Well, it's been a long time coming. Advertising agencies are getting called out for their in-house post production - primarily editorial services - by the governing body of all things post, the AICE...

Our primary goal in issuing this statement is to raise awareness on the part of the advertiser community and urge them to seek a greater level of transparency from their agencies when it comes to how their post production work is handled,” says AICE Executive Director Rachelle Madden. “While we certainly don’t expect agencies to eliminate their in-house facilities, we simply want to bring more transparency to the process and help level the playing field in terms of competing fairly and honestly for their clients’ work.
— Rachelle Madden, AICE Executive Director
Our main goal is to call for greater transparency in the process of awarding post production work and to raise clients’ awareness of what’s involved when they let their agencies handle post assignments in-house. We want a fair playing field, where our bids and our creative work can be evaluated fairly and accurately, without being manipulated or gamed in any way.
— Craig Duncan, AICE Board President

The argument, in a nutshell is that the deck is stacked unfairly against post production vendors due in part to the incentivizing of agency staff to use internal services as much as possible. These incentives can come in many forms, the most obvious of these being bonuses followed by recognition of said agency ‘saving their client money’ by taking certain parts of a project in-house.

Obsidian represents a wide range of talent underneath the post production umbrella and while we do [and always will] think that competition in any form is a good thing, the AICE’s call for advertising agencies to show increased levels of transparency in their practices should be laid out as clearly and concisely as possible not only for the benefit of their vendor relationships, but also to their own clients who trust agencies to use their best judgement on all things creative. This transparency will aid in the good kind of competition, i.e. the best idea wins, and who doesn't love that [hint: probably the ones with shitty ideas]?

Obsidian would like to thank Screen Magazine for this article