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The Effects of the Financial Markets on the Film Industry

The foreign exchange markets have become more and more liquid over the years as global trade has increased, with a daily volume of US $5.3 trillion. The increase in international trade presents some exciting opportunities for both large and small companies across a wide range of industries. For people working in creative industries, it could open up possibilities for international collaboration – and increase access to overseas funding.

But, as last year demonstrated, foreign exchange exposure can also present risks if the rate moves against you. And because exchange rates are a ratio between two currencies, fluctuations can be caused both by events both at home and overseas. So if something happens overseas to strengthen a country’s currency, the Pound can weaken as a result. This can have an impact on costs and profitability for companies that need to make payments in foreign currencies.

Chris Towner from international payments specialists HiFX discusses these issues further and specifically how they could impact the UK Film and Production sector.

 

BC: What is the main cause of currency fluctuations?

CT: Political and economic events both in the UK and overseas can cause exchange rate fluctuations, which can impact how much it costs to make foreign purchases, how competitive companies can be in foreign markets and how desirable companies are to overseas investors.

For example, in the aftermath of the UK’s vote to leave the European Union, the value of the pound against the dollar fell 12 per cent within hours. Three months later that figure had reached 15 per cent. That can be devastating for a business with exposure to foreign currencies.

But there have also been events that have helped to boost the pound. For example, there have been some fluctuations in the US dollar as a result of Donald Trump’s actions since he became President in January, and again following a less positive than expected message in a recent US Federal Reserve announcement.

Meanwhile in Europe, the pound experienced a boost against the euro in the run-up to the recent elections in the Netherlands, where there were concerns that far-right candidate Geert Wilders could gain ground.

 

BC: Can we expect similar uncertainty throughout the year?

CT: There could be a similar effect around the French elections in April and May, and then the German elections in September.

However, there is always the risk of an ‘unknown’ event, which would also impact currency. These events, (sometime referred to as the known unknowns!) such as natural disasters, terrorist attacks and unannounced Central Bank decisions pose a risk to the currency markets.

And as Brexit negotiations progress, these also have the potential to cause fluctuations in the currency markets as investors in the foreign exchange market are likely to be closely following developments.

 

BC: What is the potential impact on the film and media industry?

CT: If you need to spend money in another country, perhaps to purchase equipment from a foreign provider or if you are planning a trip to an overseas location, the recent weakening of the pound means this could become more expensive for you than it would have been this time last year.

For example, if you needed to pay an invoice to a US supplier in dollars when the pound was at its lowest point in January you may have ended up paying almost 20% more than you would have done 7 months earlier.

 

BC: Could currency volatility impact funding into the UK film and production sector? Will investors shy away from the UK?

CT: The weaker pound could potentially make the UK an even more attractive place to invest, as currencies such as euros and US dollars are stronger against the pound so foreign investors could get more for their money. Also, given our film industry is exported overseas, we could also look to benefit from the weaker pound by offering lower cost services.

 

BC: What steps can a business take to protect itself from the impact of currency volatility in the future?

CT: The first step is to understand your exposure and the potential risks to your business. Once you have an understanding of this, you can develop (or review) your company’s Foreign Exchange policy to ensure you have a plan in place, whatever happens next. Then you can start to take a look at the various products on offer that could help you mitigate your risk – these include forward contracts, FX options and FX structured products. These products have all been designed to help companies hedge their risk in different situations. The best time to develop your policy is during calm markets – try not to react to events but plan for them in advance.

 

Let us know your thoughts as well as how your productions handle money between countries below.

Tips on How To Get a Job In the Film and TV Industry – #1 Email Signatures

We sit down with Tom Piamenta, cofounder of WiseStamp,to discuss the importance of formatting and presenting yourself to potential clients and branding techniques.

BC:  Why is it important to have a well-formatted email signature?

TP:  A good email signature serves 3 major goals.

 First, it sets the tone of the email. It shows who you are, your persona (e.g. serious vs fun) and promotes your personal brand.

Second, it lets your recipients easily see who you are and take the conversation into a friendlier place while removing hesitations and obstacles. People are also less likely to ignore a “personal” outreach. This is why adding your personal photo or a favorite quote is a good idea.

Third, an effective signature can be a powerful ally of the content of your email. Let’s say you wish to setup a meeting with someone, you can add to your signature a distinct button saying “Let’s schedule a meeting” that allows the recipient to book a time online.

 

BC: Why is it important to put links to my website and social media profiles?

TP:  People who take the time to view your email are likely to Google your name and gather more data about you. Adding links to your website and profiles makes sure they will come across the content that you want them to see and not random stuff they can found online.

 

BC: Is putting a profile picture next to my email signature a good idea?

TP: This depends on the outcome you’d like to achieve. A profile picture makes the email more personal and harder to ignore, while adding a logo makes matters a bit more formal. Personally, I use a profile picture, since I prefer to keep the conversation light and amiable rather than strictly professional.

 

BC: What other ways can email signatures help me as a freelancer or business?

TP: Your email signature is a powerful piece of real estate you are leaving untapped. That’s actually the reason we created WiseStamp – to allow you to make your signature more effective using a variety of Email Apps.

A physician can add a call to action to his signature (“Book a meeting with me”), where an eBay seller will add a promotion (“Click here to enjoy our holiday pricing”) and an actor can add the cover images to showcase their filmography.

 

BC: Are there any rules to how long an email signature should be?

T.P: I’m a devout believer in the saying that less is more. A good signature should include your profile picture or logo, personal data (name, title, company), icons to your social profiles (Linkedin, Facebook, IMDB  etc.) and a concise call to action relevant to the outcome you wish to achieve.

 

BC: What about font selection?

TP: The only thing to remember is to never use fonts that are not websafe. If you do you have no idea what the recipient will actually see. We only allow websafe fonts at WiseStamp so no need to worry about that.

 

BC: Is it important if I work in a business that everyone’s email signatures are consistent?

TP: When WiseStamp started we only had a solution for individuals, but since consistency is of grave importance our users drove us to develop a team solution that does just that – allow for central management of the company’s email signature. Signatures that aren’t unified reflect badly on the company and sometimes cause actual harm (e.g. if the legal disclaimer is omitted by some employees).

A big advantage of a centrally managed solution is that the company can push its marketing messages in all emails sent with a click, thus promoting webinars, sales, launching new products etc.

 

WiseStamp is the leading growth platform for micro businesses and freelancers, helping over 700,000 professionals grow their business.

On top of the email signature solution, WiseStamp offers tools to create a personal webpage with a click, promote and list your site in search engines and directories etc.

No matter what your business or profession – we’ve got the apps and services to help you achieve your goals: get leads, brand your business, distribute your content, showcase your portfolio, build a community, all while looking super professional – we’ve got the features and tools to help you do it.

 

WiseStamp is offering a 20% off discount to all IMIS members.  Head over to the Members Section to access it.