RealTime IT News

IBM, Sony Provide Digital Archiving for CNN

A digital asset management collaboration between IBM and Sony Electronics is expected to enable Turner Broadcasting's CNN to digitally manage 120,000 hours of archival material, gathered during the past 21 years of the media giant's existence.

The five-to-seven-year, $20-million project will put CNN's analog videotape archive online in a virtual file cabinet for journalists and media players to pull from.

CNN also expects to enjoy reduced operating costs and an additional revenue stream by leveraging its digital assets across various platforms.

Gordon Castle, CNN's senior vice president of strategic digital systems research and development, warned that the company's failure to go digital would cause CNN to face "an ongoing tape dubbing process."

Perhaps the greatest benefit -- besides the pleasure of less tedium in its video production -- is that as the system comes online CNN users will have access to digital video, audio, graphics and text files via desktops.

CNN said clips would be viewable on desktops in a low-resolution format and would be available for use or purchase.

Previously, the process would have required a production assistant scouring analog tapes and then shipping the video from headquarters.

Dick Anderson, general manager at IBM global media and entertainment industry said IBM and Sony have delivered a system that allows producers to quickly tap into CNN's huge archive, and retrieve either high or low-resolution output.

IBM and Sony devoted two-years of study and engineering to create the digital management system, with IBM providing all the database, media management applications, and middleware software to be used to extend digital content across the CNN network. The software includes end-to-end media asset management production support system with ingest, catalog, managed storage, search, browse, cuts-only EDL generation and fulfillment of digital video content.

The IBM infrastructure of products include consulting and system integration services, and specific hardware and software such as: IBM Content Manager, DB2 Universal Database, MQSeries workflow software, IBM WebSphere infrastructure software, and IBM servers -- RS/6000, RS/6000 SP and IBM Netfinity.

Other third party products include Virage's VideoLogger and Minerva's VNP-251 CODEC with GPI.

Not to be outdone, Sony is providing technology which captures multiple resolutions of video and metadata in a single pass process that the company said reduces the cost of creating digital assets.

The Sony MAV broadcast video servers coupled with the Sony networked storage manager Petaserve will supply CNN with video storage management. Additionally Sony will provide a digital data tape unit that will store the video and metadata in a compressed digital form that will protect it from wear and aging.

The Sony DTF drive is supported by the UNIX and Windows NT platforms.

CNN is a division of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., an AOL Time Warner company. The company's reach extends to 15 cable and satellite television networks and 15 Web sites, among other properties.

In related news Sony announced a joint venture with tech consulting firm Accenture, today, that creates a separate, jointly controlled firm, Concadia Solutions LLC. The new unit will supply video equipment and technology consultancy to media clients.