Warner Bros. Entertainment, a Time Warner Company, was among the first in the content industry to grasp the full disruptive power, potential and implications of digital technologies. Warner Bros. selected Accenture to team with it on the road to its digital vision. This decision marked the start of a mutual multi-year, multistage journey towards creating the world’s first high-performance, digital media and entertainment business in the form of a transformed digital asset management system. Now Warner Bros. is able to speed up distribution of entertainment content, open up new revenue streams, free up resources to focus on creative innovation and lower all related annual distribution and management costs by an astonishing 85 percent.
In 2001, Warner Bros. recognized that traditional ways of storing and sharing content could be transformed into a single, totally integrated digital operation. At the same time, several challenges and catalysts were converging. One was that user groups across the business were already working in discrete digital “islands,” but with little integration between them. There were also mounting cost pressures and shrinking release windows. Most crucially, the emerging digital ecosystem was causing a proliferation in the distribution channels for the company’s content, increasing the threat of piracy.
Warner Bros.’ digital ambitions would take it into territory that was as yet uncharted. How would it build the architecture, workflow, operating model and organizational structure to get there? Warner Bros. selected Accenture to team with it on the road to its vision—a decision that marked the start of a mutual multi-year, multistage journey towards creating the world’s first high-performance, digital media and entertainment business.
The first success was the design and implementation of the Media Asset Retrieval System (MARS). This enterprise-wide digital asset management system tackled the formidable challenge of storing, accessing, managing and distributing the studio’s vast archive of advertising and publicity materials. Today, MARS provides a single, secure and traceable end-to-end source housing more than 2.7 million assets and serving more than 180,000 downloads per month.
Accenture next helped Warner Bros. conduct a comprehensive assessment of all its operations against the digital vision. The team identified opportunities to streamline processes and increase security. Accenture created a road map to migrate Warner Bros.’ entire operation to an integrated, digital end-to-end environment (DETE). By 2010, the entire Warner Bros. environment was digital and operational.
The digital end-to-end project (DETE) is a significant contributor of high performance at Warner Bros. For example, DETE enabled Warner Bros. to speed up distribution of entertainment content, open up new revenue streams, free up resources to focus on creative innovation and lower all related annual distribution and management costs by 85 percent. The solution supports more than 11,000 high-definition and 38,000 standard-definition e-masters (a complete film version, a digital version for digital cinema release and ancillary information regarding rights, royalties and so forth) stored in the studio’s vault.
With Accenture’s help, Warner Bros. has become a high-performance digital entertainment business of the future. The outcome is not only its greatest blockbuster to date, but it is the platform from which Warner Bros. is giving customers the compelling, personalized content experiences they want—well into the future.