For Grand Union Studios resident, Popkorn TV, super-fast broadband is the key to staying in touch with their customers and the global market.
The company produces video content for brands as well as documentaries for Channel 4, Channel 5 and Sky, and with filming sometimes taking place halfway round the globe – they’ve just finished a 20-part documentary series in Australia – they need state-of-the-art connected services in their office in order for their business to flourish.
Keeping up with tech
“The sort of technological improvements we’ve seen in the last couple of years, where we can send rushes or upload cuts back and forth, is great,” says Colin Moxon, Popkorn’s co-founder and Creative Director. “I can send a cut to a client in Singapore, they can send me stuff back…”
Tech innovation also has its downsides, though. “Longevity of equipment can be an issue,” Colin admits. “Cameras – by the time you get to the next documentary your cameras are out of date. But overall, the fact that we can communicate so easily with people on the other side of the world is key to our growth into international markets.”
Expanding into the US is on the cards for Popkorn, on the back of a hectic couple of years. Work has increased “considerably” since 2014, when Channel 4 took a minority shareholding in Popkorn, making it the first ever independent production company to benefit from the channel’s groundbreaking Growth Fund. “It’s great to have Channel 4 as a mentor, somebody as influential as that in your corner,” says Colin. “We’ve been able to grow our company, attract the best talent. It’s just made us more commercially attractive, to our branded-content clients, but also to other broadcasters and other channels.”
Here at Grand Union, there are graphic designers, interior designers, stylists – skills that we always have need of. So it’s really nice to have people like that here in the same building.
Colin Moxon, Popkorn TV
Why Grand Union is the Workspace for them
As with Bulldog Skincare, rapid growth brought about a need for bigger premises. But why Grand Union? “It was the building itself and its facilities that brought us here. They’re standout,” says Colin. “But in terms of location, I think you can be based pretty much anywhere these days. With TV, it’s all about fresh, innovative ideas. If you’ve got those, you send them to the commissioners, you build relationships at each channel. Obviously you have to turn up for meetings, and they’re usually London based, but because a lot of communication is done through phone and email, it really doesn’t matter where you are.”
Guilty pleasures like Rich Kids of Instagram, hard-hitting documentaries such as My Violent Child, online compaigns for Pret a Manger, Lynx and Majestic Wine… With such a diverse output, the Popkorn team have to be flexible: once they land a commission, the core team of 12 or so can expand to 40 almost overnight. But being surrounded by people is good for business, as Colin explains. “Here at Grand Union, there are graphic designers, interior designers, stylists – skills that we always have need of. So it’s really nice to have people like that here in the same building.”