Lionsgate Executive Vice President of Technical Operations & Delivery at Lionsgate, Gray Ainsworth and Ateliere CRO, Eric Carson, sat down at NAB2023 to discuss the business transformation benefits of the cloud.
In an era of rapid digital transformation, staying competitive in the media and entertainment industry requires companies to adapt and modernize their operations faster than ever before. This is true for even the most iconic of studios, such as Lionsgate, whose film, television, subscription, and location-based entertainment and interactive games business is backed by a 17,000 title library.
With such an extensive library, title visibility and efficient distribution workflows are critical for content monetization and sales enablement. To achieve this, Lionsgate turned to Ateliere to help it transform its digital media supply chain by:
1. Sales Enablement & Faster Product to Market
Lionsgate, like many organizations, was burdened by the organizational challenges of a large and growing catalog. The result was a very disparate library with knowledge silos existing all over the company. To achieve an automated and streamlined supply chain, it was critical that Lionsgate have visibility and confidence in their library. The only way to do that was to consolidate it and clean it up.
Gray says, “The importance for us was, number one, to understand our library better. In doing so, which we’ve been doing for the past year and will be doing for probably another 18 months, we’re finding things that probably nobody knew we had. For instance, a four-language version of something. Sales didn’t know we had that, which means they couldn’t sell it.”
It all comes down to sales enablement. Having a clear picture of what Lionsgate already owns and a streamlined distribution workflow means that the sales team can maximize ROI on existing titles. Without this, these titles would be collecting dust because no one knew about them.
2. Creating a Better Partner Experience
Lionsgate’s approach included a strategic effort to organize their library. While some content was held by Lionsgate, some was held by partners, creating a disparate, unorganized environment for everyone. By centralizing content and then migrating it to the cloud, Lionsgate partners are now able to access “clean” titles, which led to more efficient collaboration.
“We needed to radically change our distribution supply chain and how that worked. We needed to take better control. We needed to have ultimate flexibility that would allow us to provide much greater sales enablement to the monetization engines of the company,” Gray adds.
However, Lionsgate did not want to just “throw bodies” at its problems, instead seeking out a “work smarter” approach. They needed a solution that would allow them to deliver on any sales that came through 100% of the time while delivering more and more content with the same amount of resources.
3. Achieving Greater Operational Efficiency
After a proof of concept test with Ateliere, Gray and his team quickly learned what their modernized distribution workflow would need to look like. This process also enabled the team to clearly understand their title ingest workflow, saving them time and frustration up front while expanding the potential of how Lionsgate could improve its title management for maximum efficiency.
When the team at Lionsgate examined their asset organization process, they realized the criticality of establishing a well-defined title hierarchy. They encountered a particular challenge with features, where there were different versions and corresponding assets. However, the complexity increased with episodic content, involving series, seasons, versions, and assets. With the prospect of receiving numerous assets, it became imperative to have a streamlined system for storing them. Consequently, the need to overhaul their title management system emerged as a pressing concern.
“What’s great about the cloud, and particularly Ateliere, is, it’s flexible enough where we can actually connect it, and it’s already fully integrated with our title master. Through an event bridge, anytime a title is updated in our title master system, that automatically flows through to Ateliere. Whereas before, that required a proactive process that somebody had to go in and clean that up. That just makes it 10 times easier. Everything is completely synced, and we don’t have to worry about different versions perpetuating over time,” says Gray.
The meticulous planning and foresight of the Lionsgate team became evident in the impressive outcomes. By the time the integration between the sales systems, title system, and Ateliere was established with the help of AWS Eventbridge, the entire system was up and running within a matter of weeks.
4. Building for the Future
Lionsgate recognizes the significance of service providers as integral parts of their ecosystem. Rather than constructing an extensive infrastructure in-house, they wanted a no code option that allowed them to focus on on organizing their library, migrating it to the cloud, and optimize distribution. This approach not only provides them with the desired flexibility but also enables them to collaborate more efficiently with service providers.
Gray explains that the beauty of the technology lies in its openness and flexibility. It allowed his team to swiftly make decisions and remain agile when encountering new choices. “We were hoping we could find somebody that was willing to take this journey with us, develop for us as we go, and let us take advantage of development that they may be doing for other customers also. That’s what we were able to find with Ateliere.”
This approach not only catered to the current needs of Lionsgate but also laid a solid foundation for future advancements. With a modernized media supply chain, Lionsgate is able to envision broader possibilities such as the integration of additional functionalities and the implementation of advanced reporting capabilities while being prepared for the inevitably of customer-required cloud transactions in the near future.
The result is a world-class, future-proof media supply chain that ensures customer satisfaction for Lionsgate.
Ateliere Creative Technologies is a leading cloud-native media supply chain company that empowers media companies and content creators to reach consumers on a global scale. The Ateliere suite of SaaS solutions incorporates cutting-edge workflows and formats to make the vision for a studio in the cloud a reality. The nucleus of the Ateliere platform, Ateliere Connect™, delivers core competencies in IMF, parallel scaling, and geographically distributed workflows. Ateliere is built by a team of experts with decades of combined experience at companies such as Amazon, HBO, Netflix, and Microsoft.