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Media.net Puts $100 Million to Speed Up Production

In a push to greatly reduce the production time for its producers and editors, Media.net opened its check book to the tune of $100 million in a four-year contract with global communications firm Marconi plc.

Media.net will employ Marconi as a host for its "My Media" application, a Web-based service that allows entertainment footage created by film editors and producers to be uploaded via the Internet.

Whereas in the past, shows were taped via VHS and passed along step-by-step from department to department in the production chain, Media.net's solution cuts out that technologically inferior middleman in favor of the faster Internet medium, trimming two to four hours off of the process, according to Marconi spokesperson Kelly Kimberland.

Marconi will monitor the Media.net network from its network operations center in Brea, Calif., offering 24-7 technical assistance and support via its help desk. Marconi will also assist in developing a communications program that specifically addresses Media.net client's questions and issues.

While many in the industry see entertainment via the Internet as a dead business model, using the latest Internet technology to simplify production processes in such luminous industries as television and film is becoming standard issue. A dichotomy? Perhaps, but it is one Media.net gratefully accepts to expand its production facilities.

By delivering its software via Marconi's platform, Media.net's believes its clients will have shorter production schedules, lower production costs and improved quality. Specifically, Marconi will install switches into Media.net's infrastructure to push data along at an amazingly rapid pace.

Ideally, Media.net hopes to launch its My Media service in New York, London, Toronto and Vancouver markets over the next year.

"With the entertainment industry exploding, Marconi's build and operate services and its leading network technology, we are positioned to become a major player in the global entertainment production industry," said Robert Musslewhite, president of Media.net.

Darrin Coulson, executive vice president and general manager of Marconi's Global Managed Services, said Marconi has also financed Media.net to a degree to help the media service provider build-out its network.

As for the digital entertainment industry itself, research firms are lining up to predict vast changes in the way people enjoy entertainment; it will be both viewed both interactively and through digital set-top boxes. According to MindBranch Inc. and Multimedia Research Group Inc., by 2004, combined sales of set-top boxes and related digital services such as electronic program guides, video-on-demand, interactive TV and enhanced TV will reach $54 billion.

"It is a new kind of market, and quite unlike the PC market," said Gary Schultz, analyst with MRG. "Vendors are growing this market globally. There are more TVs out there than PCs. The TV set is ubiquitous. Set-top boxes can sit on any TV, so potential growth is faster."



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