This document is aimed to analyze past and current Screen Tasmania’s business plans, find the gaps and weaknesses in the company’s work and identify the strategies, which should be implemented to help the organization to correct the deficiencies.
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The information for further analysis was gathered with the help of interviews with the members of the Screen Tasmania’s board and during the presentation they gave. Additionally, the information about the film industry in general, and the present-day economic situation in Australia was investigated.
Both external and internal analysis revealed several weaknesses in Screen Tasmania’s structure and regulation of work. These gaps are crucial since they hinder the development of the organization. To ensure the further growth of the company, those issues should be addressed urgently.
Additionally, this plan has shown that Screen Tasmania needs network facilitation to reach both its consumers and potential partners. Finally, the active promotion of a unique Tasmanian environment is necessary since it is Screen Tasmania’s trump card over the stronger competitors.
The following points summarise the strategies, which further analysis has determined. Screen Tasmania should consider those as a matter of urgency:
- The creation and strengthening of key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure any progress/regress within the organization.
- Finding and retaining highly skilled and talented personnel.
- Using additional networks (such as the National Broadband Network) to find the audience and potential business partners.
- Promotion of unique Tasmanian landscapes and environment.
These strategies are the core competencies of the company at the current moment. They will have a positive effect on Screen Tasmania’s work and help to achieve the long-term goals, such as the staff increase, a stronger position in the screen industry, and financial stability.
Screen Tasmania belongs to the screen production industry and is responsible for supporting the creative talents in the Tasmania region and creating a commercially sustainable industry. Its primary purpose is to contribute to the growth of local independent screen production and make this industry financially stable. For this purpose, Screen Tasmania provides funds for the development and further promotion of Tasmanian programs. The company invests in such screen projects as documentaries, dramas, short films, TV series, and others.
Organizations do not operate in a vacuum, and their environment often plays a crucial role. In this part of the document, several factors that have the most significant impact on Screen Tasmania’s work are discussed and examined.
Every company depends on economic changes, and Screen Tasmania is not an exception. Moreover, as far as Screen Tasmania is the State Government agency and is regulated by this Government, any changes in states’ policies will greatly affect Screen Tasmania’s work. Besides these policies (relatively taxes or wages, for instance), such factors as inflation, an economic recession or the unemployment rate will have an influence as well. Moreover, those can affect Screen Tasmania’s performance via people. As proof, during an economic slowdown, people trying to save money and spend less, while, during high economic times, just the opposite is true. People’s behavior, in its turn, has its impact on the government’s willingness/unwillingness to fund one type of project and ignore the others.
Political and Legal Factors
Since Screen Tasmania is the State Government agency, funds received from this government (as well as the federal one) can be considered as the backbone of the company’s functioning. New political policies affect the government’s actions, including the financing of different projects. Besides, specific legislation can be crucial to Screen Tasmania’s work as well. A prime example is any change in laws regarding taxes. Most frequently, taxes become one of the main reasons for producers to choose or not to choose a particular location. That is not surprising since low taxes help to minimize expenses and maximize revenue. Presently, the Australian government offers favorable conditions for the creation and promotion of local films and TV shows. Therefore, Screen Tasmania’s performance is encouraged.
As for the legal factors, those can also make a difference. As an example, there is always an issue of Online Piracy when films appear on the Internet, which usually causes the loss of profits and illegal downloading (although the legal system prohibits elicit sharing and downloading of such kind of materials).
One of the most complicated for Screen Tasmania problems is the social factor. In Tasmania, youthful, talented, and high-skilled people usually try to leave their birthplace and move elsewhere to find better job opportunities. To get the best, Screen Tasmania has to make great efforts to attract people, convince them to stay in Tasmania, and contribute to its local industries. For this purpose, Screen Tasmania tries to support exceptional projects and provide the employees with promising chances of self-development and growth.
