Volume 2 — Winter
this Issue: Snapshots
in Outsourcing —
Outsourcing Study Update — Media
Asset Management — Consolidation and
Shakeouts — The
Value of Planning
company with a media asset management solution in place will be
vaulted into a leadership role through improved organizational
readiness, an innate ability to reach markets of one and
elimination of waste associated with traditional media
Alice Lawless, President,
The reaction to the first issue
of our newsletter was so positive that we couldn't resist doing
another. The information and ideas contributed by readers helped
spur us along. Right now we're looking at a quarterly
A couple of weeks ago, Austin
Faccone and I were feeding information and value enhancement
tactics to a corporate media manager and friend. When we
finished, I said I wished I could just keep doing this for free
because I love it so much. My greatest satisfaction is working
through a problem and a process that leads to more effective use
of media, better communications with constituents and a more
open and interactive corporate environment.
That, to me, is the key to what
good media management is all about and is the real value we can
bring to our companies.
On that note, let me use this
forum to wish you a very happy holiday season and a challenging,
exciting and rewarding 1998. The first two years of our
management consulting practice has been a joy ride, and I'm
looking forward to a terrific year.
GE Medical Systems, Milwaukee,
WI, has one of the industry's most active media operations. Dave
Ross, Production Manager for GEMS-TV/TiP-TV, reports producing
300 marketing, training and communications programs this year
and expects even more in 1998.
GEMS-TV broadcasts training and
product introductions to employees via a 45-site analog network
and educational programs to their medical technology customers
over a 1,700 site digital network
In addition to steady growth in
traditional media, GEMS-TV has expanded into "new"
media as well. They developed and maintain 5 web sites. The
Global Distance Learning Instructional Technologies Team
develops computer based training applications.
GE Medical Systems traditionally
managed their media production operations with a small staff of
key employees relying heavily on contract technical and creative
personnel to produce and deliver programming in all media.
Until 1990, GE, like most other
media departments, contracted with freelancers directly.
However, concern over independent contractor status, the time
and effort involved in recruiting and paying freelancers and
rapid growth in their workload, caused GE to consider
Ed Gogolak, a writer doing a lot
of work for GE at the time, offered to become the contract labor
provider for GE Medical. Now, as a Professional Employment
Service, The Gogolak Communications Group manages the
employment, accounting and payroll services for over 70 full and
part time GE contract workers in video production, graphic
design and instructional technology. GE is currently Gogolak's
largest client, though they have others in the Milwaukee area.
Dennis Majewski joined the firm as president in late 1996 to
expand the business into other markets.
GE Medical's experience is a
prime example of how strategic cosourcing works to the benefit
of both partners. It also works to provide greater
cross-training and career development opportunities for the
Coors Brewing Company was
selected as a partner for "Outsource or Insource; Making
the Right Choice" because of the company's strong
commitment to the outsourcing strategy as a means of
revitalizing the organization. All creative services functions
were among the many operations that had effectively been
outsourced in 1993.
This past May, with profit growth
stuck at a lackluster 1% per year in spite of intensive cost
reduction measures, the company decided to see if even more
outsourcing would provide a financial windfall.
Meeting planning and trade shows
were the only creative services functions still managed by a
Coors employee. All production work was subcontracted to
commercial producers, such as Dick Clark Productions, which
handled the annual distributor meetings.
The Coors purchasing department
did a "yellow pages" search for a single vendor
capable of handling all trade show and conference management
functions, but couldn't come up with a single source.
(Interesting, as we found several in a recent study for one of
our clients.) One company they did find noted that since all
services were already outsourced, they doubted they could
achieve any significant cost reductions.
This past October, in the face of
strenuous client objections to any change in the current
process, and for lack of viable vendors, it was decided to
maintain the status quo. Meanwhile, Barry Seidenstat, who
managed the operation, has since left Coors for another
If you've ever had to come up
with a photo of a product that went out of production years ago,
or spent hours finding video footage of an overseas factory, you
can appreciate the value of media asset management.
We have always known all those
videotapes, photos and graphics we produced and filed away had
value. The problem was how to identify that value and how to
catalog and access the library at a reasonable cost.
