Puttnam backs creative educational initiative  

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Oscar-winning film producer, Lord (David) Puttnam and University of the Arts London (UAL) have launched a major new educational initiative for the screen industries including film, television, animation, post-production, visual effects, sound and music for moving image, games and immersive realities. The initiative will be delivered by UAL’s London College of Communication, a specialist in creative communication education.

Launching the initiative at MIPCOM in Cannes, Lord Puttnam and Larra Anderson, Dean of Screen at London College of Communication, UAL, outlined details of an executive MBA, aimed at the global market, set to start in autumn 2019.

According to the pair, screen industries, now multi-billion dollar businesses in key markets around the world, have seen unprecedented creative and technological growth and ‘disruption’ recently, and are now worth some $536 billion globally per year.

In 2016, the TV and film industry contributed £7.7 billion to the UK economy, 80 per cent more than five years earlier. In the UK, Germany and France, commercial creative industries generate around €161 billion in GVA per year and provide jobs for 2.2 million people. Within these creative hubs, the audio-visual sector is most dominant.

This summer, the US Box Office saw sales surge 14 per cent from 2017 to $4.2billion. By 2020, China’s box office revenues are expected to reach 200 billion yuan (£22.4bn), at which point it will overtake the US to become the world’s biggest film market in terms of revenues and audience size.

The massive global success of ‘digital disruptors’ such as Netflix and YouTube is clear for all to see.  In Europe, subscriptions to SVoD services have been growing at an average rate of 55.5 per cent per year since 2011, while streaming is just as popular in the US – 55 per cent of US households now subscribe to at least one streaming service, generating revenues of $2.1 billion per month. Across the world, one billion hours of content is watched on YouTube every day, with a huge portion of that viewing time happening on mobile.

“The need for clear-sighted leadership in the screen industries has never been more critical,” declared Puttnam. “We’re witnessing extraordinary levels of creativity – from individuals and small companies to the major global players, with unprecedented growth in markets all over the world.  The need to manage creative people and processes has never been more fundamental to the screen industries’ success.  It is absolutely vital that we have leaders with strong and strategic business acumen in order to navigate these challenges. This MBA is aimed at doing exactly that.”

“Our EMBA will not only teach the key leadership and business disciplines associated with MBAs, but it will specifically address the nature and challenges of the screen industries in the coming years,” explained Anderson. “This course will teach management and business strategy and skills within the clear context of supporting, nurturing and harnessing the creative method to meet the needs and expectations of audiences. All of the EMBA’s units refer to this, requiring learners to manage the conflicts and opportunities generated by the essentially creative nature of the screen industries.”

Core subjects covered by the EMBA will include leadership, management of people, teams and projects; risk management, organisational management, finance, strategy and marketing. In terms of addressing the creative industries, it will also cover, for example:

Managing convergence – a dominant feature of the screen industries: the skills and practices of many previously-distinct industry sectors (Film, TV, Animation, Post Production, Sound Design and Music for moving image, VR, AR, MR, Visual Effects, and Games) now come together in complex projects to create screen assets. The EMBA will bring people together from those sectors, supporting them to create business cases and produce cross-sectoral moving-image products. It will also encourage learners to collaborate across the sectors and to build best-practice.

Managing virtually: The components of screen products are now commonly made, simultaneously, in different parts of the world. This calls for very high levels of project management, rigorous planning and quality control. Learners must manage, and be managed in, these virtual projects, and will again be required to learn and develop ways of working successfully in such circumstances, taking into account cross-cultural issues and different management styles.

Managing creativity: Learning how to nurture creative people and processes against demanding financial and business objectives.

The EMBA will be taught largely online, with residential units taught in London, accommodating both UK and international students and will take place over an 18-month period.


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