Huge Boom in Corporate Studios—for Webcasting, Podcasting, and More

Call it 'the COVID effect'—but we’re seeing a recent trend speed up considerably: More and more companies want their own studios for webcasting, podcasting—and some for even broadcasting.

The trend isn’t surprising, says Project Director Doug Pokorny, who is working with corporate clients from many different industries—medical supplies, financial services, construction—to plan, design, and fabricate studios of all types.

According to Pokorny, the surge in studios really heated up last fall as corporations realized that the pandemic wasn’t going to go away anytime soon and employees would continue to work in remote settings. Communicating to employees and, in some cases, customers via webcasts has shifted from a nice-to-have to a must-have.

“More and more organizations realize that if communicating via webcasts is here to stay,” Pokorny says, “then they need to up their game and make their broadcasts more professional. Broadcasting from a closet or in an office with poor acoustics isn’t going to work anymore.”

And the challenge for many clients is simple, regardless of their budget or broadcast intent, according to Pokorny. “They don’t know what they don’t know. Almost every client has come to us because they realize they don’t have the background to begin to ask the right questions about planning a new studio. And that’s actually the smartest thing they can do, because we can help them with introductory questions so they can begin to set priorities and realistically create a plan and a budget.”

Are you among the many who are considering adding a studio to your corporate communications mix? Here are some important questions to explore for getting to the right solution:

Q. Why do you want a broadcast studio? How would you use the broadcast space?

Clients have trouble answering these questions and they are really the first questions they should consider. Do you plan to hold internal training sessions for employees? Broadcast annual talks with the company CEO? Share financial updates? Or are you reaching out to your customer base to promote and sell products?

Q. Do you need a dedicated room?

While you do not need a dedicated room, realize that if your conference room is also your broadcast studio, it’s also always going to look like a conference room. That will be sufficient for some organizations’ needs. Others may realize that they require a high-end studio, a room that is specifically built-out as a studio and requires HVAC elements and a general contractor’s supervision. That type of project will require a control room, lighting design, a lighting grid, a layout that accommodates different camera angles and scenic elements that facilitate different interview set-ups. Whether clients are looking for a bare bones approach or a high-tech corporate studio, it’s crucial to start with a partner who understands the variables involved and can help direct project development.

And, by the way, the most frequent question we get is, “Can our broadcast studio have windows?” The answer is a simple ‘no’. Here’s why: The light values change constantly in a room with windows and will affect your broadcast lighting dramatically.

Q. What level of staff support is required?

Clients often don’t understand the level of support a broadcast studio requires. When the project begins, an employee whose part-time responsibilities include a/v is often put in charge of the studio development project. In many instances, this person doesn’t have the skills or knowledge to make complicated production equipment decisions or run the equipment. Depending on the content you’re streaming and the production levels required, you’ll need a full-time production professional on staff who can manage the control room and monitor sound levels and lighting.

Q. What does a “good” broadcast studio cost?

There isn’t one right answer to this question. The range could be from $10,000 to design and fabricate a broadcast desk and purchase out-of-the-box camera equipment to a million dollars for a high-end corporate studio. No matter what type of approach you think you need, begin with an experienced partner who will help you ask and answer the right questions, then arrive at the right solution for your specific needs more quickly and efficiently.

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