October 20, 2005
NFL Scores with IBM Deal for Digitized Footage
LOS ANGELES -- IBM will announce Thursday (October 20) its creation of a new digital media system for the NFL and NFL Films that will streamline and simplify its production flow while making possible future breakthroughs in the viewing experience.
The solution, called the Digital Foundation, features IBM Total Storage SAN File System technology and Linux and will allow a show producer or host to use a PC and quickly search through a detailed catalog of game plays. Producers can then review that footage in real time, send it on to editors and generate content collections to be accessed and viewed by different producers and hosts simultaneously.
Previously, NFL Films producers like Greg Cosell and hosts like Ron Jaworski and others would have to rely on traditional broadcast systems and manually search through printed NFL game books, view reels of videotapes, note plays on paper logs and manually assemble plays to review later by tape.
"We're creating a centralized way for the NFL to take all of the game footage, digitize it, add all the metadata and make it available for all of the producers to access on a PC," said Steve Canepa, vp IBM Global Media & Entertainment Industry. "That kind of flexibility makes you more efficient for traditional programming and paves the way for next-generation applications."
NFL Films can access exclusive NFL coaches' footage, providing a more extensive analysis for NFL Network's "Playbook" and ESPN's "EA Sports NFL Matchup" television shows. Canepa said working with IBM ultimately will allow every offensive, defensive and special teams play to be available on demand internally and poised to be offered at the consumer level at some future time.
He added that this deal was special because of the value of NFL content, and because in general people can easily understand how "NFL content originates in a stadium, finds its way to a broadcast and moves to all kinds of news outlets and promos on the Web."
Canepa said that because IBM is using industry-standard servers running Linux, the NFL was positioning itself for future growth.
"This system can scale and respond to changes in workflow more easily and efficiently than proprietary or analog approaches," Canepa said. "This prepares the NFL for however their business evolves over time to better exploit the value of their the content."