Virgin Media
Virgin Media Television (VMtv) is a division of the UK entertainment
and communications business Virgin Media, and with nearly 10 million
customers is the largest Virgin company in the world. VMtv’s seven wholly
owned channels are many of the strongest entertainment brands in U.K.
multichannel television, and include LIVING, LIVING2, Bravo, Bravo 2,
Challenge, Challenge Jackpot, and Virgin1. The portfolio spans pay and
free-to-air television and has a growing presence on broadband, mobile,
and on-demand platforms. VMtv is also a fifty percent partner in BBC
Worldwide’s UKTV portfolio of ten channels.
VMtv’s Creative Village facility on London’s Great Portland Street was built
by technology partner Red Bee Media, and the first-of-its-kind, state-of-theart tapeless environment houses the VMtv’s promotions, post-production
and compliance teams. VMtv contracts with Red Bee Media to provide
broadcast, post-production, and transmission services. Completing several
dozen campaigns, each with numerous variants, VMtv creates hundreds
upon hundreds of promos each month. In addition, compliance versioning
requires the company to deliver several versions of each program,
depending on the targeted channel and playout time slot.
In managing this significant volume of work, VMtv relies on newly upgraded
ScheduALL Enterprise Resource Management (ERM) software. With
ScheduALL, the Creative Village facility manages lines recording as well
as the staff, rooms, and equipment in promo creation and compliance
versioning, for programming delivered to major digital television platforms
including Virgin Media, Sky Digital, and Freeview.
Situation Analysis
VMtv – which was previously known as Flextech Television, part of
cable company Telewest – has been a long-time ScheduALL user with
more than a decade’s experience working with the company’s resource
management software. With the 2006
establishment of its new contract with Red
Bee Media and its subsequent rebranding
as part of Virgin in 2007, VMtv realized the
need to implement more in-depth reporting
on resource use and overall productivity
and efficiency at Creative Village. The
company’s ScheduALL system proved
the best solution for ensuring that postproduction operations were meeting
contract terms and for demonstrating
VMtv’s continued value as part of the larger
Virgin organization.
“Virgin Media Television is always thinking about the source of its
revenues, and our success as a broadcaster depends on our ability to
maximize revenue generation from content we acquire or commission,”
said Dan Marbrook, post-production manager at VMtv. “Our
ScheduALL software system was so consistent in its performance that,
as we looked to implement more extensive tracking and reporting, there
was never any question of using any other solution for bookings of kit.”
As the market for mobile and broadband content becomes more
competitive, VMtv’s ability to repurpose content quickly and costeffectively is key to its profitability. ScheduALL provides the
straightforward yet flexible scheduling functionality required for effective
management of staff and resources in completing this work, while also
yielding valuable productivity data that drives business decisions.
As VMtv delivers content for its broadcast channels, ScheduALL’s
powerful business tools enable the facility to book available resources to
their best advantage, and measure and monitor the use and productivity
of its various resources and relate this data to project and budget targets.
Furthermore, ScheduALL software is used to manage content recordings,
typically live feeds from the U.S. and live outside broadcasts from the
U.K., delivered via Red Bee. With its upgrade to the latest version of
ScheduALL, VMtv was able to merge scheduling of IT resources into the
ERM system thereby increasing operational efficiencies.
In completing all of its promo creation and compliance work, VMtv uses
16 Quantel sQ Edit NLE stations, four sQ Edit Plus craft suites, and two
ProTools audio suites with associated voiceover booths. This tapeless
workflow has brought tremendous gains in effectiveness to the company,
and VMtv’s daily reliance on ScheduALL ensures that the facility’s
sophisticated edit systems and spaces are allocated appropriately.
On any given day, a dedicated staff member works with ScheduALL
software to manage the booking of equipment and rooms, which in turn
are associated directly with particular editors and sound designers. As
an added benefit, the ScheduALL interface is conveniently displayed on a
video screen at the facility’s entrance and provides a current run-down of
the day’s bookings for post-production staff. Fast access to schedule data
helps to keep productivity high and reduces the organizational burden for
VMtv management.
In addition to simplifying booking of production resources, including
edit suites and associated equipment and staff, ScheduALL attaches
real-time cost data that provides a snapshot of edit costs and how they
compare to the company’s contracts, delivering an accurate comparison
of actual vs. plan and ROI.
All of VMtv’s facilities are bookable as individual rooms, and all are
entered into the ScheduALL system with different hourly rate cards
reflecting service across different pieces of equipment. As part of
its contract with Red Bee Media, VMtv pays for these services, and
ScheduALL provides the financial data required to ensure that specific
editing work is on target in terms of project time and cost. Breaking
costs down by floor space, interactivity, rooms, and their build, all of
which are accounted for by the rate card, VMtv gains a clear picture of
how individual channels are using each room and to monitor if there is a
need to charge for overruns.
“We run our promos department as a bookable, chargeable facility
with resources broken down by cost,” said Marbrook. “ScheduALL
gives VMtv the means to manage and track the use of our extensive
resources, so that we maintain a high level of productivity and meet our
contract requirements.”
Within ScheduALL software, VMtv also uses various rate cards to
measure how efficiently each department and producer creates each
individual product. For instance, if a producer is keeping costs down
by completing more work on desktop editors than on high-end craft edit
systems, the ScheduALL system reflects this efficiency.
By associating bookings to projects, ScheduALL enables the grouping of
work orders so that managers can see what any single project costs. On
the project level, the software thus allows management to see how well
producers perform over any given month, and if they’re meeting targets
for creating promo packages.
ScheduALL’s analysis tools plus real-time data also give VMtv managers
the information needed to make a business case for more or fewer
resources, or to boost performance in specific areas of operations.
“ScheduALL is an intuitive, reliable system for booking resources and
capturing the information we need to understand the compliance and
promo editing costs for each of our broadcast channels,” said Marbrook.
“VMtv has found ScheduALL to be a valuable ERM solution that provides
robust functionality and reliable operation, backed by excellent support.”
Efficiency is the cornerstone of profitable delivery and repurposing of
media in today’s marketplace. Industry leader VMtv employs ScheduALL
resource management software along with best-of-breed file-based
production systems to achieve a high standard not only for efficiency, but
also for creativity and profitability.
For more information contact ScheduALL:
US: +1.954.334.5406
[email protected]
UK: +44 (0) 20 7636 0707
[email protected]