Why the film & TV industry is ripe for Digital Transformation

On the face of it, there is no industry in the world that has been more embracing of technology. 3D, CGI, digital distribution, IMAX, it would seem from at least the audience’s point of view that the Film and TV industry is a tech savvy place. This was certainly my expectation when I joined POP earlier this year as Head of Product.

But what I soon learnt is, as anyone who has experienced completing hundreds of paper time sheets, piecing a damp unit list back together in the pouring rain on set, or spending their evenings calling every spark in their contact list for some dailies support on an unplanned 2nd unit, knows - appearances can be deceiving.

The nature of production, and especially in features, means that each production is an entirely pop up entity. It’s set up, it does its thing, it disbands - it’s unlike most companies that have processes that continue over time, and get incrementally better and more efficient.

Most people are only around for a set period of weeks, not years, and the focus is just on making the thing run as fast as possible, making the best work they can, with the tools they already know how to use. People don’t have time to look for new ways of doing things, put them in place or learn how to use them. They’ve got a show to make.

That’s why, with our team filled with industry experts, we’ve scoured for best practice, to build digital production tools that work out of the box. Having access through our casting platform to around 50% of the UK production market, we’ve been able to review how the industry works; how it works well and where it could be better.

The result means we’re building the best in class digital platform for Production, so that every single person on production can focus on doing the job they love, with digital, paperless, quick processes replacing hours of paperwork. Not only that, but we have made it the most cost effective solution for the needs of the market, meaning that every show - from multi-million pound features to small budget TV shows - can take advantage of focussing their time on making great creative work, not paperwork. And we’ve only just begun.

After all, much less technical industries have been bolder in their journey of digital transformation than film, and have seen incredible benefits in market growth, revenue and cost saving. For example, the two industries I have worked in previously in a Product capacity - financial services and government.

The antiquated and heavily regulated world of finance has had a digital explosion. From Monzo’s game changing app, to Open Banking, and even AI Mortgage advisors - the industry has driven innovation and taken advantage of technology, to place London as the world’s leading FinTech hub.

In the last decade we’ve even seen government services become ‘digital by default’, with everything from tax returns to adult social care assessments not just going online, but using robotic process automation and digital workflow to automate behind the scenes.

If the previously stuffy worlds of government and finance can adopt, embrace and exploit the digital revolution, then behind the scenes of the entertainment industry can absolutely be next. From a product perspective, there is inordinate opportunity in this sector - to radically improve the experience of Production, Talent and Crew through digital processes and tools, connecting the industry and reducing admin.

Come with us on the journey, and let’s make the film industry as digitally enabled as film itself.

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