Eutdel Garcia and Deeny Kaplan
The Kitchen is one of the leading language customization companies in the international arena, and this year is celebrating its 22nd anniversary. With the presence of the heads of its international studios, the company attended MIPTV to meet clients and also enhance its global teamwork environment.
"MIPTV and Mipcom are the most important conventions we go to yearly," asserted Deeny Kaplan, Executive Vice President of The Kitchen. "We can see clients and partners in all the conventions, but these are the markets that all of our international studios also go to. The reason is team building. We work with clients altogether because most of the shows today are released in multiple languages, and we have always believed that it is important to know whom you are working with within each country, when possible," Kaplan explained.
At MIPTV, The Kitchen presented MIP Demos, prepared as a sales tool, that typically range from thirty seconds trailers to three or five-minutes segments of a long-form program, and often an entire episode of a short-form animated program. "I strongly believe that there is no better sales tool for potential program buyers than hear a new program offering in their own language,” Kaplan said.
In Cannes, the company had two unique meeting points: at Le Californie restaurant in front of The Palais and at an apartment in Cannes. "You'll always find some of us at Le Californie, and it's nice because everybody knows where we are. We share a drink or a cafe with friends and colleagues while sitting across from the Mediterranean. You couldn't ask for a better working atmosphere. We have our routine and schedule, which work for us," Kaplan said.
The Kitchen's apartment is used to showcase new technology developments and team presentations, and it's also a way that the executive team, sales team, and the heads of the international studios work together in developing new internal strategies. "As a global company, we must understand each country and what's important for each of our local studios. We work very closely with our teams and have one-on-one meetings with our executive, marketing, and sales staff. Our MIPTV week is always pretty full and quite productive," Kaplan added.
● HIGH-END TECHNOLOGY
For 22 years, The Kitchen has always adapted to all industry changes, especially in the last few years, when the studio methodically expanded into Latin America and Europe. The company is always looking to obtain consistency among all of its global locations. "Our studios are strategically located, and having multiple international studios in many countries is not easy, but it does seem to have been a success for the growing studio conglomerate," Kaplan stated.
"Standardization is hard, but it brings efficiency and allows all of our teams to use the same tools and resources,” Eutdel Garcia, VP of Engineering at The Kitchen, explained. "Standardization means using the tools for everyone to work in the same way because every region has its uniqueness, but also these tools and technologies are great because they can serve everywhere. You can configure and adapt them to these different regions, aiming that we all end up with the same things," Garcia added.
The Kitchen is not only implementing hardware tools, but also software applications that are uploaded onto their secure cloud base. "We can find whatever we need in our cloud base; that marks our efficiency because the different time zones really don't matter anymore," Garcia highlighted. "We're pushing our offices in Latin America and Europe for all to use these tools that we have tested and have implemented in our Miami headquarters. We are working in Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico to start using these tools as we speak, and you can see the efficiency immediately," he affirmed.
The global content industry has also seen a change in the age of the executives involved with critical decisions. "When I started in this business, we used to deal with what was known as the 'old boys club,' and it was hard because that group wanted to keep their providers the same. They seemed to be afraid of change. Now, you have kids just out of college coming into these same positions. They rely on us, like big sisters or brothers relationships. They call us, feel comfortable, and know we will make them shine, and that's what we offer. We are dealing with a much younger generation of people who rely on us to tell them how things should or shouldn't be," Kaplan analyzed.
● GLOBAL EXPANSION
The Kitchen has recently created a new hub in Madrid, Spain, where several of the company's senior-level executives are already based. "We did that purposely because it's the center of Europe. Our teams travel throughout Europe regularly, and having a hub in Madrid makes travel from country to country much easier," Kaplan explained.
Apart from the new Spanish hub, The Kitchen is looking to continue to grow in Europe and Asia. "Distribution companies told us years ago that they want capacity and a one-stop shop for languages, and they want to be able to come to one place," Kaplan said. Right now, The Kitchen offers subtitles services in every language. For dubbing, the studio can work in most languages and has partners in several territories. "That enhances our language outreach when needed," Kaplan asserted.
"For example, we continue to receive much work from Asia and India to English, Spanish, French, and Portuguese. We are also doing vast anime projects right now. We worked on four anime series in the past year and a feature anime theatrical release. We are doing more video games and podcasts, audiobooks, and platform start-ups," Kaplan commented. "During Covid, The Kitchen was considered a necessary operation by the local government in the United States. Television viewing hours were growing per household, and we needed to contribute to feeding and filling up those hours. That desire for more programming continues, and we believe it will only grow with new technologies, new viewer demands, and more platforms desiring more programming. It is certainly a good time to be in the language services industry," she added.
By Diego Alfagemez & Romina Rodriguez