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Ascent Media and HP Join to Deliver Digital Media Services

Ascent Media Group (AMG) and HP have announced a strategic alliance to co-develop, market and deliver enterprise-level services and technologies that enable studios, content providers and aggregators to archive, repurpose and distribute media digitally for the multi-channel market.

The announcement formalizes the companies' three-year collaboration, through which they have successfully enabled customers, including Sony Pictures Ent. and Paramount Pictures, to meet growing consumer demand for entertainment content on broadband, mobile and other digital outlets and devices. The new alliance will allow the companies to transform the media supply chain by providing a hybrid solution to address both digital and physical media requirements. It marks the first formal pairing of a leader in transaction processing and IT with a leader in media operations.

"The media industry is in the middle of a massive shift from physical to virtual processes, and a transformational solution is needed that addresses both," said Jose Royo, AMG chief technology officer. "When you combine HP's leadership and expertise in large-scale transactions with Ascent's deep knowledge of media workflows, the result is an extensible platform that enables media companies to scale their businesses for the digital realm cost-effectively."

Since 2004, AMG and HP have been working together to customize solutions for studios and content distributors based on AMG's Viia suite of file-based media services and the HP Digital Media Platform. The combined service platform enables a company to digitize content once, then store, manage, re-purpose and distribute it globally in multiple formats and languages to numerous providers simultaneously -- all according to specified formats and delivery methods. It reduces time-to-market significantly, facilitates new revenue streams for existing assets, and can be implemented as a fully outsourced services platform or as individual managed services.

Under the formal alliance, AMG and HP will co-develop the service platform, market it to major studios, content providers and broadband portals, and provide consultation and support services together. HP is the preferred provider of hardware and software, while AMG provides file-based media services for ingest, library and order management, content versioning, metadata transactions, electronic fulfillment, metadata management and digital rights management. Together, the companies will manage and support client requirements, and provide integration, specification development, testing and other professional services.

"The shift we're seeing in the media industry from physical to digital processes is as significant as the move to digital transactions by the finance and securities industry -- one of many industries HP has helped migrate to digital," said Tom Kuehle, vice president, Digital Content Services, HP. "By creating a digital 'vault' and enabling secure processes for handling transactions of media companies' most valuable assets -- their content -- HP and Ascent will help maximize those assets in this changing market."

To date, the AMG and HP offering has processed more than 90,000 assets, delivered file-based titles to 50+ broadcast, broadband, and mobile distributors worldwide and archived more than 9,000 titles for Sony, Paramount and other customers. Services are centered in AMG's $17 million 100,000-square-foot Digital Media Data Center, which houses a digital archive with a petabyte of online and nearline storage integrated across a global mesh network. In the coming months, AMG intends to launch three additional network hubs in the Eastern United States, Europe and Asia, enabling the alliance to take all of a customer's ingested content from any of these locations, repurpose it and distribute it electronically worldwide.

With a portfolio that spans printing, personal computing, software, services and IT infrastructure, HP is among the world's largest IT companies, with revenue totaling $100.5 billion for the four fiscal quarters ended July 31, 2007.

Santa Monica, California-based Ascent Media Group LLC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Discovery Holding Company, which through its Creative Services and Networks Services groups, provides creative, digital, technical media services to the media and entertainment industries. Through more than 74 facilities in the regions of Southern California, New York, Atlanta, London and Singapore and at locations throughout the world, Ascent Media provides effective solutions for the creation, management and distribution of content to major motion picture studios, independent producers, broadcast networks, cable channels, advertising agencies and other companies that produce, own and/or distribute entertainment, news, sports, corporate, educational, industrial and advertising content.