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If You Build It, Will They Come?

So after reading my last blog, you’ve finally come to the realization that you now need to start getting serious about creating video for your organization as the return on investment is certainly a compelling one. But where do you start?  Do you immediately run out and begin building a studio and streaming infrastructure?  Probably not.  Even though the ROI on video is overwhelmingly positive, there are still quite a few checklist items that you first need to run through to really decide what is going to be your successful strategy around video.

How much video content is your company currently generating?

First start off by doing an investigation with assistance from your finance department by finding out how much your company is already creating video content today.  If you work for a large enterprise company, you may be surprised to find out how many different departments scattered throughout the company are already creating video content that you may have never known that was going on.  Different departments using different vendors and paying different prices.  This exercise will not only get you the sense of the volume and how much it’s costing, but also which departments are creating the content as well.

Once you have the numbers of how much is being spent ongenerating video content and who, you will want to meet with each of those internal departments that are making these requests to understand their requirements.  Do they currently rent equipment?  How often?  What is their target volume throughout a year?  Are there any gaps when working with outside vendors and/or facilities?  If there were internal resources that met most if not all of their requirements, provided a farther reach and cost less, would you consider using them more, less, or the same?  If the requirements were met, would that department be possibly willing to assist in the funding in such a service organization if one was created?  If after the interview process with each department you find that the company is spending quite a sum of money on creating content, they are wanting to create more, and that each one is spending vastly different amounts for primarily the same services, than it’s beginning to look like you might be ready for the next step of your investigation.

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Develop a business plan

So now that you’ve pulled together the amount, frequency, and volume of video content that your company is currently spending on video production and rentals, as well as now understand the growth opportunities around this, it’s now time to put together your business plan and ROI:

  • Mission statement
  • Description of the video production service
  • Market analysis that explains the video production service you will be providing and how it will succeed
  • Description of your management team and suggested structure
  • How you plan to market the video production service
  • Analysis of your departments strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities
  • Develop a cash flow statement to understand what your needs are now and will be in the future
  • Revenue projections if a charge back model will be implemented to sustain services
  • Summary

Find a business sponsor

Once you have your business plan flushed out, it’s time to locate your business sponsor.  Is it the CEO?  Sales?  Marketing or Corporate Communications department?  IT?  In theory, it should be all of the above in order to get the backing and build the momentum that you will need in order to sustain and maintain the strategy and get the buy in order to move forward.

Create a strong alliance with your finance department

Your Finance department is your ally and will assist in navigating the funding of this endeavor.  Capital versus non-capital funding, outside services, statements of work, depreciation, these are all items that will need to get worked out, understood, tracked, and approved providing the ability to move forward.

Generate a strong business alliance with IT

Your IT department is absolutely crucial to the success of your video content delivery service for both live and on-demand.  Without their assistance and buy in to understand the importance of the message that you are attempting to deliver to both the internal and external masses, all the well paved plans in the world won’t amount to much.  It’s their responsibility to make sure that anything that touches the network does not negatively impact any other mission critical services such as voice services, email, business systems and the like.  You will need to work very closely with IT to provide live and on-demand content that delivers a high quality experience in a scalable way.  Multicast video supported over wireless and throughout the campus network for example is one methodology that provides scalability without added complexity.  Official support workflows, Service Level Agreements, war room support, change requests, these are all items that will need to worked out and agreed upon so that there is a clear and documented understanding between both parties of how to work between both respective groups.  Provide your IT department with your business objectives and work together on the solution that benefits the entire company.

Generate a strong business alliance with facilities

Your facilities department is also another department that will yield you with the greatest successes.  Working closely with them to relay your business objectives and allocating capital facility funding may take time depending on the scope of the facility that you may need to construct.  The idea of starting small but building for future growth is always a good approach and this not only goes for the size of the studio or control rooms but the electrical and HVAC requirements that may be needed down the road.  Concepts of adding LED lights in the studio facility instead of incandescence are a great place to start in the reduction of HVAC and power requirements for example.  Yes, LED studio lighting is a little more expensive per piece, but will save a lot on trying to cram a lot of HVAC into the ceiling taking up valuable space not to mention cost and noise generation.  It will also save you plenty of space up in the lighting grid as many of the LED fixtures produced today can dial in the exact color and temperatures that you may want for a particular shoot and give you plenty of options without paying for gels, and constantly replacing bulbs.  Take the time to spend more money up front to purchase the right piece of equipment out of the gate.  This concept will save you a lot of headaches down the road.

Find the right audio/video integrator

Finding the right audio/video integrator that will work with you and your facilities team will definitely make your job just that much easier.  Making sure that they will work within your budget and have the experience that is needed to provide not only the audio and video, but also provide guidance for facility implementations such as heat load calculations, CAD, power, sound, HVAC tonnage as well as the procurement and installation of equipment at competitive prices.  If you haven’t built a facility before, some integrators also provide project management resources that can help guide you and your facilities department through the process of building a studio as it’s not every day that many corporations would have this type of knowledge of what questions to ask and what to look out for in building a broadcast facility.

This article just touches upon the main concepts that it takes to begin your video strategy journey and many of these will take quite some time to build out.  The main goal to always remember is to start simple, stay focused and build a solid foundation of not only facilities and technologies but also long lasting relationships.

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