The rapid development of technologies provides Screen Tasmania and the screen production industry in general with numerous new opportunities to both produce media and share it with the audience. Currently, people are accustomed to accessing any type of information, including media, with the help of modern gadgets (smartphones, tablets, or laptops), and various online services and platforms, such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and others.
However, those can be useful not only for consumers to access and share media but for producers as well – to get and increase the audience with the help of online resources, mobile applications, and so on. As an example, Screen Tasmania should use the National Broadband Network (NBN) to let the Tasmanian audience watch more locally produced films on the screens of their own TV sets and digital gadgets. Additionally, the Internet and its resources also provide unlimited possibilities for advertising, promotion, and marketing. Moreover, all of this becomes possible not only within a local market but also in the global one.
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Industry analysis estimates the risks in the screen industry environment. The relative strength of each of the risks (from low to high) is indicated in parentheses.
Risk of Entry by Potential Competitors (High)
The risk of potential competitors is rather high, and not only in the territory of Tasmania or Australia but elsewhere. So, Screen Tasmania will probably have to deal with competitors, both at the state and international levels. Besides, Tasmania has unique landscapes, which foreign companies find very attractive.
Bargaining Power of Suppliers (High)
At this point, Screen Tasmania is extremely disadvantaged. Since the film industry in Tasmania is still developing and rather small, there is a very limited number of suppliers there. That is what puts suppliers into a pole position, so they can demand more from production companies, for example, the higher prices.
Bargaining Power of Buyers (High)
The power of consumers can also be a threat. Buyers have many advantages over the production companies. One of the primary ones has already been mentioned above – that is the technological development and the opportunities it provides.
Threats of Substitutes (Medium)
The threat of substitutes is changing from medium to high level of risk and lies in the possibility that neighbor states can offer better conditions (prices, quality, etc.) of the same contracts.
Overall Attractiveness of the Industry
It can be concluded, that the film industry in Tasmania is unattractive because of its isolation, which becomes the cause of higher risks of potential competitors’ entry, the unfavorable behavior of suppliers, and so on. Nevertheless, the contribution of the industry to the state development is still priceless, especially if those difficulties do not emerge.
Screen Tasmania has two of the most threatening competitors to be concerned about. Firstly, that is a group of organizations that provide similar services but offer more favorable conditions for cooperation. Those conditions, first of all, are the funds, the skills of employees and facilities. That is where Screen Tasmania does not have any privileges since it has weaker financial and skill capabilities than other companies. The second possible competitor is New Zealand that invests billions in its film industry. Tasmania has very attractive landscapes, which can be an advantage for New Zealand companies. However, these organizations would probably prefer already well-established facilities in New Zealand to those in Tasmania, where everything has to be started from scratch.
Opportunities and Threats
The most significant advantage of Tasmania is its geographical location and environment. New Zealand, which now has a well-developed screen industry, is famous for its unique landscapes as well, and exactly these landscapes have been used in the development of the film industry in that territory. As far as Tasmania’s nature is very similar to New Zealand’s, Tasmania can follow its example. It will not only help with the development of the screen industry but also attract more tourists and improve the economic situation in general. Finally, it will also gradually convince young, talented, and well-skilled people that leaving the state is not necessary for getting decent job opportunities.
Moreover, the isolation and small area of the state of Tasmania, which several paragraphs above have been identified as a disadvantage, can be beneficial at the same time. Due to a small area, the costs and time needed for film production can be noticeably reduced. Besides, since screen companies in Tasmania are small, they can afford to take on mainly the small projects, and very frequently those turn out to be good.
One of the most significant threats is the small and aging population. Besides, young and skillful people tend to leave the state for better job opportunities. Maintaining a team of talented and highly-qualified people is a key requirement for the creation of a sustainable local industry. Therefore, encouraging people to stay in the state is one of the biggest challenges for Screen Tasmania, which, if not overcome, will hurt the company. Additionally, the firm greatly depends on government funding. So, any increase in taxes or reduction in funds will affect the company and can make it difficult to support local projects.
