Prime Focus Technologies CEO: Tear Down Internal Silos

A combination of flat revenue growth and growing operational costs for media and entertainment companies means Hollywood needs to start getting inventive, according to Ramki Sankaranarayanan, founder and CEO of Prime Focus Technologies.

And while looking outward for new revenue opportunities is all well and good, M&E companies can make their job easier — and more profitable — by looking inward as well.

Speaking at the recent Hollywood IT Society’s (HITS) “Holly-wired: Where IT and Entertainment Meet” conference in Los Angeles, Sankaranarayanan called on content companies to look at how much of their internal operations are still stuck in the physical distribution side of the business.

The world of media and entertainment is increasingly shifting away from business to business and more toward business to consumer, Sankaranarayanan said, and the old ways of dealing with content using traditional silos — within the enterprise level, within departments, across the value chain and geographies — is holding M&E operations back.

“Media asset software hasn’t changed over the last few years to keep up with the new realities of what digital brings,” he said. He argued that M&E companies’ digital asset management systems, for the most part, are still set up to handle classic DVD distribution. That doesn’t cut it with today’s “digital next reality,” he said.

He said that some M&E enterprises are still stuck on localized, non-scalable digital asset management systems, offering substandard upstream and downstream collaboration within creative and production systems.

“It’s a broken system. You need enterprise software that caters to [today’s] change, and [every] department has its own [system],” Sankaranarayanan said. “Many deal with the same content, but have different digital asset management systems, different workflows. … This is what we mean by islands of automation.”

A connected enterprise tact works in some many other industries, why not entertainment, Sankaranarayanan asked.