M&E Connections

HITS Live: Signiant Shares ‘Tales From the Trenches’ WFH Insights

The past couple months have witnessed just how adaptable the media and entertainment industry can be, shifting its productions and workflows to work-from-home (WFH) environments and facilitating widespread remote access on very short notice.

But while business continuity has been well-accounted for in M&E, Signiant wanted to go a step further, and take a hard look at the individual impacts of WFH, and whether these pandemic-response changes are going to stick with us long-term.

Between a survey partnership with the DPP group (a project dubbed “Remote Working in the Time of Coronavirus”) and a series of interviews via its own “Pandemic Series” of insights, Signiant has an early bead on how frontline content players are dealing with this upheaval of the status quo.

“How they’re adapting to events, how they’re being impacted,” Chris Fournelle, director of M&E product marketing for Signiant, said during a May 27 presentation at the Hollywood Innovation and Transformation Summit (HITS) Live event. “We [looked] at how companies are making structural adaptions, but also chart personal and emotional journeys.”

During his presentation — “Tales from the Trenches: Working Remotely Before, During and After COVID-19” — Fournelle shared a few broad strokes first: 55 percent of M&E companies were fully ready to handle WFH, and another 39 percent were at least partially prepared. The average transition to fully WFH for any given company was about two weeks, and while industry sector and job specialty were mostly predictable at the outset, changes in priorities have begun to emerge.

Engineers are feeling most comfortable with the shift, while those in sales and product management seem to be struggling the most, Fournelle said. But overall, people are becoming more and more comfortable by the day with their new remote reality, Signiant found.

The top WFH positives to emerge from Signiant’s research: spending more time with family, no commuting, and flexible hours. The top drawbacks: lack of social interaction, balancing work-life, and disruptions to business contacts.

Among the more telling of Signiant’s insights: nearly half of those surveyed said M&E companies will massively rethink their working environments even after the pandemic has passed. More than 55% said extensive changes to the way business is done will be on the horizon as well.

But as a stark reminder of what’s being lost in the process, Fournelle shared this anonymous quote in his presentation: “We were fully capable of being out of the office. We just chose to be together because that was a cultural positive.”

For more of Signiant’s insights, click here for audio of the presentation. Click here for the presentation slide deck.

The May 27 HITS Live event tackled the quickly shifting IT needs of studios, networks and media service providers, along with how M&E vendors are stepping up to meet those needs. The all-live, virtual, global conference allowed for real-time Q&A, one-on-one chats with other attendees, and more.

HITS Live was presented by Microsoft Azure, with sponsorship by RSG Media, Signiant, Tape Ark, Whip Media Group, Zendesk, Eluvio, Sony, Avanade, 5th Kind, Tamr, EIDR and the Trusted Partner Network (TPN). The event is produced by the Media & Entertainment Services Alliance (MESA) and the Hollywood IT Society (HITS), in association with the Content Delivery & Security Association (CDSA) and the Smart Content Council.

For more information, click here.