Like any other organization, Screen Tasmania has both tangible and intangible resources available. The first group consists, first of all, of people, networks, equipment, and funds. Besides, it also includes unusual landscapes of the state of Tasmania, which can offer both thick rainforests and cityscapes. The group of intangible resources contains the company’s reputation and its unique branding. During the previous several years, Screen Tasmania has been working hard to make it’s a brand synonymous with the word quality and ‘entertaining screen content that is distinctively Tasmanian’ (Screen Tasmania 2011, p. 5). The company has been trying to promote local practitioners’ works and develop a sense of pride in local talents (Screen Tasmania 2011, p. 5).
Screen Tasmania indeed has a unique set of resources. Besides its skills and experience, quality of production, and available equipment, it can also offer an advantageous geographical position, which other companies can only try to imitate. Moreover, those companies will spend a lot of money, time, and effort creating something similar to what Screen Tasmania has by default.
On the other hand, Screen Tasmania also has to deal with several substantial constraints, which get in the way of using available resources as well as hinder the further development of the company by expanding reserves. The biggest restraint for Screen Tasmania is the financial issue. According to Sellars (2004), Screen Tasmania has a budget of only one million dollars. Since it highly depends on the funds received from the local and Federal governments, it is also dependent on every change in an economic system. Besides, the funds’ Screen Tasmania gets is not regular, which also affects the company’s work.
Finally, the screen industry in Tasmania is still small and developing, that is why the Federal Government provides it with much fewer economic, social, and cultural advantages than other Screen Industry bodies in Australia enjoy.
Another important constraint refers to limited Human Resources. According to Screen Tasmania’s official site, the company has only four staff members (Staff 2015). The same site says that the board of the company consists of eight people (Board 2015). The Screen Tasmania’s board includes both people from the state of Tasmania and several non-Tasmanian members, who are appointed by the Minister for the Arts and are responsible to this Minister (Board 2015).
The board members gather at least four times per year, discuss funding issues, evaluate and recommend different projects to be supported by the company’s funding programs. The limited number of Human Resources has a few consequences. First of all, because of this, the company is not always able to take on large projects. Besides, it puts pressure on other company’s resources. Finally, it leads to a very unstable position in the market and makes people think that the organization can fail to complete large or too complicated projects.
In addition to limited Human Resources, Screen Tasmania lacks talented and skilled people. Since it has access to a few of them, there are not many people, whom the company can persuade to stay in Tasmania and contribute to the development of the local screen industry. So, Screen Tasmania has to compete for great talents at the global level. The next constraint is infrastructure, which is extremely limited in Tasmania.
The central cause of this problem is small and irregular funding from the State and Federal Governments. Nevertheless, as Sellars (2004, para. 3) claims, ‘until a few years ago, making films in Tasmania was pretty much a pipedream’, but now the screen industry begins to develop, so filmmakers and producers finally have their chance at this state.
Still, because of limited infrastructure Tasmania can not provide screen practitioners with all they need, which is why some of them may prefer to develop their production in other states with better infrastructure. That is why Screen Tasmania has to deal with competitors from the other states, which get more funds from the government. The prime examples are Film Victoria, Screen NSW, Screen Queensland, and others (Screen Australia 2015).
To conclude, although Screen Tasmania does have a lot of constraints to deal with, those still can be overcome by finding talented people and developing their skills and knowledge for screen production in Tasmania. Since the company is agile, it can give its employees the possibility to be agile as well. They will be able to capitalize on smaller projects and deal with them promptly and effectively. Besides, Tasmania’s unique locations can help in overcoming obstacles as well, and a digital hub can be created to use the NBN in places where it is available.
As for the company’s capabilities, the main three of them should be highlighted here. Firstly, Screen Tasmania is agile and, thus, it has all advantages of such kinds of organizations. Secondly, great experts in various areas of the film industry work for Screen Tasmania. Finally, the company is a part of a huge network.
