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Technicolor’s Recession Strategy

Jun 8, 2009 12:00 PM, By Michael Goldman

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Technicolor's new facility

Long before the recession, Thomson was well on its way to restructuring its famed Hollywood subsidiary, Technicolor. The crisis affected some spending initiatives, but not the overall strategy Thomson developed for Technicolor. In fact, Technicolor officials say the industry’s new financial landscape validates their new approach: to refocus on core clients and the creative process in the film, television, commercial, and videogame markets.

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“The conclusion was that [Thomson] was trying to serve too many different market segments, and that instead, we should focus on core clients—studios, mini majors, indies, and anyone creating entertainment content,” says Ahmad Ouri, Technicolor’s chief technology officer. “It’s really a refocus on our content creator customer base. There was a lot of investment done—capital expenditures done before the recession, and now we are trying to leverage those expenditures. The spending is smaller now, but the point is, we built the infrastructure, and now we are in a position to get payback from it.”

The centerpiece of this restructuring is the brand-new Technicolor headquarters at the Sunset/Gower Studios lot in Hollywood (pictured)—a six-story facility just going online at press time and designed to consolidate certain other Technicolor facilities, such as its Complete Post broadcast services business, and to geographically centralize the company’s dailies, theatrical trailers, restoration, scanning, and much of its DI operations and other services. Part of the digital intermediate operation will remain in the company’s Burbank facility, but the company has moved out of its subsidiary DI operation, previously located on the Sony lot in Culver City, Calif., with the rest of the operation moving into the new headquarters. The centralizing of services in the new facility is also allowing Technicolor to technologically revitalize its dailies front end and DI services by combining its Bones Dailies integrated software solution for dailies with Technicolor’s Digital Printer Lights technology and other proprietary color science solutions.

“The new headquarters is part of our plan to centralize, instead of having so many acquisitions scattered around the Los Angeles Basin,” Ouri says. “We made a great many acquisitions, but lost part of our brand equity and market strength by having no central headquarters. ... The consolidation effort will also increase our capacity for broadcast work, which is long overdue.”

Technicolor has also opened a new division, which is headed by former Sony Pictures Imageworks President Tim Sarnoff. Sarnoff will oversee all Technicolor visual effects, animation, and videogame services. In addition, Technicolor is opening a new theatrical sound facility in partnership with Paramount Studios; opening new laboratory and digital facilities in London; investing in new data-management and restoration services and 3D stereoscopic postproduction technology; and developing a digital distribution service built on Thomson Connect technology—a consumer-targeted home content distribution initiative.

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