Efficient Program and Project Management Helps Global Entertainment Company Successfully Execute Critical Business Transformation Projects

Customer: Large Media and Entertainment StudioProfile: The Studio group of a global Entertainment company is responsible for the marketing, sales, distribution, rights management and revenue management of the theatrical content produced by the various production houses of the company.

Services: Program and Project Management, Product Management and Development

Size: 100,000+ employees
Region: Global
Industry: Media and Entertainment

Business Need

The theatrical industry went through a technological revolution in the 2000s that changed creation and consumption of theatrical content in ways it had not in more than half a century. And it all happened really really fast. DVDs were moving to Blue-rays. Bonus content was getting popular as creators found new ways to connect with their audience. Streaming content and smart phones arrived. Emerging economies in Asia, Africa and LATAM were adding thousands of new digital screening venues every single week. Blockbuster digital content needed to be planned, mastered and securely distributed under highly competitive release calendars to a global audience. Entertainment Studios had to adapt quickly to this changing landscape or risk failure to capitalize or worse, get disrupted.

Analysis

In 2006, Synoptek was brought on to assess and assist the Studio in their transformation effort. A re-org in Home Entertainment division brought together all the global operations together under one global head. The Synoptek team conducted an analysis of their as-is business processes across different regions. This analysis covered all divisions that touched the business including marketing, sales, creative content, operations, supply chain, finance, rights management, and Title management. This exercise identified redundancies across their global ops. They put together a Business Process Framework for their global practice. To-be business processes were created covering an end to end post-production road map.

Solution

On getting stakeholder approval, Synoptek began its first solution implementation by building a solution to manage their global home video product planning, mastering and release. The first phase built system integrations between the new system and Finance (SAP), Rights Management System, functions by the creative team, and digital content management (MDM). This allowed all aspects of a Title to be managed from its inception while it was still in production. It helped global release planning to start well before the movie even opened in theatres anywhere.

The process kick started with Finance greenlighting a Title and passing it on to a closely integrated webbased solution where sales and marketing could conduct their release planning while Creative/Mastering operations could conduct detailed product master management. This solution allowed global teams to view the same information at any given point of time with ease of access while putting in controls dictated by the business process framework to ensure redundancies were eliminated.

During the execution of this project, a need for a centralized Content planning system was proposed. The digital content system was implemented from code to deployment by a team supported by project managers, product managers, and lead developers from the Synoptek services teams.

The centralization of systems continued with the design and implementation of a new Global Planning Release System (GPRS) that allowed Studio Marketing to plan for their release dates in coordination with different business units within the Corporate enterprise. Release dates are the single biggest drivers in the Theatrical industry given the massive global operations depending on these dates. In order to meet the needs of such an operation, it is critical that business processes as well as platform solutions built to support them are real-time and virtually fail-proof.

The second phase of Synoptek’s contributions was to assist in enhancing the Studio business on the global distribution of theatrical content. With the new wave of blockbuster franchises, Studios estimates expected opening weekend earnings in hundreds of millions growing over just a few weeks to over a billion dollars. This trend was especially generated by growing worldwide operations due to emerging markets in Asia, Africa, and LATAM. China alone was adding over a thousand screens every week. Content planning was required in more languages (Subs and Dubs) than ever before. The supply chain needed to be expanded to onboard new vendors globally. Security concerns were heightened given the fanatic buzz generated by these popular titles.

Synoptek’s product management services helped the customer in building new systems and enhancing existing systems to support the required business transformation. A new digital content system was developed from design to implementation successfully utilizing true agile methodology ensuring the business received a solution custom-fit to their unique requirements. This solution allowed the studios to control the content generation and version control in a centralized manner. This system integrated with a centralized Order Management System (OMS). The OMS coordinated real time with content and key vendors around the globe managing a complex mesh of content delivered securely by a variety of modes (satellite, hard drive, electronically) across every territory.

The product architecture around the OMS was one of the most technologically complex ones in the entire industry. Synoptek managed to deliver this by implementing true agile methodology on the management side. They conducted safe planning months in advanced and built out detailed backlogs driven by the business priorities.

Business Results

Synoptek continues to partner with the entertainment company in ongoing support and upgrade of a global planning and distribution system. We have successfully delivered critical business transformation projects where there was very little margin for error. We demonstrated our ability to grasp the scale and complexity of the challenges that a business face. Our consulting services have helped businesses assess their strengths and weaknesses to build a strategic roadmap towards a future where they can sustain their success, while our Program and Project management has helped businesses to restructure their teams and bring in best practices to execute projects within the estimated cost and time limits.

Synoptek believes in not only bringing the best practices in management and implementation to deliver projects but setting up the practice as the core of business and technology teams that can sustain their growth for many years to come.

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