As for the first capability, due to its size, the company is agile, so, it can quickly adapt to changes and seize the opportunities (Barlow et al. 2011). As a prime example, Screen Tasmania has responded to technological changes. The company has implemented new methods and techniques in its work and even has accepted the ways of how the consumers access the content (with the help of smartphones, laptops, tablets, etc.).
Moreover, it has also gained a profit due to all of this, since it can increase the audience via various networks and Internet platforms. Probably, bigger companies, such as Film Victoria or Screen NSW mentioned above, would be much less flexible in this regard.
Screen Tasmania has qualified industry experts in its team, whose skills vary greatly. There are people with writing and producing abilities, management, and advertising skills, those who create TV applications and online content, and those who have worked on various television productions (Board 2015). Due to these experts, the company can offer the filmmakers not only the funding but professional support and knowledge as well. As for a large network, it is vital for a small organization such as Screen Tasmania because it enables the company to be competitive among other, bigger, and stronger firms.
Promotion of the unique location and nature of the state is the core competency Screen Tasmania should focus on. Although the landscapes in New Zealand are very similar and the companies there are bigger and stronger, Tasmania still has many advantages over that state. First of all, Tasmania has a smaller area, which makes it easier to get from one end of the state to another (unlike in New Zealand).
Besides, nature here is pure and untouched, with clean air and the driest weather in the whole of Australia. The state has diverse landscapes, which vary from wild nature to city views. Besides, Tasmania is famous for its architecture, especially the historical heritage. For instance, Port Arthur is an ideal place for the shooting of historical films. Any of Tasmania’s landscapes is impossible to duplicate, and that is Screen Tasmania’s trump card.
Screen Tasmania can be considered as the backbone of the local screen industry, and that is why it bears a great responsibility. The company has to find unique and interesting projects, support local talents and provide people with decent job offers and conditions, develop local production, which varies from films to apps, help filmmakers with advice and knowledge that the Screen Tasmania’s team has, etc.
All of this is aimed to promote the screen industry in Tasmania and make it financially stable, as well as attract the Federal Government’s attention and get regular funds from it. This model is suitable for the future, but it still can and should be developed. The main aim at the current moment is to make talented people want to stay and contribute to the development of their state. So, the company should implement educational and training programs to gain higher skills for them. Besides, it also should keep pace with modern technologies such as smartphone applications and digital media and take maximum advantage of them.
The major Screen Tasmania’s value proposition is that it is opportunistic and broad in its support in the development of the local screen industry. The company’s work can also be beneficial for Tasmanian tourism and Brand Tasmania. The central stakeholders are the filmmakers, business suppliers, screen organization, and the taxpayers of the state. Probably, the main is the Tasmanian taxpayers since the money they pay later is partly used to finance the projects that Screen Tasmania supports. As for the benefits that the state gets from Screen Tasmania, the emergence of new professions and working places goes first on the list.
Besides, with the help of successful projects, the organization promotes the beauty of its state and indirectly contributes to Tasmanian tourism. That, in its turn, boosts the economy. To conclude, Screen Tasmania brings benefits to the state, its economy, and the government, and through the government – back to the taxpayers. The benefits, with which the company provides filmmakers and business suppliers, are obvious: it helps them to do their job, get revenue, develop, and grow.
Strengths and Weaknesses
The primary strengths that can be identified are the reputation of the brand, the Tasmanian location, its unique landscapes, and architecture. Those are the advantages that can hardly be duplicated by competitors. Another significant strength is the size of Screen Tasmania and its isolation. Due to this, the company has small expenses and can spend the majority of its budget on the funding of different projects, equipment improvements, or educational programs for the staff. Besides, the company can also offer smaller costs and more favorable conditions than its competitors, which will attract filmmakers.
On the other hand, the same can be considered as a disadvantage, since a limited infrastructure is closely connected with limited funding, which makes the company financially unstable, reducing its opportunities. One of the additional weaknesses is the lack of resources and very high power of local suppliers who can demand high prices. Additionally, there is a weakness of the lack of people because young talents tend to leave the state instead of looking for decent jobs on its territory.
