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October 2017

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  • The Facilities 50
    Jon Creamer launches Televisual's 30th exclusive annual Facilities 50 survey featuring the top post production houses in the UK and 52 pages of analysis of the sector
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    Hiring top talent and investing heavily in development have been key to growing his Bristol indie Plimsoll Productions, says founder Grant Mansfield
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    What ever genre you work in, you need to be lens savvy. Here three DoPs guide us through the lens market, picking out the models they like to use in drama and factual
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    The growth of Netflix and Amazon is proving a boon for UK indies, but broadcasters are starting to panic. Tim Dams reports
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Facilities 50 2009 Back to Reports & survey Listing

Broadcaster post

The recession has hit the broadcaster post sector harder than their indie rivals. Hundreds of jobs have gone over the past year, meaning that broadcaster post operations are leaner – and arguably more cost effective – than before

The world of broadcaster post production has seen some major changes over the past year. Against a background of recession and declining broadcaster commissions and budgets, the broadcaster post sector has seen hundreds of jobs simply disappear.

In a move that sent shockwaves through the television industry, ITV mothballed the historic Leeds Studios – home to Emmerdale – in March as part of its drive to cut costs across the broadcaster. 180 staff were also made redundant.

Meanwhile, BBC Studios and Post Production – formerly known as BBC Resources – has seen 173 jobs go in post production alone as part of a significant restructure and cost cutting exercise.

With staff levels cut back, broadcaster post operations are now, generally, trying to play up their cost effectiveness to budget challenged clients.  “It is vital we continue to be a flexible studio facility for all productions, no matter how big or small,” says MTV Studios vice president of studio facilities Jane Anderson and director of operations Sam Webb. “This includes continuing to ensure that the packages we offer are value for money by also offering the use of our internal post production facilities which will give the client greater economies of scale.” Others talk in similar fashion about the importance of offering an “end to end solution” for clients and being a “one-stop-shop service” across studios and post production.

Like their indie post rivals, broadcaster post companies are looking at everything from workflow to new platforms to help out clients. “Broadcasters’ expectations for reduced programme budgets have challenged us to ensure every area of the business is as efficient as we can make it,” says The London Studios’ Jacqui Rutherford. “We have sought out growth opportunities in supporting our clients with their use of more diverse distribution platforms. In conjunction with our studio operations, we have undertaken significant investment to ensure we will lead the field in flexible workflows regardless of the delivery platform. We have also looked to offer more cost effective volume deals.”

BBC Studios and Post Prodution
CEO Mark Thomas
Joint head of operations Clive Hodge, Craig White
Joint head of commercial management John O’Callaghan, Paul Austin
Genres TV
Credits EastEnders, Comic Relief, Pointless
Services audio (stereo, 5.1), grading (2k), telecine (HD), editing, studios and crews, film restoration

It’s been a tumultous year for BBC Studios and Post Production. Formerly separate divisions under the now defunct BBC Resources brand,  the post and studio divisions have come together as part of a major restructure plan overseen by CEO Mark Thomas.

In all, about one third of the total workforce has now gone, with 173 roles closed in post alone. 468 jobs remain in the new entity. Announcing the restructure to staff back in March, Thomas said that: “We are no longer a profitable company, which means that we have to change to survive.”

Now, however, Thomas says the “heavy lifting is over,” and that the restructure “has allowed us to make savings and remain competitive on price. We’re working very collaboratively with our long established customers on ways of delivering services at lower prices.” 

Thomas adds: “One of our USPs is that we can deliver more of an end to end service to customers than our colleagues in the market.”

Working with inhouse productions and open to independent producers, BBC Studios and Post works across some of the corporation’s biggest shows including EastEnders and Comic Relief.

MTV Studios
VP of studio facilities Jane Anderson
Director of operations Sam Webb
Head of studios Sam Dunlop
Post production manager Charlotte Murphy
Genres TV, music promos
Credits Missing, The Week We Went to War, Clever vs Stupid, Staraoke 
Services audio, vfx (2d, 3d, animation), editing, DVD, camera/ crew hire, TV studios

Camden-based MTV Studios offers post services as well as studio space, billing itself as a “one-stop-shop experience.” Credits in the past year include Leopard Films’ Missing series for BBC1, Finestripe’s The Week We Went to War for BBC1 and Archie Productions’ Staraoke for Cartoon Network. “It is vital that we continue to be a flexible studio facility for all productions, no matter how big or small,” say vp of studio facilities Jane Anderson and director of operations Sam Webb. “This includes continuing to ensure the packages we offer are value for money.”

The London Studios
Md Debbie Hills
Director of post production operations Jacqui Rutherford
Head of facilities Soraya Robertson
Credits Dancing On Ice (ITV), Come Dine with Me (C4), Britain's Best Dish (ITV)
Services audio (stereo), colour grading (HD), vfx (2D, 3D), editing, DVD, TV Studios

The London Studios has major shows such as Dancing on Ice and Come Dine With Me passing through its doors. It concentrates, says director of post Jacqui Rutherford, on “working closely with our production clients to develop the most cost effective workflows” as well as “ensuring we support 360 degree exploitation of their programmes across all distribution formats, from HD to mobile phones.” Over the next year, London studios plans to offer more VOD services and high volume/low cost editing services. It will also work closely with its studio operations to deliver cost effective , end to end produciton solutions.”

Director of northern resources Paul Bennett
Head of post production David Boyle
Customer service Chris Clarkson
Genres TV, corp, ads, promos, film
Credits Coronation Street, The Street, Tonight
Services audio (5.1, foley, ADR), grading (HD), vfx (2d, 3d, animation), editing, DVD/Blu-ray, camera/crew hire, TV studios, duplication, transcoding, standards conversion

Manchester’s 3sixtymedia is jointly owned by the BBC and ITV and bills itself as offering a one-stop-shop “from high volume productions and long form drama to fast turnaround programmes and international co-pro HD documentaries.”

Head of post production David Boyle says that 3sixtymedia has been keeping busy in a tough market, and is focusing on “finding additional income streams to supplement our core broadcast TV business such as pop promos, commercials and budget features.”

Plans for the year ahead, says Boyle, include “focusing on services and solutions that can deliver for ever more challenging budgets, using more of tools like Forscene and developing infrastructure for improved file based workflows.” 3sixtymedia employs 131 staff and works on major network shows such as Coronation Street, The Street and Tonight. Key creative staff include dubbing mixer Mark Briscoe, dubbing editor Tim Cockerill, colourist Neil Parker, dubbing mixer Dion Stuart, editor Danny Ward and vfx specialist Tan Hanif. Over the next year, 3sixtymedia plans to invest in edit systems, network storage and audo monitoring.

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