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Bringing high quality production in-house: What’s the business case?

If you’re currently spending thousands – or even millions – of pounds outsourcing video production and have the ambition to produce more dynamic and effective content over the coming years, then there are plenty of reasons why you should invest in an in-house studio.

In fact, from our experience, organisations are saving at least half of their annual production budget simply by bringing the studio to their office. With any investment, you need to look for the ROI over three to five years. For example, if you’re currently spending £1m a year on outsourced production and can build a high spec flexible studio for £500k with £250k annually to run it, you will be looking at a return on investment in the first year.

Here are the three top questions we would recommend asking if you are looking to bring a studio in-house:

Do you have an enterprise video strategy?

The commitment to building an onsite studio has to be aligned to the wider organisational strategy around enterprise video. Typically, organisations that are at the point of thinking about building a studio have already decided that they’re going to invest in high quality content and have agreed and understood why video is beneficial for their organisation.

Is there buy-in from senior leaders?

Executives are likely to be the first regular users of the studio (results announcements, town hall events, and so on), so it’s important they are also committed, not only to the content creation, but also to investing in higher production quality. It’s also likely that these individuals will hold the key to the budget, so running them through the business case, including the more obvious qualitative benefits and examples of good practice, is always recommended.

Have you acquired suitable space?

Consideration needs to be given around the location and availability of space, which is often at a premium. It’s best to locate your studio in one of the main hubs, as the intended audience is more likely to be located there. You will need to ensure there is a high-ceiling space in a quiet area of the building for capturing the content and a separate area for post-production (editing).

Taking a content-led approach

It’s important to decide what standards of content your business wants. This will dictate the size, complexity, and scope of the studio; for example, whether it will be a ‘studio in a box’ or a multi-camera green screen studio with digital backdrops.

This is always driven by the use cases that you are looking to achieve. It could be that you are looking to present monthly or quarterly results with executives from all over the globe who appear to be in the same room. In this case, you will need full green screen studio in multiple locations. If you just want someone talking into a single camera, but you still want it to look very professional, you may just need a small self-serve studio. Post production is always a requirement.

Benefits of building an in-house studio

Video on demand

An in-house studio will offer you the opportunity to create high production quality videos as and when you need, or to set up a live event without having to go through the usual admin and procurement processes. The lead time to production is immediate; if you want to go and film something and the facility is available, you can do it right there and then.

High production quality

The whole video experience for the end user, whether that be your staff or customers, will be dramatically improved and become the cultural norm. The ability to produce regular and engaging high quality live and on-demand content will be at your fingertips.

Greater flexibility

A production company will usually come in for a particular event and there will be a limited window for practice and training sessions. If you have your own studio, you can do dry runs and test out different variations to achieve different results, especially if you need more time.

Commercial model

There could even be the opportunity to create a commercial model, where you can hire the studio out to other companies in your building leaving the studio to pay for itself.

Embedding digital communications into an organisation

There isn’t a one-size fits all approach to building a studio – the organisations we meet and work with are all at various stages in their digital journey. There are those who are brand new to it, but know they want to 'do video better' over the coming years. Then there are the businesses who slowly drip feed video and embed digital communications into their organisation.

It all comes down to appetite and maturity of the organisation, as the return on investment speaks for itself. Executives want to look good on camera. They don’t want their videos and communications to look cheap. Ultimately, they want high production quality and more control from both a financial and time-saving perspective.

Rob Dumbleton, Consulting Director at 27partners