How the guide works

In this, our second Top 100 publication, we’ve compiled several different league tables. The main one is an overview of the Top 100 companies across the key creative sectors; TV, digital, design, marketing and advertising, PR, animation and publishing.

These tables are all built from information submitted by the individual companies after completing an online survey form. All creative companies across the region were invited to take part and the project was promoted far and wide, on the Bristol media web site, sister cluster and sector network web sites and through general press releases announcing the launch of the survey in local and media press.

In a change to last year’s table, we’ve ranked companies by their fee based income. Fee based income refers to a company’s turnover excluding any major out cost such as media spend, print or costs of production. In other words it is the fee that companies bill clients in return for direct services. Compiling the table in this way gives us a much clearer and fairer picture of the revenues generated by the creative industries across our region, and through it we have noticed a slight shift in some companies’ positions.

However, The Top 100 is purely a financial measure and takes no account of physical size, creativity or client satisfaction.

We asked all companies completing the survey to provide audited figures or where this wasn’t possible projections for 2009/10. Our primary objective for the publication was to get a flavour of the size, financial position and combined value of the South West’s creative sector; and so disqualifying companies because they hadn’t filed final accounts was simply not an option for us.

We have also included sector specific Top 10’s (where possible) so readers can see a snap shot of the region’s most significant players. They show companies in the exact same position as the main Top 100 table, merely recognised by sector.

Companies chose for themselves which sector described the majority of their work. This of course doesn’t mean that this is their sole area of business and where given, we have highlighted in their individual profiles, the business split and range of operations.

There were also several companies that wanted to take part in the survey, but because of their ownership, were unable to participate. This is due to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, passed in the US in 2002 as a result of the wave of corporate accounting scandals. The act makes the CEOs or CFOs of public companies personally liable for any false or misleading financial information put out by their companies. As a result some multinational groups have declined to submit their figures.

On top of individual questions about their business we also asked people completing the survey to choose the creative company and individual (other than themselves) they most respected in the region. The votes were counted and verified by Smith Williamson and the resulting tables can be seen here.

Although collating the Top 100 companies was our primary focus we didn’t want to overlook the wealth of new, start up talent or companies that just missed out this year, so we’ve created our very own “Ones to Watch” section for those we thought deserved an honourable mention for doing interesting and exciting work. We’ve also caught up on last year’s “Ones to Watch” to see what 2009/10 has meant for them. On top of this we have a couple of new features this year, including a look into the rise of social media in our industry and “New Kids on The Block” in which several new and exciting start ups tell us why they chose the toughest financial year for a decade in which to set up their new business.

Finally, a health warning. While we’ve taken the utmost care and attention when compiling the tables, they can ultimately only be as reliable as the information supplied to us by the companies themselves and the figures signed off by their agency head or financial director. The tables are therefore, to the best of our knowledge an accurate forecast of the leading creative companies in the South West.