Consultancy Grand Scheme Media to work with DLT to devise TV formats

20 December 2018

Consulting firm Grand Scheme Media has forged a new agreement with television production and distribution company DLT. The agreement will see the firms work together to develop new entertainment TV formats for British broadcasters.

Founded in 2010 by television industry veterans, Grand Scheme Media is a creative TV consulting firm. The London-based firm devises formats, prepares pitches, packages ideas for production, and hosts a highly regarded training organisation. The firm counts its involvement in ‘Mr Sloane’ for Sky Atlantic, ‘I Love Sitcom’ on BBC One and ‘Alan Davies – As Yet Untitled’ for UKTV channel Dave among its recent successes.

This track record has attracted the attention of DLT Entertainment, a New York and London headquartered media production firm, as it looks to create a new generation of innovative programming. DLT Entertainment is celebrating its 54th year as an international entity, and has been known as a trailblazer in the production and distribution of video programming for some time.

Consultancy Grand Scheme Media to work with DLT to devise TV formats

Most recently, DLT expanded its production activities with the purchase of the UK company Vera Productions, whose past programmes include Getting On, Million Pound Jewellers, Bremner, Bird, Fortune, and numerous Dispatches such as President Trump’s Dirty Secrets and Politicians for Hire: Cashing in on Brexit. Now, as it looks to push on with innovative techniques, industry news site ATV Today has reported that a deal struck with Grand Scheme Media will see the two businesses combine their extensive experience in order to foster new creative developments to jointly pitch to broadcasters.

In the process, Grand Scheme Media founders, Graham Smith and Mark Robson – a former Commissioning Executive for Channel 4 and Channel 5 and a Development Executive for ITV, Endemol, Channel 4, Channel 5, Discovery and Disney respectively – will work with DLT President Donald Taffner Junior and the team at DLT’s London offices on developing new projects. This will primarily focus on non-scripted formats, but other programme genres will also be explored.

Donald Taffner Junior commented on the deal, “We’re delighted to partner with Graham and Mark to develop new projects. So much of what we do is about working with the right people at the right time, and we believe we have found a great synergy with Graham and Mark. They are a brilliant source of new ideas and will perfectly supplement our already fantastic existing development team. We are very excited to get started.”

Mark Robson added on the partnership, “We are absolutely delighted to be working with DLT Entertainment to develop new ideas for the screen. What particularly impressed us is knowing DLT are already working with some amazing talents, all of whom are dedicated to creating quality television. It’s a pleasure to be part of the DLT team!”

Related: UK TV industry stand to lose £1 billion a year to 'super-aggregators'.

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How data insights helped Network Rail improve the South-East route

11 April 2019

Amey Consulting has leveraged data insights to assist Network Rail with the improvement of its South-Eastern route. Using the Quartz tool, which monitors train movement, Network Rail will now be able to commit to data-enabled interventions to quickly improve underperforming train stations.

With rail services in the UK coming under strain from the demands of modern commuter life, while the infrastructure and service delivery of the nation’s railways has come in for sustained criticism in recent years, a period of regeneration is on the cards at last. Network Rail is the owner and infrastructure manager of most of the railway network in Great Britain, and has subsequently tapped the consulting industry on a regular basis to help find areas of improvement.

The group recently drafted in consultancy BearingPoint to conduct a thorough organisational evaluation and advise Network Rail (High Speed) on attaining a ‘fit for purpose’ organisational standard – for which the consultancy was nominated at the 2019 MCA Awards. Meanwhile, ArupArcadis and Aecom have been contracted to help Colas Rail and Babcock Rail implement a decade-long framework for Network Rail, aimed at supporting the delivery of the next generation of rail systems, with the contracts said to be worth as much as £5 billion

How data insights helped Network Rail improve the South-East route

As Network Rail further aims to improve its performance and customer service offering, another area it has sought help from the consulting sector for is its South-East route. The network of railways connects London with the southern parts of the country, as well as with Europe, making it the busiest in the country, with more than 500 million passenger journeys per year. This crucial expanse of rail was plagued with small minute delays, which were impacting millions of passengers every day, while reducing the efficiency and capacity of the overall network – something Amey Consulting was selected to help solve.

Amey Consulting soon determined that with the sub-threshold delays to services only lasting for 1 or 2 minutes, most were not the subject of detailed root cause analysis, and this made their corrections almost impossible – with dire consequences. Without addressing these delays, passenger satisfaction would fall, while the capacity and efficiency of the network would be reduced, stinging the income of Network Rail even before a host of delay-related fines would hit the company.

In order to help the client gain a better understanding of where, how, when and what these small delays occur, Amey Consulting looked to demonstrate the value of data-led consulting, with a significant reduction in delays within the first month of rolling out changes to key stations. The consultants embedded themselves in Network Rail’s team, helping them learn the key skills needed to support and apply data-driven solutions.

Agile transport

This involved the deployment of the Quartz tool. The system utilises to-the-second train movement data to present the performance of individual stations across the South-East route. It allows users to effortlessly understand station performance with a high level of detail, and use this information to identify losses caused by small-minute delays. The granular data allows for targeted actions to drive efficiency savings and performance improvements. More importantly, it allows users to understand the impact of small process changes on performance. 

Steve Dyke, an Executive Partner at Amey Consulting, said of the project, “We looked to identify the physical root cause on the infrastructure, building a case for change then managing that project implementation and tracking the benefit/value.  In doing so we are working to define a data performance improvement service to the operational and infrastructure owners.”

Just as important for the project as the technology, however, was teaching the Network Rail team how to leverage it after the consultants were gone. The Amey Consulting team worked to develop an agile working culture within Network Rail’s South-East division, helping staff to be confident in using data to improve the journeys of millions of people per year by attacking the problem from the ground up.

Dyke concluded, “This is less about the tools and about the approach to managing performance.  It meant using by-the-second analysis, data science, and then agile development to visualise and identify areas where improvements can be made.  We then worked with NR to change the way they approached the management of the infrastructure changes.  So rather than pass the information down the value chain, any of which could have been missed, we managed the change end-to-end.”

The project was so successful that Amey Consulting was also among those honoured at the recent MCA Awards. The firm scooped the Performance Improvement in the Public Sector prize for its work with Network Rail, at the 2019 ceremony in London.