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AOTV is a video production business based in South Wales that has been in operation for over a decade, working with local, national and international businesses filming conferences, events and promotional videos.

Key learning points

  • Access to superfast broadband is essential for digitally mature businesses as it can change the activities they can do for clients and allow the introduction of new products and services.
  • Extensive use of digital technologies can help reduce business costs and save time.
  • Integration of superfast broadband-enabled processes can change the way businesses operate and lead to collaboration and increased networking within and outside the business.
Logo for AOTV

Overview of the business

AOTV deals with agencies and marketing teams to produce highlights packages or promotional videos for a product or service. In Wales the clients offer predominately smaller jobs, focused on specific events and highlights. Further afield, one of AOTV’s main clients is a technology conference events team. The business travels with this client across Europe and the United States, covering Google and other programming conferences.

The business has two employees working under 16 hours a week, mainly remotely from home or off site in various places around the world, editing materials that they receive on hard drives.

AOTV is seeking to expand by taking on two full-time employees- an account manager and a shooter editor-and looking to extend its current capacity by relocating its business from a shared working space in Merthyr Tydfil to a Cardiff-based location.

AOTV information flow diagram

Highlighting the internal and external communication flows of the business.

Superfast broadband adoption

The business experienced barriers when first seeking to adopt superfast broadband, driven by its location in a designated office space with delayed superfast broadband connectivity. Investing in a leased line was considered but the premium of £5,000 a year was not cost effective. Instead, the business combined several ADSL 20 Mbps connections with other businesses located in the sharing space.

In January 2017, AOTV relocated to an office on the high street of Merthyr Tydfil, which has fibre as part of the domestic rollout. In its new premises, the business receives broadband speeds of 20 Mbps for upload and 76 Mbps for download. These speeds come at a premium of approximately £45 a month.

Motivation to relocate to an office in Cardiff is driven by the potential to access broadband speeds of up to 200 Mbps. Moreover, the relocation is made feasible by the Cardiff City voucher scheme, making it more affordable to uptake fibre, or leased lines at the premises. These higher speeds are deemed crucial for small businesses that suffer from lost productivity while waiting for large files to upload or download.

Use of digital technologies

AOTV utilises business support services. For instance, administrative, bookkeeping and accounting tasks are outsourced to a small team called Your Business Hub. Although they are in the same co-working space, communication normally takes place online. Accounting systems are operated through Xero, while receipts and invoices are submitted via email.

Cloud storage

The business uses a range of broadband-enabled applications in support of its various commercial functions. Cloud-based storage is utilised, accessing pro accounts with Google Drive and Dropbox. AOTV also uses File Transfer Protocol (FTP) for some clients and review features through Vimeo, enabling clients to tag and critique their activities. Mileage forms from freelancers and the website maintenance and curation are all undertaken online. Slack, a broadband-enabled text-based communication tool, is used for internal team communication and with a lot of clients.

Live streaming

Superfast broadband enabled the launch of a new service, namely live streaming, which has opened novel business opportunities. AOTV, however, does not do much live streaming from its office and mostly utilises 4G routers for better traffic management.

We live stream for UEFA football matches up in North Wales, for Euro hockey in Cardiff, and for ExCeL conferences in London once a month. So, superfast broadband has enabled that to happen but at a high cost, because it’s £2,500 for a 10Mb connection in the ExCeL, per day.

Manager, AOTV

AOTV uses digital technologies to better secure and backup its data. The business believes that security only becomes an issue when the data is not stored correctly, and not because of the Internet infrastructure per se:

All our customer data is online. We do have hard copies, RAID arrays of customers' videos, which are kept offsite. One of the benefits of superfast broadband, I use a system called CrashPlan to back up everything on my Mac, and that costs around £5 a month.

Manager, AOTV

Business performance

Integration of superfast broadband-enabled processes has positively affected the functioning of core business activities. Live streaming is becoming the main source of sales for AOTV as the business has on average one live streaming job a month, which provides most of the turnover for the company.

Although cloud-based storage costs have increased dramatically, from approximately £2 per month to £400 per annum, overall adoption of superfast broadband has resulted in major cost savings. Savings include the removal of a business telephone contract, with communication being undertaken via email, online communities, or Skype audio. It is estimated that these savings total up to £45 a month.

The business is also able to run more efficiently, saving a day a week in computer usage:

The time required for uploading has gone from 10 to 24 hours to two to three hours. That allows that computer to do other tasks and then be more efficient.

Manager, AOTV

Efficiency savings are also experienced in easier access to remote working, bringing improved employee flexibility, which helps to manage family commitments and improves employee work-life balance. Also, flexibility is afforded to the employees that commute to the office, since they are able to avoid the main traffic periods and attend meetings via Slack and other communication platforms. Productivity is also increased by the reduced need to travel to Internet hotspots to upload large files.

The benefits are extended to AOTV’s clients, with workflow speeds and costs decreasing significantly.

In the past we shipped a hard drive to a client, containing everything shot in the raw format, which could be around a terabyte. With superfast broadband, after a shoot I can upload the SD card of 64GB and 128GB to the client overnight, instead of charging £100 on a hard drive, and £20 on shipment.

Manager, AOTV

In addition, new geographical markets have been opened because of access to higher broadband speeds, including the US and Bangladesh.

It’s now quicker for us to travel home from London and upload our videos than shipping the hard drive. So, it has allowed us to meet those new targets imposed by international clients.

Manager, AOTV