Outlook: Balancing creativity and business
Issue: November/December 2022

Outlook: Balancing creativity and business

The dynamic changes occurring throughout broadcast, media and entertainment are impacting every step of the production chain, including the post production process.

Post professionals are managing increased workloads driven by higher volumes of content demand and ever changing viewer habits, which can dictate such subtle nuances as dubbing over subtitling on a media title. Then, like professionals in any business, they must contend with the business side of the creative community: managing economies of scale; the impact of emerging technologies, like artificial intelligence and machine learning to streamline workflows; industry consolidation; restructuring; and the centralized procurement of services in the industry. 

XL8's Janice Pearson

It all begins with content

Content will always be king; however, content owners may choose an “out with the new and in with the old” mantra as they tighten their belts to brace for a season of deep cost-cutting,” said Janice Pearson, SVP, sales and strategy at XL8 (www.xl8.ai), a Silicon Valley tech company that provides AI-powered machine translation technology, optimized for media content.

“Media executives will still greenlight and create original programming, but we can expect an emphasis on the repackaging of catalog content to improve ROI,” says Pearson. “Production and post production houses will feel this impact across all content verticals. Cost-effective content localization will be a directive where success is predicated on using AI-powered machine translation at the earliest stages of the localization process. Starting localization during production is crucial because the creatives are still attached to the project, including the actors. This provides a better environment for linguistic directors to collaborate with all parties, use machine translation technologies effectively, and ensure that the creative intent is carried through the subtitling, captioning and dubbing process for better creative outcomes.”

Visual Data's Simon Constable

Content quality…and quantity

As consumer expectations grow exponentially, the quality and availability of global content is becoming increasingly important to capture and retain viewers’ attention, notes Simon Constable, SVP, global language services at Visual Data (www.visualdatamedia.com), a global provider of digital media supply chain services to the entertainment industry.

“The growth in popularity of non-English originals for international audiences has paralleled consumer expectations that higher-quality dubbing and subtitling should be available,” Constable says. “Going into 2023, streaming services are positioned to invest more in non-English originals to meet this demand for content and maximize its value for both local and international consumers.”

Additionally, international viewership trends are in a state of change as streaming platforms learn more about consumer behavior. 

“One particular trend we see emerging shows younger consumers may prefer dubbing over subtitling as a way to ‘watch’ TV while using another device,” Constable notes. “We are continually working to stay ahead of these and other trends to provide our customers with local talent and capacity in key markets as volume and requirements continue to change. 2023 will be an exciting year filled with more learning and informed data than ever as our industry continues to mature and innovate.”

Atomos' Trevor Elbourne

From remote to the cloud

How all this content gets produced, delivered and stored is changing seemingly every day. Remote production and cloud workflows were gaining incredible traction even before the pandemic, which simply accelerated their adoption.

In 2023, affordable cloud-based workflows will continue to drive more widespread implementation of remote production, notes Trevor Elbourne, CEO, Atomos (www.atomos.com), a developer of hardware devices for monitoring and recording, easy-to-use software tools, and intelligent cloud services.

“Giving media production teams the flexibility to work together regardless of physical location, to lower their environmental footprint, and reduce operating costs, are powerful enough drivers,” Elbourne says. “Add to these benefits the capability to deliver content faster in a world where the immediacy of media is paramount, and you have a big competitive advantage.”
Atomos is playing an integral part in this transformation with the introduction of network-connected, in-the-field monitor-recorders, complemented by a suite of cloud-based video production services under the umbrella term Atomos Cloud Studio. 

Elbourne describes it as “an innovative approach, giving customers a compelling blend of productivity and future proofing.”

“Atomos camera-mounted devices can not only be updated and feature-enhanced in the field, they can also be easily integrated into remote and collaborative productions anywhere in the world.”

TPN's Terri Davies

The business side of entertainment

While the proliferation of viewing and content options is a positive trend for both the creative community and consumers, there are also other sides to consider.

“Continued market disruption, consolidation and fallout from the streaming wars will continue to put financial pressure on content organizations throughout the supply chain,” says Terri Davies, president of TPN (www.ttpn.org), a content security initiative operated by the Motion Picture Association. “The need for greater cost efficiency will cause even more consolidation, restructuring and centralized procurement of services in the industry.”
A more aggressive procurement strategy will drive service providers to need even greater economies of scale, increasing mergers and acquisitions, and the deployment of technology in the quest for greater automation. 

“Creative services will be under increasing pressure to lean more heavily on ML and AI to replace traditional labor and cost-heavy manual processes,“ says Davies. “From script to screen, the supply chain matrix will become even more complex and multi-layered across global companies and on-prem, hybrid and cloud-native workflows, and the need for comprehensive, efficient and centralized content security will become even more critical as, in the United States alone, content and distribution sectors continue to lose billions of dollars annually to digital piracy.”