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'Talent follows talent' - delving into Manchester's Media scene



Undoubtedly, Manchester has been a hotbed of media activity for the last five years.

With the announcement of Media City in 2004 and the arrival of the BBC in 2011, the city has rarely been out of the spotlight – with critics split over the merits of our northern town!

A proud Mancunian myself, I was keen to hear the thoughts of some of the creative industry’s most influential figures at the Insider Business of Media conference.

Held at The Lowry on 19th September, the event was chaired and hosted by North West Insider’s editor, Chris Maguire.

Senior figures from the BBC, ITV and Westminster City Council were among the esteemed list of speakers, with the conference itself broken down into five sections entitled Vision; MediaCity; Showcasing the North West; Challenges; and An Audience With.

The first of the five sections focused on the future vision of business in the North West and was overseen by Sara Tomkins (Manchester City Council), Sue Woodward (The Sharp Project) and Kevin McManus (Liverpool Vision).

An insightful session, it was clear Manchester has a much more secure business network than that of Liverpool. Whether this was an accurate assumption or not, it was certainly the impression I got from the Q&As.

This opinion was only further strengthened by the introduction of Sue Woodward, who is the director of The Sharp Project in Manchester. A charismatic speaker, Sue has clearly spent the majority of her career carving the way for creativity in the North West. Keen to introduce more initiatives, Sue believes creativity cannot be shoehorned into one space – for it to flourish, it needs lots of little areas so it can grow and develop organically.

One of the key objectives that came out of the session was the announcement from Sara Tomkins that Manchester City Council is aiming to provide free public Wi-Fi by Christmas of this year. It seems to me an ambitious goal, but as I know little of digital workings I shall watch and wait in anticipation!

Another interesting point that was raised was the age at which young people should be exposed to their future career options. The general consensus was that we should be connecting with the 12 year olds of this generation and not the 22 year olds – as they are the ones who are capable of embracing the new technology. I believe the cycle of changing attitudes towards technological advancements needs to go much higher before it can fall on the 12 year olds of today. We must embrace change and pave the way for a younger generation.

A powerful and informative session, it seems Manchester is leading the way for digital innovation in the north – if not the UK. With new initiatives designed to improve scope for SMEs and young talent rising through the ranks, Manchester is sure to see some exciting developments over the next 12 months.

In my next post I will be delving into the complex issue of BBC North, ITV and ‘that move’ to Manchester!

 

Tagged with: BBC, Manchester, Media City, PR, Salford