dedicated discussing the Australian Football League (AFL), the tennis and other sports along with current events, the UK newspapers tend to add their sports section in the back, reserving the front page for updates on ‘hard news’ as well as the royal family or the nation’s obsession with the weather especially the recent storm that was widespread across the country.
Whilst the UK has around twelve newspapers published daily, Australia only has a two or three big publications per state. The huge size of Australia means that very rarely do we get the same headlines across the whole country, rather each state having its own issues to focus on, and only delving into the huge global issues. Meanwhile the vast amount of content in the UK not only discusses the current events of this country, but so many others, and every different publication often has a significantly different take on the story. Once I got over how overwhelming this was, I realised how the diversified content enables the general public to be a lot more well-informed about what is going on in the world, rather than just the country. This showed me just how far away and cut off Australia appear to be at times.
As my time here comes to an end, I’ve been reviewing all the skills I’ve learnt, like how to write a press release, prepare a post for Instagram, create a media list and understanding just how the PR industry functions from an internal perspective. This opportunity has opened my eyes to the literal ‘’world of opportunities that are available and given me a great amount of knowledge that I definitely feel will help me to find a career within this field.
Long gone is the simple passive sit back and watch whatever is put in front of you TV consumption, perhaps with the remote in hand to channel surf as the only way to be entertained in the 2020s.
The industry has been gearing up for a number of years now to stay ahead of consumer demand and simultaneously delivering what current audiences still wants from linear TV. You only have to look at the back pages of Broadcast to see that there are still large numbers of the UK population that are devoted to some of the big name terrestial shows, Coronation Street and Call the Midwife to name a couple – both with healthy and consistent ratings – which is especially good news with so much scrutiny and discussion for the PSB and of course the hotly anticipated new DG role at the BBC. Plus the British TV viewing public still has a strong habit for ‘event viewing’ and a love of traditional family primetime entertainment slots – Six Nations and The Masked Singer equally prove so.
So what’s changed or changing?
Stats show that the family are not always sitting on the sofa together. Tablets, smartphones and other mobile devices enable viewing almost anywhere. We are likely to be multitasking on at least one other activity whilst watching – inbox clear out, social media scrolling or commenting. So whilst the EPG clearly still has a place, it hasn’t always got 100% attention of the viewer when it’s being used.
We’re seeing some growing dynamic and key consumer habits all at play in what’s behind the evolution of TV viewing and what both commissioners and production companies are working around:
- Demand for an ‘a la carte’ TV menu – from content genres to the type of service (eg terrestrial vs streaming and VOD) so we can watch what we want when we want
- Unbundling – we no longer want to sign up to a subscription and accept the wastage that we won’t watch half of the content we’re paying for. More often the average household may have freeview, multiple subscriptions and stream content as part of their personalised entertainment package. The winner will be the provider that can house everything under one bundle
- The reliability and seamless quality of the tech is expected as the norm so not to impact the viewing experience – nothing more frustrating than the wheel of doom at that crucial edge of your seat ‘who dunnit’ moment
- Ad free or at the least the capability to skip or block – there’s still a huge abundance of the consumer not in control in this respect. If you watch any amount of kids entertainment on You Tube where the AVOD is slammed in front of the future TV viewer. (Even the toddler knows how to find the mouse on the Mac and skip the ads…at age 3!)
- Better time shifting – more than just live pause and only being able to fast forward, rewind or stop when it’s recorded
- Even more interactivity – where will VR and wearable tech take consumer engagement? This could go well beyond the gaming content where you’d think it majors most. It will be interesting to see which players cease and master it first
So with all this in mind? It makes for another conversation to come of who’s really in control of the future of content – supply vs demand – is it really the viewer? ‘Give me what I want’ vs ‘show me something I don’t know that I need’…yet? Then the proverbial remote control goes right back into the hands of the scriptwriter, the director, the commissioner, even the investors. Franklin Rae PR will be watching.
