Agtel win EU project and look to the future with e-learning
IT is best known for one of the most traditional TV shows out there, but 'Ear to the Ground' producer Agtel is now looking to the smart economy and international contracts to ride out the recessionary storm.
The 31-year-old firm has just scooped a €130,000 contract for a "communications awareness project" for the Luxembourg-based Radiation Protection Unit, which falls under the EU's DG for Energy and Transport.
The contract marks Agtel's third European win over the last year. "It's very important to us because we need to operate outside of Ireland," says Agtel boss John Cummins, citing the "tough" environment at home.
Agtel is already making 15pc of its "non-broadcast" revenue from projects outside the home country, by 2011/12 Cummins hopes to grow this to 25pc. "It's very competitive out there, but the one good thing about the last few years is that Irish companies have become a lot more competitive," he says.
The Dublin-based firm is also aggressively targeting non-broadcast growth at home and abroad, through traditional video work for corporates and government, and by branching into new areas like e-learning.
"That's one of the areas we see real growth in," says Cummins. "There's a lot of money being spent on face-to-face training, with broadband being rolled out more there's a fantastic opportunity to do more training through e-learning videos."
The foray into Europe and e-learning means non-broadcast work now makes up about 40pc of Agtel's total revenue. "We'd love to do more broadcast, but it's very hard to see growth in the sector," says Cummins, referencing a 35-45pc fall in Agtel's broadcast income over the last two years, dragging Agtel's total revenue down to less than €3m for the year ended June 2009.
Despite this, Agtel has managed to keep its core staff of 20, though there are far fewer contracting staff on the books these days. "It's not all depression in the sector by any means," insists Cummins.
"There's a lot happening in new media, there's plenty of things we can do, people just have to be innovative."