A proud Tees Valley business, WorldSight have developed a new product that speeds up their media production and upload from a number of days to a matter of minutes. Managing director Martin Forster tells us more about the company's involvement in the Innovation Showcase at September's Venturefest Tees Valley.
Describe your business in no more than 100 words
We are a multimedia production company working across the UK and Europe for the likes of the BBC, FedEX and TNT. We are highly focused on bringing our customers new solutions to the ever-changing media environment.
What prompted you to enter the innovation showcase?
Even though most of our work is outside the region, we are a proud Tees Valley business and this is an opportunity to not only raise our profile in the North East, but also to get to know some of the other innovators in the region.
Describe the innovation that you’ve entered the showcase with.
When you hire a video company, or a photographer, you can expect to wait days, even weeks, for a finished product. The modern digital age demands that, if you need to say something, you need to say it now.
This year we launched to market Real Time Media, a unique workflow that allows our multimedia journalists to film, edit and upload professional videos and photography on location in a matter of minutes, rather than days.
Our crews are all ex BBC news staffers, making them uniquely adept at turning around high quality material to a very tight timescale. Coupled with a number of technical and procedural innovations, the whole process can be done from any location with broadband or a 3G signal.
Over a two day conference this year, a two person crew produced and broadcast on social media 15 videos and 110 photographs. This generated a 592% increase in traffic on Facebook, an 850% rise in clicks on Twitter and 150+ minutes of video viewing on YouTube, over two days.
How would you describe that innovation to your grandparents?
We travel lighter and move faster than anyone else, so we get the message out while the others are putting their boots on.
What are the best and worst parts of trying to be innovative in your business?
Media is a highly competitive and fast moving industry, so if you want to stay ahead, innovation is a constant process, not something you do in your downtime. That can make it hard work – and the speed the technology is changing means you can spend a fortune on new toys and new trends if you’re not careful.
We start and finish with story telling – that’s what it’s about in the end, as old-fashioned as that. Once you are able to look at the business with that focus, you can tell the opportunities from the fads and concentrate your efforts innovating in the right areas.
What are the biggest challenges you face?
As a small business serving a client list featuring some very large businesses, keeping across the variable workload is always a challenge. In an ideal world, large projects would come one at a time, nicely spread throughout the year; in reality, we tend to have periods of intense project work, followed by periods of intense catching up on the paperwork. The latter is a bit like trying to eat all your veg in one go – it’s good for you, but you wish you’d saved a bit of gravy.
Where do you get support and advice to help you run your business?
This is one of the reasons I love being a Tees Valley business – the local business community is our best source of support.
What does being chosen for the innovation showcase mean to you?
It’s a vindication that what we have been doing is a genuine innovation. It’s easy to look at a physical piece of machinery, or a cool piece of software and see how it’s innovative, but I wasn’t sure people would see how developing new working practices and pushing them to their limit sits in the same box.
Where do you see your company in five years’ time?
We are planning to develop the company to provide a complete outsourced internal/external communications team for multinationals.
What would you tell businesses who are hoping to be more innovative?
I’m not sure I have any answers. I let people grumble at me a lot. As soon as someone says, “Why can’t they …” I get the little bell ringing in the back of my head. It turns up some great ideas, but I also lose a lot of sleep to no-goers.
See WorldSight Media and the rest of the Innovation Showcase participants, plus much more, at this year's Venturefest Tees Valley, on 13 September