Continuing our profile series with the wonderful Women in Film & TV UK, and celebrating our proud sponsorship of their monthly networking event, we sat down with Film composer and Classical Electronic artist Alexandra Hamilton-Ayres.
What’s been your best career moment so far?
Exciting meetings about an upcoming feature film that I can’t wait to start working on!
What was the last Film you saw in the cinema?
What did you think of the music?
I loved the interplay of music and sound design with the doorbell.
If you could work with anyone who would it be?
Sorrentino. I love his work!
If you could have written the music for any film ever, what would it be?
Answering this would be like saying someone else’s music wasn’t good enough, but I would love to write music for something like Bait.
When did you realise you wanted to write for film?
I guess I became curious in my teens, when my dad played me a demo tape from a composer he worked on development with on a feature. I learned to play the theme on the piano and started to explore emotional ideas around it. I think it was then I knew deep down I wanted to write music for film, but it took me a longer time to get the confidence to get into it.
What is your favourite genre of movie to score?
Not specifically a genre, but anything I emotionally or psychologically connect with. I think as a composer you have to want to tell the story.
Do you make music for yourself as well as film projects?
Yes! I really feel that all of my music, even film work has to represent me as an artist. I love playing on stage and will be releasing an album of my own work later in the year.
In which area would you like to improve as a composer?
In every aspect – there is always room to improve.
What music do you relax to? And what do you put on to party?
This is a difficult question. Totally depends on what I am into in the moment. I love old 60s tunes and listening to film scores on the radio. It’s hard to switch off from work whatever you are listening to. I love a good electronic track for parties!
One thing you would tell your 16 yr old self …
Be more confident and believe in yourself! Something I tell myself every day now but probably only started doing a few years ago.
Tell me something I may not know from reading your biograghy…
I love collaborating – be it with film makers, other musicians, dancers, artists. Seeing through a vision with other people is really rewarding.
Alexandra Hamilton-Ayres is a Bristol-based film composer and classical electronic artist represented by Manners McDade. Her most recent film work includes BAFTA-nominated Douglas King’s new dark comedy Do No Harm alongside indie drama feature STATIC with director Alexander Klaus. She scored Aleksandra Czenczek‘s Oscar-qualifying film Last Day of Summer, Turned to the Sun by writer/director Keith Wilhelm Kopp and LA-based director Kaelyn Maehara’s anti-industrial fishing documentary By the Water featuring the Indian environmentalist Siddarth Chakravarty. 2019 has seen a commission for the Barbican Centre, London scoring an abstract dance film with director Klaas Diersmann and choreographer Pepe Ubera.
Alexandra’s earliest commissions for the stage after studying Music at the University of Bristol include writing the music for Josefine, an opera adaptation from Franz Kafka with librettist, film writer/director Tim Hamilton and music for the animation The Great Projectionist. She also wrote music for physical theatre company Up the Ante’s adaptation of Henry Miller’s Smile at the Foot of the Ladder and in 2016, Swedish circus producer Lina B. Frank scouted Alexandra for Oddly Moving Circus Theatre’s national touring production of He Ain’t Heavy.
As a solo artist performing piano and live electronics, her passions lie in the duality between the classical and electronica worlds, moving picture and her love for the piano. Having studied continuous music for piano with Erased Tapes artist Lubomyr Melnyk, she has performed alongside artists such as Talvin Singh, Gabríel Ólafs, Mara Simpson, Throwing Snow and TSHA at venues and festivals such as Union Chapel, Butley Priory, Cheltenham International Music Festival and BEaST Electronic Music Festival. Alexandra performed tibetan bowl in Towards Silence for the John Tavener Memorial Concert at Gloucester Cathedral. She was commissioned to write a dance track Prana for Fiya House at Sadlers Wells Breakin’ Convention 19, released featuring composer and vocalist Suvi-Eeva (featured on HANNA series). 2019 also saw her debut release as an artist 19-88, with rework collaborations by Fuchsklang Musik’s Phaebel, Mara Simpson, Frances Shelley and Freddie Prest. 2020 will see the release of her album 2 Years Stranger.