A freelance TV reporter has come up with a novel way of helping talented media professionals in the Midlands to compete with large London agencies for big contracts.
Robin Powell, who regularly reports for Sky News and the BBC, has established a community of freelances based in Digbeth. Called The Penthouse Studio, it’s based in a top floor office suite opposite the Custard Factory, which is home to a number of creative and media companies.
As well as the start-up Ember Television, the community includes five freelances with skills including PR, marketing, SEO and graphic design.
“There’s a wealth of freelance creative talent in Birmingham, especially as a result of job losses in traditional media,” said Mr Powell, who spent 14 years with ITV Central and network ITV News and Sport, before setting up the corporate communications consultancy Ember Regis.
“Our local universities are also producing some really bright prospects. The Penthouse Studio is all about keeping that kind of talent in the Midlands.
“In the current economic climate, even blue chip clients are working to much tighter budgets and are increasingly looking beyond the big PR and advertising agencies with their massive overheads and rates to match. They’re also happy to look outside London.
“The freelances who’ve joined our community have all retained their unique identity. But by pooling our knowledge, contacts, skills and resources, we’re able to compete for work we simply wouldn’t be able to as individuals.”
Ember Television director Pesala Bandara added: “Communications is such a huge and fast-changing industry nowadays. No one company, unless it’s very large, can possibly have experts in every aspect.
“Being part of the Penthouse Studio has enabled us to work with some of the very best people around.”
The Penthouse Studio has two more places available and is inviting applications from suitable candidates.
“We’re looking for people who share the same high standards and aspirations as we do,” said Mr Powell. “People who want to keep their freelance status but who are also willing to work together to achieve much more than they could on their own.”