Sony and IBM to digitise CNN's archive

IBM Corp. and Sony Electronics Inc. said Monday that they have completed the initial phase of a five-to-seven-year, US$20 million project that will put AOL Time Warner Inc. news division CNN's video archive online. First announced in April 1999, the project is the first implementation of a media-asset management system Sony and IBM jointly designed and are marketing to the media industry.

The Sony-IBM system will digitize, store, and catalog more than 120,000 hours of archival tape, gathered during the past 21 years. The archive is intended primarily for CNN's internal use, but within the next several years the company hopes to add a consumer component to the archive, most likely through a pay-per-view-style plan.

A CNN (Cable News Network) spokeswoman said the archiving is currently under way. The network's initial focus is on archiving older material, both to preserve the material before it degrades and because it's in high demand.

IBM is providing the system's database and middleware software, its media management applications and an assortment of hardware. Specific IBM products involved in the project include the company's Media Production Suite, Content Manager, DB2 Universal Database, MQSeries workflow software, WebSphere infrastructure software, and RS/6000 and RS/6000 SP servers.

Meanwhile, Sony's Systems Solutions Division provided system design services, broadcast video products, custom software and integration services. The company's Sony Petasite robotic digital tape unit will digitally store the archived video; the company is also providing technology for the synchronous capture of multiple resolutions of video and metadata in a single pass.

Several third-party vendors are also supplying products, including Virage Inc.'s VideoLogger and Minerva Networks Inc.'s Video Network Platform-251 CODEC (coder/decoder).

Monday's announcement came at a National Association of Broadcasters conference in Las Vegas.

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