It’s all too easy to think that the media, PR and marketing industries in the UK are centred on London and that nothing of much interest or significance ever happens outside of the M25. However, anyone who has that mindset is mistaken.
Earlier this week I was one of around 3,800 delegates who attended the Prolific North Live exhibition at Event City in Manchester. There were around 130 exhibitors as well as a full seminar programme. Digital media, PR, publishing, marketing, broadcasting, web design and advertising were all well represented, showing how strong these sectors are in the North of England.
The Manchester area in particular seems to be a hotspot of media activity. En route to Prolific North Live from Manchester city centre I passed the Media City site which is home to much of the BBC’s national programming, including sport, Breakfast and Radio 5 live. It’s also where ITV produce programmes such as Jeremy Kyle and, of course, Coronation Street.
When I lived in London a few years ago I was often struck by how many people I met who had never been to my home city of Glasgow and even treated a visit to Liverpool or Newcastle in the same manner as a trip to Outer Mongolia. Even a well travelled man such as Jose Mourinho seems to be having trouble adjusting to life in Manchester and refuses to relocate his family from London. OK, I know from personal experience that the M6 can be considerably less than pleasant, but the train from Manchester Piccadilly to Euston only takes two hours and I’m sure that the Special One can easily afford a first class ticket.
Although the Government seems to have gone a bit cold on the Northern Powerhouse initiative, there are a lot of positive things happening in the North of England, particularly in the media and creative industries. Despite what the metropolitan elite in London may think, it isn’t all Grim up North.