So, advertising revenue is falling off a cliff and an official announcement that Britain is in recession is likely any moment now.
What better time to try to convince the North West media to move en masse to Salford?
That’s the challenge faced by Peel Media, the company developing the vast MediaCity complex on the outskirts of Manchester. It says 1,400 people are working on the site on any given day – and the builders have clocked up more than three million man hours so far.
The BBC’s move here in 2011 is supposed to be the first part of a much bigger story – the creation of a major media hub for the North West.
And although the BBC and the University of Salford have publicly committed to the move, there’s been no official word yet from Granada (aka ITV Productions), the Manchester Evening News or any of the other news organisations in the area.
“Persuading people to shift their business is going to be a significant challenge,” Peel Media head of communications Paul Newman told the Television from the Nations and Regions conference in Salford today.
“Many [companies] are changing their strategy on an almost daily basis. Advertising is falling of a cliff. It clearly doesn’t help – but it does focus people’s minds on what they want to do with their business.”
Peel Media has confirmed it is in talks with Granada about moving to the complex. They’ve even set aside a plot of land for the broadcaster in the hope it will commit.
“There’s been ongoing negotiations,” Newman said. “The negotiations are by their very definition very slow and tortuous. It can take months if not years.”
The first building in the MediaCity complex is due to be handed over to the BBC in August this year.
And the first residents are due to arrive in March 2010, about a year before journalists working for BBC Radio FiveLive and BBC Sport – among other departments – make the move.