Several of our partners in the
study "Outsource or Insource", were making progress in
that area. Now, data base software, digital storage and intranet
technology makes it possible to upgrade media asset management
to Best Practice status.
Michael Moon, writing in
"New Media" (3/3/97), pointed out that asset
management demonstrated that media creation was more than a
service and had "tangible economic value". His white
paper is available from www.gistics.com.
Applied Graphics Technologies, a
digital image management and archiving company, recently signed
a $105 million contract with GM which will include building a
database repository for GM's digital content.
On the other end of the scale,
we've received information about "Archivist" from
Vision Technology, LLC, Redwood City, CA. This software claims
the ability to catalog, retrieve and display digital photos,
documents and full motion video files in most formats. It can
also create multimedia presentations. Advertised price is
$139.99. Check out www.visiontechno.com.
An approach we think more
appropriate for corporate media departments is "Dynamic
Media Access" a service developed by Impact Communications
of Morristown, NJ. This system offers a flexible and actionable
way for companies to develop intranet-accessible archives at
reasonable cost and effort. Impact will digitize, catalog and
store media in all formats and then make it accessible through
secure intranet connections. More information can be found at
Over the past several months
we've learned of several significant changes in the corporate
Readers of "Videography"
magazine no doubt saw the feature article describing the new
Microsoft video production facilities. Very impressive
indeed. While there have been several facility upgrades and
expansions, this is the only significant new facility we've
heard of in recent years. We'll be in Seattle next Spring
for CMMA - and we're looking forward to the grand tour.
Apparently the venerable Price
Waterhouse video facility in New York City has finally
closed. Over a year ago we heard that a major equipment
order had been cancelled, presaging the final shutdown this
fall. No confirmation but it would not surprise us to hear
that closing the facility was a precondition of their
pending merger with Coopers & Lybrand.
Southern Companies, an
electric utility holding company based in Atlanta, operated
a BTV network covering their Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi
and Florida subsidiaries.
Austin Faccone learned that
Southern's broadcast facilities and staff has been taken
over by One Touch Systems which will operate the facility as
a demonstration site for their interactive technology. It's
not clear yet whether One Touch will continue to provide BTV
services for Southern.
Speaking of venerable, The
Equitable Production Group may be on the block. Started by
Tom Hatcher in 1966, with (believe it or not) Norelco
1" tape decks, the operation was spun off as an
Equitable subsidiary in the mid 1980s. BTV broadcasts from
their auditorium on 7th Ave. in New York became their main
line of business. As one of only three public auditoriums
with uplink capability in the city, it was the site of a
number of major corporate announcements and financial
With the arrival of a new CEO,
Johnson Controls of Milwaukee has closed down its corporate
television studio, though the BTV receive dishes remain in
place. Two years ago their network was featured in the
company annual report.
A recent news item announced
that Gardy McGrath International had established a digital
media production alliance with Bell Atlantic. Since
Convergent Media absorbed Bell Atlantic's production
functions in 1995, we wondered what was going on. Turns out
the alliance is with the former, and very impressive, Bell
Atlantic pilot interactive cable network facility in Reston,
VA.. In the face of a questionable home cable market and the
need to reallocate resources, the facility had been up for
sale, apparently now successfully.
VALUE OF PLANNING
As word of the research and
advisory services Van Deusen Associates and our affiliated
consultants can provide, we frequently hear: "I wish I'd
called you two months ago."
The last quarter of any year is
critical as companies strive to position themselves to start the
new year on a positive note. (read: stock and profits ascending,
expenses and staff descending.) It's an opportune time to
write-off downsizing charges.
This is the time of year
corporate planners start their own holiday wish lists, putting
increased pressure on service support departments to prove value
or find another line of work. The result is increased need for
reorganization and strategic planning, financial analysis,
outsourcing evaluations and benchmarking.
Every media manager's New Year's
resolutions should include taking preemptive action to address
these issues early in the year. As Ernie Bumatay is fond of
saying: "If you have not been through a management review,
don't worry, you soon will be. If you've survived a review,
don't rest on your laurels, you'll be reviewed again."