Oracle Video Central: A growing in-house agency
Moving Image founder, Steve Garvey, talks with Dave Wright, the Executive Producer at Oracle Video Central.
In-house video teams are a barometer for enterprise video.
Over time, they have passed in and out of fashion as head office either cuts costs by bringing work in-house or trims headcount through outsourcing. But in-housing is a distinct trend for the long term, and Oracle Video Central is a great example.
Dave Wright, Executive Producer for Video Central EMEA, heads up the Oracle in house team based in the UK. Providing production services and support across all lines of business, the four-strong team of producers created over 400 finished, delivered video assets in 2017. Even that accounts for only a small percentage of all video produced in Oracle. With over 130,000 employees globally, lots of units do their own whether as a self-service function or through providers.
That’s an awful lot of video, but it wasn’t always that way.
It began with a skip
Dave picks up the story. ‘When I started in 2002 I was literally just doing internet seminars using voiceover with slides, a couple a week. In the last 8 years demand for our production services probably nearly trebled, because we’ve had to grow the team to cope with that demand. I expect that to continue.’
‘When I took over the studio in 2002, the kit was about to go in a skip. Marketing stepped in and said yes, we’ll use that, although at the time there wasn’t a clear strategy for what to use it for. I was thrown in at the deep end. We had 2 Beta SP recorders for 4:3 analogue video infrastructure and no live streaming capability, so we’ve had to build all of that up over the years.’
A new office space in 2012 created the opportunity to start again. The current studio is 500 square feet, has HD 4 robotic cameras and is built with a focus on automation so that even the most complex multi camera productions need only a 4 person crew. Basic productions such as podcast recording need only the product and the presenter.
On location and live
Half of Video Central’s output is studio-based, a mixture of internal comms and content for a wide variety of marketing campaigns. Much of the other half is customer testimonials, which are increasingly effective tools in the Oracle sales process. With the cloud business doing so many amazing things with customer businesses, capturing those stories keeps two producers busy full time.
Offsite projects frequently integrate live streaming. The studio gallery connects to a 250-seat events space in another Oracle building, and the team can use Oracle's videoconferencing systems to link to remote offices, reducing the need for execs to travel to the studio. Video Central also has flyaway systems for offsite events elsewhere.
Internal live streaming is still a challenge for many organisations. Unsurprisingly tech giant Oracle can scale up to thousands of internal and external live video streams.
What is success?
So how does this fit into comms strategy? And what does success look like?
Dave Wright explains. ‘We understand the language of television, which is often not understood by our requesters. You could say part of what we do is provide the translation service. We can set expectations for how long things take and how much they cost. We work closely with the brand team to make sure video is consistent with the look and feel.’
‘We don’t say you have to use us. However with customer videos we do try and encourage, because if you're going to put a crew in front of a customer it needs to be of a very professional standard. We evangelise internally that we are the experts, so whatever you are doing we provide assistance to ensure you do it to the highest standard you can.’
If an asset is to go on oracle.com or an Oracle web property, there's a QA process and Oracle Video Central curates the content for those channels. Branding and key messages stay consistent.
The service from Video Central doesn't stop once a video is published. The team also works with requesters to understand the difference between reach (views) and engagement. A video does not need to have thousands of views to be successful. A salesperson using a testimonial video as part of a pitch can help to close deals. It's about creating quality content and getting it seen by the right people.
Where do agencies fit in?
While Video Central does a lot of work for internal comms, the focus is now on external customer facing work and deeper engagement with Marketing. The mentality is deliberately like an internal agency.
But agencies are still very much part of the picture. ‘What we try and do is provide knowledge and expertise and production services,’ says Dave. ‘Hopefully if you’ve got a budget for video in Oracle, you’ll come to us first. We’ll offer our production services if appropriate. If not, we’ll look at external agencies.’
2018 is looking busy for Video Central, but Dave wants to find time for the team to do more networking with other in-house teams. In-house seems to be well-hidden and they can learn a lot from each other.
Looks like the skip is unlikely to reappear any time soon.