Case Study: Action! Accenture Takes Warner Bros. into the Digital Age

In 2001, Warner Bros. recognized that traditional ways of storing and sharing content, and the informal and labor-intensive distribution networks that supported them, could be transformed into a single, totally integrated digital operation. It could see that the way forward was to transform its core media production and distribution capabilities into a single, end-to-end digital ecosystem. Warner Bros. selected Accenture to team with it on the road to its vision—a decision that marked the start
of a mutual multi-year, multi-stage journey towards creating the world’s first high-performance, digital media and entertainment business.

The Challenge
Several challenges and catalysts were converging to usher Warner Bros. to a fully digital environment. One was that user groups across the business were already working in discrete digital “islands,” but with little integration between them. Other imperatives included mounting cost pressures and shrinking release windows. And the emerging digital ecosystem was causing a proliferation in the distribution channels for the company’s content, while multiplying the scale of piracy’s threat to its core business.

The Solution
Accenture began working with Warner Bros to develop a phased and measured approach. The first success was the design and implementation of the Media Asset Retrieval System (MARS). This enterprise-wide digital asset management system tackled the formidable challenge of storing, accessing, managing and distributing the studio’s vast and extremely valuable archive of advertising and publicity materials. Today, MARS provides a single, secure end-to-end source for more than 3,000 users across 22 Warner Bros. business units. Accenture followed the same measured approach and extended it across the entire lifecycle. Warner Bros. called this fully digital supply chain, “Digital End-to-End” (DETE).

The Result
By 2010, the entire Warner Bros. environment was digital and operational. Accomplishing this feat made Warner Bros. the first studio to move its entire film and television production, post-production and distribution to an entirely digital end-to-end-process. DETE is a solution that continues to be powered by the Accenture Digital Transformation Framework.