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ABC seeks help for digital content sharing plans

“End-to-end digital file based work-flows” sought across radio, TV, web

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The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) is seeking “ … business consultancy services for transition of file based content ...”.

The Corporation has issued a tender for those services because it's decided that digital change is coming and figures it needs help to plot a course away from tape-based media and current inefficient media storage practices.

The tender describes the latter in section 1.7, which says “Legal, governance and compliance requirements, in addition to the explosion of multi-media platforms used to broadcast content has radically broadened the requirements and instances of content access and usage across ABC.”

That proliferation of data means “ … digital file transfer and storage must be streamlined to provide greater efficiency across multiple divisions, and allow greater ease of access to all users throughout the active life of the file.” The “active life” looks like it could be very, very long, as the tender plans for “appropriate infrastructure … to ensure that the content remains available long after the file has been first used.”

The tender suggests that the job is not just about technology as culture change will need to be undertaken to move ABC personnel on from a mindset that views content as something stored on tapes to assets stored in digital media.

“The implications of content digitalisation for capture, ingest, access and browse, edit, production, post-production and play-out are significant not only in terms of how audio visual content is captured, but also in terms of how these files are moved around the ABC,” the tender says.

The tender therefore says the broadcaster needs “ … a comprehensive set of recommendations that will be used to drive and implement a Program of Works (comprising of multiple projects and activities) that will provide end-to-end digital file based work-flows across the ABC.”

No timeframe for adoption of those workflows is offered, but the tender hints at a monster project, stating that “Due to the size and complexity of the ABC, multiple projects will need to be scoped to achieve the required outcomes. These projects and associated activities need to be carefully cross-referenced and planned into a Program of Works to ensure that all projects are designed to deliver required objectives.”

It is unclear if this project is in any way related to the $42,480 “environmental assessment” contract awarded to EMC listed in the ABC's 2010 Annual Report. EMC has long had a presence at the broadcaster, where its Documentum project underpins a content management system. The Register understands Hitachi Data Systems also has a significant presence at the ABC. It is hard to imagine projects on this scale won't impact those incumbents in some way. ®

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