HC 743 Support for the creative economy

Written evidence submitted by ITV, BBC and Channel 4 [SCE 095]

The Digital Production Partnership

The Digital Production Partnership (DPP) was formed in March 2010 by the UK’s public service broadcasters to help producers and broadcasters maximise the potential benefits of end to end digital production in television. The key aims of the partnership are broadly as follows:

(1) To reduce costs and increase efficiency for broadcasters and producers alike in the long run in particular by agreeing common delivery and production standards for content across the PSBs

(2) To help to grow the competitiveness of the UK audio visual sector by driving the uptake of digital delivery thus helping to grow the multimedia and online exploitation of content.

(3) To maximise the opportunity for the independent sector to compete effectively for commissions from all PSBs.

The DPP is funded by ITV, BBC and Channel 4, with representation on its various work streams from Channel 5, Sky, S4C, UKTV and BT Sport as well as independent production companies, and other key stakeholder bodies. The partnership has two primary areas of activity.

- A commitment to establish common technical standards between UK Broadcasters.

- Establishing best practice digital production processes and workflows in the industry.

The DPP is an efficient, streamlined operation that receives substantial support from the broadcasting community – to date, the Digital Pr oduction partners have invested, both directly and in kind, in the region of £1 million to enable and ease the transition to file based delivery across the industry. A recent review of the budget indicated that it is at the appropriate level to complete delivery of the partnership’s current objectives to the end of the 2013/14 financial year.

To date, the DPP has achieved the following:

· Common Technical & Metadata Standards for Programme Delivery to UK’s major broadcasters

o Tapes (published March 2011)

o Files (published Jan 2012)

o Live (published Oct 2012)

· Two reports on the benefits and barriers to achieving digital production (A third report is due to be published in May 2013)

o ‘The Reluctant Revolution’ looks at the barriers to end to end digital – and how changes in the market, technology and processes could tear some of those barriers down.

o The second report, ‘The Bloodless Revolution’, offers a practical guide for producers, offering a framework within which to plan and deliver an end to end digital workflow.

· A downloadable Metadata Application for Indie production companies to wrap files with the required metadata for broadcast.

· A number of successful DPP Forums – which are open events, held every 2-3 months to enable the direct sharing of best practice and specialist knowledge of the latest digital production techniques within the UK’s TV production community.

· Promotion of manufacturer interoperability with special events held at Channel 4 to test DPP compliant file based workflows moving across different manufacturer platforms.

· Established solid relationships with other leading organisations in the industry, working in tandem with them to develop new initiatives and including key members on various DPP working groups. These include:

o AMWA (American Media Workflow Association)

o SMPTE (Society of Motion Picture Engineers)

o UK Screen (UK post production representatives)

o PMA (Production Managers Association)

o EBU (European Broadcasting Union)

o Creative Skillset (training provider)

o BBC Academy (training provider)

The DPP is currently working on;

· A third report: ‘The Creative Revolution’ asks the big and difficult questions about the creative impact of digital technologies. The report is accompanied by a film of interviews with key industry leaders.

· Partnerships with key training providers to address the skill requirements for digital production, linking the Higher Education Institutes with the industry practices that the DPP is promoting.

· Production budgeting guidance for digital production

· Extending the technical standards work to include Loudness, Acquisitions, Subtitling, Automated Quality Control, Interstitials and Promos.

March 2013

Prepared 25th April 2013