An increasing amount of ‘non-media’ businesses are becoming more self-sufficient on the media frontier. First, we saw this trend happen with computers. Companies that had one or two computers would outsource their maintenance and repair jobs to outside contractors, but gradually IT departments started springing up in every business.
Now many of the companies of varying sizes have their own in-house team to produce video content for a variety of purposes. These videos can range from marketing, training, corporate communications, to full on advertising, depending on the company. According to Forest Bronzan at Video Aptitude, “Zappos (an online shoe retailer) is a great example of a company needing tens of thousands of product videos and taking the plunge to fulfill this on their own.”(http://bit.ly/1hbO7zY) And in an article written for the Style section of The Washington Post, Paul Farhi stated, “Dozens of companies, including Boeing, General Electric, Pepsi, American Express and Verizon Wireless, are becoming their own publishers, creating and distributing “content” — articles, videos, photos — that would be right at home in a traditional newspaper, magazine or TV program.” (http://wapo.st/1bMNLPv)
This trend greatly affects the post-production industry and knowing a bit more about it can help those businesses modify their marketing strategy.
- Companies are more media-centric now
If the Internet has taught us anything, it’s that everyone is watching. Any marketing person worth their salt takes advantage of that. All companies need to have a media presence to control the message about them that is bound to be out there.
- Because they can
Video production equipment is cheaper and more people know how to use it, companies can hire folks for a variety of tasks including a little video filming and editing on the side. Some companies have a full-time staff to take care of their production needs and some use their marketing staff. They just don’t need to shop the jobs out anymore.
- Their needs are faster
The Internet and social media have made the production timeline of marketing content much shorter. The cycle of news moves at a much faster rate than in the past, partly due to 24-hour news channels and partly to do with the ever-increasing globalization of the business world. Turn around is quick and being able to shorten production time by doing it themselves just makes sense.
- It’s cheaper
Not only is it cheaper, it’s easier to project how much money they will spend on production because it will just be the salary of their in-house production staff. Even if there is a last minute project, they are paying their production team what they would be paying them anyway, as opposed to paying a high fee for a rush job from a company that specializes in this kind of work. Having someone on staff that can take care of all of your production needs can be cheaper and faster than relying on an outside expert. Sure, the quality may be lower, but then again it may not be.
It’s not all bad news for the independent post-production facilities out there. Some ways to combat this trend are:
- Some independent production companies have actually been acquired by a larger business to become their ‘in house’ production facility. Maybe this is an option for you?
- Consider marketing your services to larger companies specifically as their ‘in-house’ facility, with a retainer style agreement instead of billing by the hour, day, or project. Depending on needs, this could cost them less than developing department their own internally. This would likely require a commitment to be ‘on call’, but also could guarantee a regular income. A definite change in business style, but something to think about!
- Try the above with smaller companies that clearly don’t have the need to have a full time in-house team. It could be as simple as adding to the list of ways you market your company.
- Partner with a complimentary service (if you do VFX, work with a sound mixing facility, etc) and offer packages to your clients to keep a competitive edge.
This trend is certainly affecting companies that offer products and services for video production. “When I started to develop Studio Suite, our leading studio management software for audio/video production facilities 18 years ago, I never imagined our customer-base would eventually grow to include multiple government organizations, airlines, several branches of the military, pharmaceuticals, hospitals, major retailers, top advertising companies, technology companies, major TV networks, schools…” says AlterMedia Founder/CEO Joel Stoner. “The good news is that this trend is contributing to the overall growth of many facets of the media production industry.”
A rising tide floats most boats. The key is: pick a good boat, and row, row, row!