Major broadcast news organization

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Business need: Operate effectively under budget and staff constraints

News programming has changed greatly since the earliest days of network television, affected by market disruptions like cable TV and the internet. In addition, commercialization and entertainment value also factor heavily, as television news is now a business with profit, efficiency and ratings demands from ownership.

One broadcast news organization required a way to get the skilled researchers they needed to support news reporting and programming under staffing and budget constraints. In addition, a vast library of archival and current video footage was overwhelming its internal management capacity.

They needed to streamline operations in order to maximize resources and cut unnecessary expenses while maintaining high-quality production capabilities and protecting employee trust and confidence.

Business solution: Managed services for research and media management expertise

Requiring skilled researchers and media managers to support high quality, accurate news reporting, a company decision-maker honed in on a New York Times article featuring LAC Group founder and former CEO Deb Schwarz. Learning that LAC provides information management outsourcing services and that its roots were in librarianship, he realized that librarians could have the skill sets needed for research and media management. The decision was made to turn those two functions over to LAC Group as a managed services provider and partner.

As part of the arrangement, some of the company’s existing staff members and managers became LAC Group employees. Recruiting, hiring, firing, performance reviews, benefits and all other staffing administration is now handled by LAC, all governed by a Service Level Agreement (SLA).

In addition, the company, now client, turned to LAC Group to create, implement and operate a fully integrated asset management, communication and reporting system, transforming the research and media management functions into a 21st century resource, rebranded as the Digital Research Center or DRC. The DRC consolidates resources and supports writers, producers and other users via a web-based research portal with regularly updated search tips and suggestions, timely event-specific links and direct links to more than 30 research providers.

Broadcast news studio

LAC Group conducted a subsequent assessment and consolidation of the client’s film library operations, encompassing historical film and tape assets across a number of show units, warehouses and digital media management systems. From this, the Video Resource Group or VRG came into existence.

Business outcome: Enhanced research and media management, minus the operational overhead

The client’s relationship with LAC Group has become a partnership, developed through a long-term managed services arrangement for digital asset and video management as well as daily research and information services.

The client has gained new benefits and capabilities while reducing expenses:

  • Authoritative and concise research support including briefings and context for congressional, political, current events and entertainment stories and daily research summaries for program anchors, correspondents, writers and producers.
  • Evaluation and negotiation of vendor contracts, including the uncovering of six-figure savings through close monitoring of subscriptions, user accounts and usage behavior.
  • Training and mentoring on new information sources and tools and periodic user surveys.
  • Ongoing management of film and tape warehousing both onsite for the client’s 24/7 news operations and offsite storage management to reduce costly urban real estate expenses. With a direct correlation between search activity and digital asset restoration, the costs of circulating analog assets have been reduced.
  • Support for distributed news bureaus, including overseas locations, along with digital research and content delivery to mobile devices.
  • Ongoing strategic consulting for content prioritization, mining and more.

Most importantly, with greater digital content availability and easier search access thanks to librarian-managed metadata, user trust and acceptance have flourished.

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