ITV uses Adobe Acrobat Sign to help produce the biggest shows with the smallest environmental footprint.
Pieces of paper saved every year
Achieve ambitious sustainability goals, including zero waste by 2030
Limit paper waste and eliminate the need for printers
Comply with data retention policies and reduce legal and security risks
82% less time spent preparing dozens of contracts
80% of contracts signed in two days instead of two weeks
280,000 pieces of paper, 360,000 gallons of water, and 20,000 lbs of waste saved every month
Bulk Send delivers forms to 150 University Challenge show participants with just a few clicks
ITV is the largest commercial television network in the U.K., reaching over 30 million viewers a week and broadcasting some of entertainment’s most popular shows, including Emmerdale, Coronation Street, Britain’s Got Talent, Saturday Night Takeaway, and Love Island. Such a broad audience gives ITV massive influence over how it reflects and shapes the culture for millions. The company sees an opportunity to do good through its programming.
At the same time, ITV also focuses on transforming everyday business processes as part of its commitment to doing good. The company’s social purpose initiatives encourage diversity and inclusion, better health, giving back, and climate action. As part of addressing climate change, the company set impressive sustainability goals, including net zero carbon emissions and zero waste by 2030.
Employees throughout ITV help contribute to meeting these goals. Wendy Cullis was working as an analyst in Group Technology when she decided to join the Environmental Working Group headed by Matt O’Shea, Director of Group Technology Platforms. The group feeds into ITV’s Green Team — a task force that helps the company brainstorm and enact initiatives to meet sustainability goals. Cullis thought that her technical experience might bring a new perspective about how technology might help reduce the company’s environmental footprint.
“I was curious about the impact the Environmental Working Group could have,” says Cullis. “I didn’t start out particularly environmentally minded but when I began attending Green Team meetings, I realised that Adobe Acrobat Sign was exactly the type of technology that ITV needed to meet its sustainability goals. I wanted to be sure people knew about it.”
Director of Group Technology Platforms, ITV
Adobe Acrobat Sign, the electronic signature solution within Adobe Document Cloud, was already in limited use by the business affairs team to help automate and manage contracts for writers and directors on two of ITV’s biggest shows: Emmerdale and Coronation Street.
Between just these two shows, the monthly contracts from Business Affairs amounted to 20,000 pieces of paper processed annually. Contracts were usually mailed, and it took an average of two weeks for busy writers and directors to return their signed monthly contracts. There was always a chance that contracts might get lost through post, which would create risk of confidential documents falling into the wrong hands.
With Acrobat Sign, Business Affairs completely digitised writer and director contracts. Administrative staff now spend 82% less time preparing contracts. Once sent out, 80% of contracts are signed in just two days. Since contracts are emailed directly between signers and ITV, the whole process is much more secure, reliable, and auditable. Working with electronic documents also eliminates the cost and waste of printing contracts, mailing them, and storing them in physical offices.
Seeing the benefits from electronic signatures in even limited use, the Group Technology team decided to start promoting Acrobat Sign across ITV. When Cullis introduced Acrobat Sign to the Green Team, they quickly recognised the application’s potential to promote sustainability by eliminating the need for printing and paper.
“As part of the Group Technology team, we see digital transformation as a way to make employees’ lives easier and improve people’s experiences,” says Matt O’Shea, Director of Group Technology Platforms, ITV. “For the Green Team, the sustainability benefits of Acrobat Sign stood out. The team were keen on making Acrobat Sign adoption a green objective for its ability to promote paperless workflows.”
Acrobat Sign is now used by more than 800 people across multiple departments, including ITV Studios, human resources, and legal. ITV saves 3.4 million pieces of paper a year. That translates 280,000 pieces of paper every month, resulting in 360,000 gallons of water and nearly 20,000 lbs of waste saved — a huge step for ITV’s sustainability objectives.
While Acrobat Sign makes digital signing fast and easy for any type of paperwork, it has particularly made its mark transforming experiences for productions. Cast and crew can sign documents anywhere and from any device, so it’s ideal for reaching people working on location.
I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here is one show that has seen the benefit of remote signing, and Production Manager, Brooke Purcell now cannot imagine obtaining signatures any other way. Acrobat Sign allows Purcell and her team to gather highly confidential information from celebrity participants and keep it out of the wrong hands. Every season, the team also needs to collect mandatory health & safety and travel documents from dozens of crew members traveling between locations. During 2020, Acrobat Sign proved to be particularly invaluable when the pandemic forced filming to move from Australia to Wales at the last minute.
“We were under a lot of pressure to quickly turnaround new documentation,” says Purcell. “Acrobat Sign enabled celebrities and crew to sign quickly and confidentially. The production team saved hours not having to chase for the return of documents, and we were able to drastically reduce the amount of printing that typically happens in the production office.”
Remote signing is also a huge benefit for members of senior leadership who can quickly and securely sign documents online. “Working with Acrobat Sign has been a game changer particularly in the context of virtual and remote working,” says Joanne Coll, Group Technology Director at ITV. “No need to ‘catch me’ at my desk to get a document signed and it’s quick and easy to do from my laptop or mobile, wherever I’m working.”
Group Technology Director, ITV
Acrobat Sign is equally popular with administrators. Built-in audit trails help administrators keep track of all documents from a single dashboard. Features such as Bulk Send reduce the time needed to send multiple documents for signature.
For example, close to 150 university students sign up for every season of the long-running quiz show, University Challenge. Getting all of the applications and release forms signed by university students can be a challenge, particularly as young people typically don’t have printers at home. Using Bulk Send, administrators can send the forms to all participating students with just a few clicks.
“I’ve never rolled out an application that’s been as popular as Acrobat Sign,” says Cullis. “Every time people mention the importance of digital transformation at ITV, Acrobat Sign is always brought up as a clear example of the benefits of going digital. The improvement to experiences, productivity, and sustainability is unmatched.”
Group CTO, ITV
The next step for ITV and the Adobe team is to encourage people to get more out of their Acrobat Sign implementations. The Group Technology team plans to start establishing best practices and policies for Acrobat Sign usage. Integrations with third-party solutions such as DocMoto, Workday, Salesforce, and other systems will streamline workflows even further.
“People are always amazed when we introduce them to workflows and templates because it has the potential to save them so much time,” says Mark Smith, Group CTO at ITV. “Acrobat Sign delivers real results for ITV, saving time, money, and the environment. With the help of Acrobat Sign, we’re well on our way to achieve zero waste by 2030.”