The DPP will become a new entity, Digital Production Partnership Ltd (DPP Ltd), from 1 April. This move sees the partnership, which began in 2010 as an informal collaboration between BBC, ITV and Channel 4, become a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee.
DPP Ltd will be governed by a board of directors consisting of, the BBC’s commercial director Bal Samra; Channel 4’s director of strategy and technology, Keith Underwood; and ITV’s director of broadcast operations, Helen Stevens, who will also be the first chair of DPP Ltd. Mark Harrison (pictured), currently chair of the DPP will become the new company’s managing director, while retaining his BBC role as director of the technology futures group.
“The DPP story so far has been about creating a vehicle for the whole industry to work together,” said Harrison, “The rapid and universal adoption of file-delivery in the UK was only possible because of that industry collaboration, facilitated by the DPP. We’ve been talking to the industry, and no one wants us to stop here. But with important new work to do – such as international interoperability and UHD – we needed to look at the best way to fund future activity.”
To date, the DPP has been funded by the BBC, ITV and Channel 4. These broadcasters will continue with their lead funding, but the change in status will also enable DPP Ltd to earn revenue from membership and partnerships.
DPP Ltd will offer tiered membership packages to individuals and companies, and will be available free of charge to production companies and freelancers, educational bodies and trade associations.
Key outputs of DPP Ltd, including common standard specifications and summaries of major reports, will remain open source. But now members and commercial partners will have access to a number of services, which are provided free as part of their membership.
“Ours is a complex industry, and much of it needs to be,” said Harrison, “But some of that complexity carries no benefit. The DPP is all about identifying ideas that remove unnecessary complexity. However, the process of simplification in itself requires enormous expertise and collaboration. The DPP is uniquely placed to bring together such expertise from broadcasters, facilities, suppliers, manufacturers and producers – and to turn good ideas into reality.”
A number of companies have already become founding members of DPP Ltd, including vendors, Signiant, Aspera, ERA, Vidcheck, and Interra; post production houses, The Farm and 422; and UK broadcaster, BT Sport.
Sony Professional is in discussions with DPP Ltd concerning the potential for participation and partnership:
DPP Ltd is also in the process of establishing formal partnerships with two other key trade bodies, including The IABM (the international trade association that represents broadcast and media technology suppliers).
DPP Ltd will be making further announcements regarding its work, its new members and its partners in the weeks ahead.