However, with the help of special educational programs, favorable working conditions, and opportunities for further self-development, Screen Tasmania still can make people want to stay. Besides, the company is a part of a huge network, which helps it to get through the challenge of the lack of people, at least partly. Finally, Screen Tasmania has a great advantage of adapting to changes and seizing the opportunities, which makes it strong and resistant to failures.
The leading strategic priorities that can be identified are the metrics of success, improvement of employees’ skills, network facilitation, and promotion of Brand Tasmania.
First of all, Screen Tasmania needs to develop success metrics (KPIs) to be able to measure both its economic success and creative results of work. This task should be considered as the highest priority since it enables the company to draw conclusions about the effectiveness of its work and make better decisions.
Another task with a high priority is skills improvement and education because, as Guthridge, Komm, and Lawson (2008, p. 49) state, skill development is a huge competitive advantage. The company has to increase the number of employees by hiring talented and high-skilled people. Serban and Andanut (2014, p. 506) claim that talent is the engine of innovation and growth. To attract talents and persuade them to stay in the state, Screen Tasmania has to implement various educational programs and training courses.
Education will provide the employees with the possibility of self-development and will be beneficial for both new workers and the current staff. So, talent management responds not only to the necessity of finding new talents but to the need of recognising existing ones (Abrudan & Matei 2015, p. 28). As an additional advantage, Screen Tasmania will get more highly qualified employees and will be able to deal with larger and more complicated projects.
It is necessary to understand that the ‘human factor’ is essential for Screen Tasmania to become competitive both at local and global levels (Serban & Andanut 2014, p. 506). Therefore, the education will help the company to overcome not only current but also many future challenges (Milhelm, Abushamsieh & Perez-Arostegui 2014, p. 12).
Taking into consideration the development of modern technologies, education is even more important. Moore (2012, p. 31) says that technological development requires training and up-skilling as one of the highest priorities. According to Moore (2012, p. 31), it is not only needed for further growth but also ensures a good return on investment (Moore 2012, p. 31).
The next highly prioritized task is to make people aware of what Screen Tasmania can offer, attract, and involve more audiences with the help of network facilitation. Screen Tasmania already uses several big networks, both local and global, including even Facebook (Screen Tasmania 2015).
Those existing ones should be strengthened while the new ones should be also used. The primary goal is the National Broadband Network (NBN), which can provide people with a sustainable and flexible environment for watching more locally produced films on the screens of TV sets and digital gadgets. The usage of the NBN will help the company to go beyond the standard media platforms and maximize the audience. The networks will also promote the brand of Screen Tasmania, and not only locally but outside of the state as well.
Additionally, networks can help with a partnership, which is imperative for such companies as Screen Tasmania since they have a small core group. Although the company is already involved in a partnership with several organizations, it can also collaborate with others, and not only within Australia but even globally (for instance, with Chinese production companies). Moreover, Screen Tasmania can choose different businesses as partners, even those that are not directly connected to the screen production industry. That will help to discover opportunities in other niches. All of the mentioned above would enable Screen Tasmania to become stronger on a global stage and gradually gain financial stability.
Recommended Future Strategy
According to the external and internal analysis, as well as the strategic priorities of the company, Screen Tasmania is on the verge of changes, which are to be implemented very carefully. The technological and distribution costs needed to enter the market are constantly lowering, while the market itself is growing due to the availability of new markets, demographic preferences, and ways how media is consumed. A small and isolated organization with limited resources should be very careful in applying its strategies to sustain a screen industry and promote Tasmania’s unique landscapes and culture. That is why the next five years will be indeed vital for Screen Tasmania. The primary strategies that should be followed are given below.
Firstly, the company should implement an internal self-assessment by creating and improving the metrics for measuring success regarding the economic situation and creative results. A precise success value will help the leaders of the organization to understand what changes have had a positive/negative impact and what decisions are better to take in the future.
