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Case Study

How Echelon Studios Increased Deliveries 10x During the Pandemic

Echelon Studios is one of the leading distributors of independent programming to Video on Demand (VOD), OTT, FAST, Pay-Per-View (PPV), Pay Cable and Basic Cable systems worldwide, with a library of over 20k titles. Molten Cloud sat down with Sandro Gohoho, President of Licensing and Logistics, to discuss his growth strategy over the course of our partnership.

Sandro shared that Molten Cloud has helped Echelon become more aggressive in their expansion strategy, scaling delivery sizes by 10x, hiring new salespeople, and managing the complex requirements of streaming. Having onboarded at the onset of the global pandemic, Echelon was perfectly positioned to embrace the new world of streaming - as well as the new world of work. Once relying heavily on physical storage, there is simply no way that Echelon could have completed deliveries without the use of their physical office. Using Molten Cloud, their team was able to not only continue business as usual while their office was shut down, but actually expand their operations.

Storage and Delivery Challenges

Because each department within Echelon had their own system of storage, deliveries were a massive interdepartmental lift. It would typically take several days to get all the required files into one folder, with the right specifications, and a quality control review.

"Due to the size of our catalog, it was a constant battle to get it organized the way we thought was most efficient. We recognized we needed a tool to increase our efficiency." - Sandro Gohoho

The delivery itself could take anywhere between a couple days to a few months depending on the type and size of the delivery. Between hard drives, DVDs, and FTP servers, it was difficult to find a delivery method that was both quick and cost effective. Their previous delivery methods were so cost-prohibitive, that Sandro would scrutinize his deals to ensure that the value would outweigh the investment of manual labor of his team.

"Every delivery was expensive…we had to mitigate risk and make decisions around whether a deal was really worth it." - Sandro Gohoho

According to Sandro, the employees responsible for deliveries “did a lot of walking” before the pandemic. For storage, Echelon kept their content on DVDs in a storage room. The employee managing deliveries would walk to the storage room, locate and collect files, and then transfer to a computer to prepare for a delivery. When the pandemic hit and the entire office shifted to a work from home model, they simply would not have had access to their content.

Scaling Deliveries

Since onboarding in 2019, Echelon has leveraged Molten Cloud to scale their delivery capability from 100 titles to 1,000. Sandro remembers one delivery in particular, when, just before Christmas, his team closed a large deal with the contingency that it be delivered quickly. Molten Cloud was able to deliver the package of 1,000 titles quickly, and at a fraction of the cost of their previous solution. A process that once consisted of a lot of manual labor, including the physical labor of storing, organizing, and retrieving files from a massive library of DVDs, had now been streamlined to something that can be accomplished by one person in a matter of a few clicks. They no longer rely on complex interdepartmental collaboration or extremely technical processes around coordinating files transfer.

In the streaming landscape, efficiency is key. While a delivery of more than 100-200 titles was rare amongst traditional distribution channels, streaming platforms are hungry for volume, and demand larger and more frequent deliveries. Sandro describes his streaming operations as a fast-paced, never ending process. The ability to organize content, metadata, rights, and deliveries efficiently is crucial to a profitable business model in the streaming landscape.

"We became more aggressive in our expansion strategy. There is a higher demand for content especially in the VOD/OTT/FAST industry and Molten Cloud empowers us technologically to tap into those opportunities. Our content ingestion and delivery cost has undoubtedly been reduced…enabling us to boost our sales and acquisitions." - Sandro Gohoho

Aggressive Expansion

When streaming viewership skyrocketed in early 2020, Sandro recognized the new demand for OTT and launched an aggressive expansion strategy to push titles onto streaming platforms. In order to meet the demands of content-hungry platforms, Echelon scaled up their marketing and sales team.

"In a parallel universe without Molten Cloud, more of our day would be spent managing the manual stuff and organizing metadata and content versus actually being able to sell." - Sandro Gohoho

Because they had streamlined their operations around ingestion, storage, management, and delivery, they were able to hire new sales and marketing professionals, without the need for additional administrative or IT professionals.

"We now deliver 3-5 times faster using the exact same human resource capability compared to the past. Our decision-making process pertaining to content availing, quality control and media delivery has vastly improved. This is key for us because we want to be able to share the amazing content our filmmakers passionately created." - Sandro Gohoho

A Streaming Success Story

By streamlining their operations on Molten Cloud, Echelon was able to increase deliveries by 10x and accomplish it all 3-5 times faster. The newfound efficiency has justified expanding their sales team by 5 new hires.

Throughout our partnership, Molten Cloud has worked closely with Sandro’s team to create a tailored solution, taking into consideration the unique requirements of their operations. Sandro speaks on his onboarding experience, sharing that “the whole DNA makeup of your company has always been around listening and looking for feedback, [asking] “how do we get better?”. And that's something we really appreciate.”

If you’re interested in seeing how Molten Cloud can empower your business, click here for a platform introduction.