Trends and Insight in association withSynapse Virtual Production

Old Kids on the Block: SpeedMedia Turns 10

Post Production
Los Angeles, United States
Ten years and ten questions with Kenny Francis, President of post house SpeedMedia

SpeedMedia, a bicoastal post-production studio, is headquartered locally in Venice Beach and turns 10 this month. Here, Kenny Francis, President of the company, answers ten questions about their ten years.

1. What does ten years in this industry mean?

For any business, that’s a mark of success. This industry has a high turnover rate, at every degree, so one of our greatest strengths has been maintaining solid brand and studio relationships, building our own brand equity in the process. At the time we started the company High Definition television content was new to the marketplace, with only a handful of vendors that had updated technology and systems that could handle this larger file size. Most existing vendors were using antiquated machines and methodology in an attempt to distribute HD, causing major bottlenecks at the station level. We built SpeedMedia in anticipation of this new trend, which allowed us the flexibility to properly manage our clients post-production and distribution needs, while giving us a technological advantage over the competition.

2. How has the post pipeline changed in a decade?

Now everything is 'immediately.' Lightning fast is now the new norm. Ten years ago there was a decent amount of time in production schedules for editing, spot tagging, trafficking, clearance, every part of the post process… these days everything is expected to immediately happen. There’s been a huge sense of time compression because the exception has now become the rule.


3. Can you foresee the biggest challenge of the future?

Staying relevant as a company, as a vendor to our customers and trying to evolve with the times and their needs. What worked 10 years ago creatively or productively doesn’t hold the same weight. We’re living in an age of online campaigns and guerrilla marketing campaigns where advertising has already become so wildly diversified… staying relevant is key. SpeedMedia prides itself on anticipating industry trends, and is nimble enough to reconfigure our equipment to cater to these new specifications. We were the first company to have equipment necessary for 3D content, and now we are gearing up for ultra high definition finishing and distribution. Our clients have the piece of mind knowing that SpeedMedia will always be ahead of any technology curve.

4. What do you see for the future of your company and the industry?

We’re constantly accruing new business, so we’re looking forward to building onto our list of stellar accounts. As veterans in this marketplace, we’ve seen a lot of competitors come and go, but we were here before most of them.  And we’ll be here after the latest tech trends fizzle out.  As a new technology launches, emerging companies compete, one acquires them all and becomes a monopoly, and then the cycle repeats itself.  We have been through a few of these cycles, and plan to see many more in the years ahead.

5. How did you establish that foundation? 

Well, besides just building a business, it’s been about building a home for our talented team, and giving them a platform to grow. Our team is family. My uncle used to tell me, "If you concentrate on building a business and not the person, you will not achieve.  But, if you concentrate on building the person, you achieve both.” Many of our biggest competitors just look at the bottom line and focus on building an empire, acquiring others along the way, catering to investors… SpeedMedia has been focused on building a team and prides itself on supporting one another. 

6. Would you describe for us the SpeedMedia Studio? 

It’s as comfy as possible. We’ve been in the same place for ten years now, a block away from those iconic Venice letters. It’s a great place to be and why we’ve never left. It’s a home away from home for our employees. We’ve got big couches, a kitchen, televisions, even our own stocked bar for the monthly company mixers. Stop by and you’ll see a little bit of Matrix code scrolling down some of the walls, as this historic building was actually Joel Silver’s production office back in the day.  If these walls could talk…

7. Who are some of your clients?

It all started with Burger King Corp. I had a long-standing relationship with the company, ever since my days back at Amoeba (Santa Monica based advertising agency). I held a number of positions there, learned the business inside and out. The experience and relationships cultivated there helped me bring Burger King in as an anchor account to help launch SpeedMedia back in 2007. We now work with a wide variety of brands, from Adidas to Old Navy and Expedia to Jaguar Land Rover.

8. Has the area around you changed?

Venice is a living and breathing city, now more than ever. Despite Silicon Beach moving into the area and putting a serious premium on real estate here, we’re staying put. It’d have been cheaper to move inland a bit more, but then that’s all it would have been an office, not a second home. We’d lose some of our identity for sure.

9. What's it like running a bicoastal business? 

In our business it’s important to have a presence on both coasts. We have some great clients in NYC and it’s nice to actually be local for them. Styles of business on the east coast are a bit different than in LA. It actually used to make more sense back in a tape-based workflow days, for national logistics. We had a real-time exchange between coasts, creating physical handoffs. Now we’re basically hard-lined together, operators in SoHo working remotely with Venice Beach and vice versa, sharing assets and equipment, collaborating simultaneously in perfect harmony, 24-hours a day.  All thanks to our proprietary order management software system MATRIX. This one of a kind system allows SpeedMedia the unique ability to seamlessly integrate with every digital distribution network globally via API tap-ins with our various technology partners. Thus, providing SpeedMedia with the largest global footprint for delivery of digital content. 

10. When did you know it was time to start your own business?

Well, we were at the end of one of these cycles in the marketplace and many of our brand relationships did not want to go along with the Monopoly that was forming. That’s when we created SpeedMedia. We listened to our clients, and wanted to make sure they had a logical and reliable alternative in the marketplace for post-production, distribution, and asset management. And here we are 10 years later.

Outside of the office, Kenny is a big fan of Harley Davidson motorcycles, surfing, and is a former '90s limbo champion of Los Angeles. 

More News from Speedmedia
5 minutes with...
Old Kids on the Block
Work from Speedmedia
SpeedMedia Pics