22 Aug 2012

TOD fees: an insider perspective (Melb)

14 August 2012

In another time in my life I was both a senior account manager and part of the leadership team at Staging Connections in Melbourne.  I am now an event producer and am subject to the TOD charges that you speak of.

SC owes me nothing nor me it.  I am not speaking on behalf of anyone other than myself.


I hate TOD charges and believe they are getting worse.

I am not on “the inside” anymore but would like to clarify some things:
·         SC did not instigate TOD charges, they were forced upon SC by what was the Carlton Crest as part of the contract negotiation many years ago.  Mainly as a result of Rock and Roll style production companies wrecking the venue and its infrastructure.  They then became very popular with venues as an added source of revenue once venue contracts moved to flat commission rather than equipment only.
·         SC was also not responsible, and never has been, for the  kind of anti-competitive behaviour undertaken by venues such as BCEC, SCEC and Adelaide Exhibition Centre.
·         During my time with SC, SC management disliked TOD shifts. For a couple of reasons:
o   Staff hated them, as you can imagine it is very demoralising to sit there and watch someone else do the gig.
o   Senior tech staff refused to do them and some left because of it.
o   SC had to increase staffing resources just to cover the resource requirement, which often stretched hotel operations.
o   It did not, and obviously does not now, reflect well on SC by the pure fact that they are in so many venues, and, most people think it is SC pulling the strings.
o   Labour is not a profit centre in the AV business, as we all know, so having to provide more labour than you would need for core operations is not good.

I think that what happened was that many smaller AV companies thought it was SC that was pushing the agenda and so decided “if they’re doing it, I’m doing it”.


So let’s throw the mud where it deserves to be thrown, the venues.

Sadly through, having been on the other side I understand the venues position.  Tens of millions of dollars are being continuously spent on both technical and building infrastructure which is being wrecked by the lazy and irresponsible few.

It is an enormous burden on our industry and it brings very little value.  So how do we solve it?  I have an idea.

We should use the carnet system as an example.
·         Production suppliers should pay a bond into a trust fund that in turn pays for damage insurance.
·         Suppliers would need to justify their payment based on reputation and weight of work, similar to the way we all negotiate our PL insurance.
·         Producers should pay for a technical handover by the venue technical supplier to their third party suppliers at the start and end of each event period.
·         Any damage should then be reported and an insurance claim made against the production company.
·         The production companies fund payment [or premium] would go up or down based on claims against them.

On another note, smart production companies should agree to “cross-hire” senior techs to third party providers to provide technical support, and even skills, to the third party event.

Probably not going to make many friends with this email but there you go, it needed to be said…


Dave Deveny – managing director
ready set go


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