Last month Channel Ten formally completed a $65 million, three-year infrastructure program to implement digital content and media asset management systems allowing easier file sharing and viewing of content.
Lead by IBM, with software provided by Swedish vendor Ardendo, the program involved changing Channel Ten's broadcast storage equipment to an IT backbone, including servers, data libraries and IP connectivity networks, Jeff Yeates, Channel Ten's head of network technology, told ZDNet Australia.
While the shift to data files allowed access to Channel Ten content from any desktop, Yeates said the company had to install a media asset management system to simplify the processes. Virtz subsidiary, Ardendo, a prominent software vendor specialising in media content management, provided the software for Channel Ten, in a contract worth over $6 million.
"Our media asset management system is basically digitising all our content, so every bit of programming that comes into Ten now is digitised into a very large IT network and it gets rid of the old process, which used to be a very linear video tape process," Yeates said. "All the material that once would've had to be in a traditional broadcast style is now able to be viewed on desktops, edited on desktops, we can transfer in a file format from one station to another, other stations can view content and they can transfer that content if they want it across an IP computer network."
One of the reasons behind the shift to digital content management was the ease of transition into other formats and across platforms. According to Yeates, the new format both saves costs and time associated with moving into different media platforms including online, mobile and the shift from analog to digital television services.
"When someone does release a new gadget that has been taken up by the public, for us it's just a matter of putting it in that format," he said. "The content itself is available in a format that can process it — all we need to do is put another software package in that allows that new product to be able to see it."
Next for Channel Ten was a project that would allow digitised content to be transferred internationally from the United States. "At the moment it's done via a video circuit, but we are going to a system where we look into their servers and we can move their content directly into our servers," Yeates said.
The project was expected to begin in the next six months and would "carry programming from Los Angeles in a file format from the studio straight into our computer system". Yeates predicted that direct content transfer from the US into Australian servers should be possible by the end of the year.