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IBM Partners with NeTune to Transform Filmmaking and Distribution Process

As convergence issues weigh heavily on the minds of those in the music, broadcast, publishing, and entertainment industries, over recent months IBM Global Services has made stealthy progress in establishing its role in the digital conversion process.

Through the introduction of a range of digital software and technology infrastructures, IBM has taken part in the distribution of digital music, electronic media management, and digital distribution technology for radio broadcasters.

As a furthering of its conversion strategy, IBM extended its reach today into the entertainment industry through a partnership with Culver City, Calif.-based startup NeTune Communications to power a new range of digital technologies to filmmakers via high-resolution satellite.

The basis of the alliance will be in developing NeTune's flagship product ShowRunner, an integrated broadband private network based on satellite, wireless, and fiber technology. ShowRunner integrates into other network infrastructures, giving production companies and studios full mobile broadband connectivity from any location.

NeTune is the brainchild of cinematographer Curtis Clark, a 25-year veteran of the motion picture and television industries, who has spent the past two decades harnessing technology and filmmaking to develop a more efficient collaborative process for industry professionals.

"The technical support from IBM delivers on that objective, and will help ensure rapid adoption of our service by the industry," said Clark.

According to a company official, IBM hardware and software will power the ShowRunner network to transmit high-resolution digital images, enabling film and television professionals to access and send digital content to and from any location in the world.

And while this new technology may put a lot of people out of work, formally known as gofers, production assistants, and various and sundry middlemen, when a film crew shoots footage, ShowRunner allows for instantaneous interactive access to the footage via satellite.

Real-time services include remote editing, videoconferencing, and telephony services.

As part of the agreement, IBM will make an equity investment in NeTune for an undisclosed amount, in addition to a $112 million outsourcing agreement to be divided up over five years.

IBM will also provide day-to-day operational support over the next five years and remote systems management from an IBM Delivery Center.

"Digital convergence has become a main ingredient in the future of entertainment, and now, NeTune's ShowRunner package is providing the motion picture and television industry with new, imaginative, cutting edge applications," said Dick Anderson, general manager of Media and Entertainment at IBM. "We believe NeTune's technology, with IBM inside, will transform the current filmmaking and distribution processes, allowing filmmakers to embrace digital technologies such as high quality digital film dailies, real-time videoconferences, and ubiquitous networks linking all aspects of the creative process."

IBM and NeTune will jointly develop additional digital solutions for the entertainment industry, to be announced at a later date.



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