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‘It’s about the next stage of growth for us’: Gravity Media’s MD on the new White City Production Centre

TVBEurope talks to Gravity Media's managing director Ed Tischler about the company's plans for its latest Production Centre

Gravity Media is expanding its London footprint with the launch of a second Production Centre in the UK capital later this year.

The new production centre will be based at White City and joins the company’s other Production Centres in Chiswick, Manchester, Sydney, Melbourne, and San Francisco.

The 50,000 square foot facility will be housed in The Westworks building and aims to support both on premise and distributed remote production workflows.

It will be connected to the Gravity Media UK and metro networks and able to support in excess of 200 incoming and 40 outgoing discreet services. The facility will be based around a fully fledged 2110 IP media fabric with dedicated master control, and remote production break out MCR, eight dedicated production control rooms with dedicated audio control rooms, multiple off tube commentary booths, two studios lighting and vision control facilities, fast turnaround and craft edit, flexi desk production spaces, media management and client desking.

“First and foremost we’ve built this for capacity,” Gravity Media’s managing director Ed Tischler tells TVBEurope. “We’ve had productions in Chiswick for 25 years or so, and that’s been super successful, but there’s a capacity issue there.

“We knew that we wanted to expand, but then also through talking to different Federations and broadcasters everybody is on the same journey, or the same trajectory when it comes to remote working and things like that,” he adds. “We thought now is the time to have a new Production Centre that has a real nod towards all of that. Location was really important for us, and all of these sort of things started to add up. So we did a lot of research and eventually came to the location in White City.”

The Production Centre is around 600 metres from TV Centre, and Tischler says that the site’s heritage helped in Gravity’s decision. “It’s the home of British broadcasting, so there’s all this sort of provenance wrapped around it and media nostalgia. It’s in the same courtyard and square where ITV are moving their headquarters to, BBC Studioworks and BBC Worldwide are there, Red Bee, so it just made complete sense.”

“Everybody knows that delivery is really difficult in the UK, but this gives us a home to attract the next generation of talent, because we’ve got a responsibility towards the size of the talent pool, we can’t just say there’s not enough staff, or there’s not enough graduates,” Tischler continues. “It’s our job to grow that talent, really. I think getting ourselves in White City will really, really help with that. And especially with all of the neighbouring companies, and hopefully we’re part of this growing media campus in London that is drawing new and diverse talent to the industry.”

The new Production Centre is around two and a half times the size of Gravity’s Chiswick location, and will include eight live galleries, two additional studios, 28 offline edits and four grading suites. “It’s everything from live, media management, archive, studio, post, grading, it’s the whole shebang,” states Tischler.

“It’s going to be built in stages. Stage one will be December of this year. Stage two is March of next year, with everything being completed by the summer of 2023, which is quite a tight timeline.”

Asked if the new Production Centre will be used by Gravity Media’s wider European footprint, Tischler says that has certainly been part of the company’s planning. “Obviously, what we’re going to create in there is our own data centre. We want to look at whether we leverage that by then extending out to more local production centres across our European businesses. That’s maybe not for now. But definitely that’s on the roadmap, for sure.”

“It’s very much about that next stage of growth for us, but having a very long term approach to that. It’s not a two, three, four year solution, it should help establish us as a market leader, and really underpin the business for many, many years to come.”