The term “Production Company” encompasses a very wide variety of definitions across many different industries. In many cases, it’s simply a term of art, and the meaning is defined by the particular context in which it’s being used.
However, when it comes to planning A/V and technology spends for CME meetings and events, the terminology needs to be defined in a more precise manner. No one can afford to unnecessarily overpay for anything in this current environment. As a CME meeting planner, you’ll need to select the right vendor; before that happens, however, its crucial to determine whether the event calls for a production company or an A/V vendor. Which kind of vendor will be needed to support the technology requirements for a CME event?
What it is:
A production company is comprised of a team of people who assist planners with all facets of a meeting, including creative direction, content development and technical support. The producer, who is the de facto director of the meeting, will typically manage various assistants, stage managers and different technical personnel.
What it isn’t:
This is where the distinction really matters: a production company is not an audio visual technology provider. In fact, it’s important to note that a production company generally doesn’t actually own their own gear and equipment, they rent it from A/V houses and charge the meeting owner a markup fee.
Why it’s important:
Planners need to glean a clear understanding regarding the differences between a production company and an audio visual company, and once they do, they realize that the end of the day, most of the meetings within the CME industry don’t require a production company to ensure an optimal attendee experience.
Both types of vendors — production companies and A/V technology providers — serve to help deliver the message to the event(s)’ audiences. Both exist to make the job of the meeting planner easier. When it comes to fee levels, the distinctions between the two become obvious, because in a side-by-side comparison, the production company’s services will usually cost significantly more than that of an A/V technology provider’s for the same meeting.
As a meeting planner, understanding the differences between a production company and an audio visual company, and being able to define the technology requirements will enable you to show significant cost differences to meeting ownership and other stakeholders.