ARMONK, N.Y. - 21 Oct 2011: IBM Corporation (NYSE: IBM) and Fox Networks Group, a primary operating unit of News Corporation (NASDAQ: NWS), announced today that they have jointly won an Engineering Emmy® Award for Innovation from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. According to the Academy, by improving the ability of media companies to capture, manage and exploit content in digital form, IBM and Fox have fundamentally changed the way that audio and video content is managed and stored.
More viewers enjoying High-Definition (HD) television programming means there are more bits being transported and consequently significantly more data than ever before for television broadcasters to capture, distribute, edit and store. The award-winning, seven-year initiative led by IBM and Fox focused on two areas: the integration of traditional broadcast transport and encoding standards with information technology (IT) industry open standards such as the LTO (Linear Tape Open) tape format; and the development and application of the LTFS (Linear Tape File System) in a broadcast environment.
"This combined effort of IBM and Fox Networks Group has led to major industry-wide improvements across digital workflows," said John Leverence, Senior Vice President, Awards for the Television Academy. "It's also provided vast reductions in the costs associated with capturing, storing and repurposing media content, while providing dramatic enhancements in transfer rates, storage density, automated workflow, and content availability."
By standardizing technologies in this way, Fox can now use open-standard, file-based tape in all aspects of production, post-production and distribution functions – displacing costly proprietary tape formats and/or disk subsystems. This provides media companies with the consumer equivalent of having their entire library of DVDs online and available at any time, and the ability to go to a specific scene, in any one of the movies, in an instant.
In the early stage of the technology initiative, the IBM/Fox team applied IBM-patented technologies invented by IBM Research for high-speed data movement. They also integrated traditional broadcast transport and encoding standards with IT industry open standards. This allowed either Standard Definition (SD) or HD programming to be available in real time for digital recording and repurposing -- with improved economics.
Initially used for the "NFL on Fox" HD broadcasts, this approach has since been expanded by Fox in terms of program content (MLB games, NASCAR events, and popular live shows in HD such as "American Idol" and "So You Think You Can Dance?"). As a result, Fox has achieved a dramatic reduction in costs to record, store and retrieve increasing volumes of digital video and audio content, regardless of whether it was SD or HD TV. For example, Fox achieved a 19-1 improvement in recording costs, and eliminated the use of manual tape handling as it migrated to this open standard environment.
"With the IBM project, Fox is lowering costs by using LTO and LTFS technology to improve our efficiency meeting current and future demands – while using broadcast standards already deployed in our operations centers and well understood by our technical staff," said Richard Friedel, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Fox Networks Engineering and Operations.
"The media and entertainment industry is experiencing a fundamental transformation which requires innovative new approaches," said Steve Canepa, General Manager, IBM Global Media & Entertainment Industry. "We're proud to be working closely with the industry to capture both the cost-advantages and workflow benefits enabled by standards-based IT technologies across all aspects of production, post-production and distribution."
About Fox Networks Group
Fox Networks Group consists of Fox Broadcasting Company (FOX), FOX Sports Media Group, the company's national and regional cable programming services, FOX International Channels and Fox Networks Engineering & Operations. These units produce, program and transmit much of America's most popular entertainment via 43 owned-and-operated TV networks, video on demand and other media platforms.
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