Secondly, Screen Tasmania should provide opportunities for skills development for both the existing employees and newcomers. That will make the company’s team stronger and attract new talents, which Screen Tasmania desperately needs. The process of development should be focused on two key domains. Those are digital knowledge and various management skills. The first field (app development, digital animation, CGI) enables the development of skills needed for changing production technologies, which is essential at times when the media is transforming a single screen mode to a multi-screen one.
The second area (time management, finance skills, etc.) is needed to make the company able to work in the agile production environment. This ability is necessary for small organizations to become attractive and competitive within the global market.
To implement this change, the following steps are to be taken:
- To provide a scholarship and other motivations for study, as well as be able to finance educational programs and pay the teaching staff, Screen Tasmania should ally with the University of Tasmania.
- The creation and funding of different programs, courses, workshops, and other parts of the learning process will allow professional development for the workers and usually are not available in other small companies that make up the screen industry in Tasmania.
- The collaboration between the experts who already work in Screen Tasmania and the newcomers with the aim of knowledge exchange concerning both professional and management skills.
- To provide better educational opportunities, internships, and so on, Screen Tasmania should collaborate with other local companies. Hence, local graduates will have a wider choice of employment and will be more likely to stay in Tasmania.
This strategy requires financing for scholarships, internships, and teaching resources, which can be provided due to an alliance with the University of Tasmania. To organize workshops and internships, additional staffing capacity is also needed. However, it can be partly available within the screen industry itself.
Thirdly, Screen Tasmania should start using new networks (NBN), as well as strengthen the existing ones. That will help to establish a connection between film industry organizations, local businesses, and the government, as well as find new audiences. Screen Tasmania should be present at events within the industry, both local and global ones. The staff should regularly scan the industry for these events, as well as niche products that can be beneficial for agile organizations in Tasmania, and advise those to the relevant firms. The strategy includes the following:
- Finding possible partners (the New Zealand Screen Association) by establishing contacts with different screen industry companies and other businesses, especially global ones, to share resources and create applicable projects.
- The participation in various film industry events, both locally in Tasmania (the attendance of local events and assistance in these festivals) and globally (the attendance of large industry events, virtual presence online, and the promotion of media).
- Development of Tasmanian regular industry events and Screen Tasmania awards to promote Tasmanian talents, locally produced films, and excellence in the industry.
The main resource that Screen Tasmania has to invest in the implementation of this strategy is the time of its employees. Moreover, that would probably be their time since the majority of events usually occur outside the working hours. The company’s board will also need to manage the organization of events, industry scanning, networking, and promotion.
Finally, the primary strategy of Screen Tasmania is the promotion of Tasmanian unique landscapes and architectural heritage, which can be attractive in the frames of the screen production industry. In addition to beautiful nature, the state is relatively small, so there are no long distances. Besides, it also has the cleanest air and perfect weather in Australia. Therefore, although the majority of Tasmania’s landscapes can be described as wilderness, this wilderness is located in the territory of the reliable First World country. To implement this strategy, the next steps should be taken:
- Alliances with firms outside of Australia, for example, New Zealand or Chinese organizations, to provide international diversification. Searching for niche opportunities, such as the recent visit of the President of China to Tasmania.
- The production of location reels for the picturesque landscapes of Tasmania and their further promotion needed to identify the opportunities and areas of interest for further production. The efficient promotion can be realized with the help of a partnership with Tourism Tasmania.
- The creation of festival displaying in collaboration with such global institutions as MONA to show the beauty of Tasmania to more audiences.
Like the first strategy, this one requires funding from Screen Tasmania and its partners, as well as the staff engagement with different government bodies, such as Tourism Tasmania and MONA mentioned above or other similar.
The strategies that have been identified have considerable constraints, are highly dependent on resourcing and funding, and will compete with similar rivals’ strategies in the global market. However, due to unique Tasmanian landscapes, Screen Tasmania has a strong competitive advantage over its competitors, which will assist in the development of a stable film industry in this region.
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