North/South Divide in the Media Industry
It’s a well-known fact that the cost of living is higher in the South, I’ve recently moved from a small town called Leyland to London so this difference has become apparent to me, there is a big contrast. “You would need around £2,955.62 in Manchester to maintain the same standard of life that you can have with £4,500.00 in London.”
Coming from Leyland, the transport in London is to me more developed as it gets more funding that the North. I found it very helpful getting on a bus and it tells me where to get off with a screen too! The tube is very convenient, but many people believe that even the cost of travel is too high, it’s even been said that London’s travel card is one of the most expensive in the world. “A monthly travel-card costs £135 ($174), according to a Deutsche Bank report - £33 ($43) more than Dublin, which was ranked second priciest city.” London is one of the world’s most expensive cities, on the same level as New York.
In terms of the ‘London lens’ people believe that London is an exclusive place to live, despite the high living costs. It’s a place that everyone knows around the world, it’s multicultural and has a lot of job opportunities and so people flock to it. Also, it has global chart-topping universities like Imperial and University College and the University of London. Some people choose ‘the best of both worlds’ in that they live quite far out of London and commute in, this is quite successful for them if they can also work from home. For most people who live in London, renting is the only option and its pricey. People are willing to pay crazy prices though so this means that the issue can never be resolved, at least not yet anyway.
In terms of the north/south divide in the media industry, Cat Lewis, the founder of Nine Lives Media, has recently said that more needs to be done to reflect the diversity of the UK in on and off-screen roles. “All too often in recent years, the lives of people in the nations and regions have been captured through a London lens, and the end result is not authentic. To truly reflect our wonderful country, programme makers at all levels should be both from diverse backgrounds, and they should live in different parts of the country,”. Many believe there are not enough jobs in the media outside of London. In television it’s widely stated how only 6% of jobs are advertised as it is, so this makes the issue even bigger in the North. The cost of living in London makes it very difficult for those from a poorer background who live in the north to get their break.
There has been the introduction of Media City but because again only 6% of jobs are advertised it’s still difficult for those who don’t have any contacts to get their break.
The question is, if the industry can break out of London and become more diverse across the UK. What do you think? Can it?