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Revealed: The digital monster that ate Shepherd's Bush

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Read the original BBC memo announcing the DMI system

From: Ashley Highfield <Ashley.Highfield2@bbc.co.uk>
Date: 11 February 2008 17:38
Subject: BBC Trust announcement - DMI

Dear All

Last week the BBC Trust approved funding for the Digital Media Initiative (DMI), the project which will enable the BBC to re–engineer its production process, removing tape from the equation and progressing towards a fully digital BBC.

This is a necessary modernisation and has been carefully developed with contributions from staff across all parts of the BBC.

The project is part of our five-year plan and was approved by the Trust after we had completed all the work needed to be sure this system is the right one to deliver the right outcomes for the BBC.

As you know, today, much of what we do is still on tape; shot on tape, moved around on tape, and stored on tape. This is costly and expensive to store, and makes it difficult to reuse content in new TV programmes. Storing content on tape also makes it harder to distribute over multiple platforms like interactive TV, web and mobile. DMI will bring a host of benefits including: easier editing, quicker access to material and your rushes will never be lost again.

DMI will eventually give us a BBC where we have an opportunity to shoot content on HD cameras straight to memory cards, with all the relevant meta–data that goes with it, (the who, what, where), which is captured too. It opens up a world of possibilities where our archived content could be available on the desktops of any member of BBC staff in any BBC office in any part of the world.

This will enable new services and expand opportunities for creativity which will become increasingly apparent by the day.

The implementation of DMI will have a carefully managed roll out over the next five years starting in Information & Archives, Sport, Natural History Unit, Children’s as well as other parts of Vision and Network Radio. DMI also delivers a considerable part of Salford’s core digital technology, making it an integral part of the Media City vision.

Finally, and most importantly, DMI is essential for the BBC to remain relevant to our ever evolving audience. Without DMI we simply can’t deliver many of our planned and exciting new on-demand services. We need to be able to remain ahead of, or at least keep pace with, the developments in the industry, while providing the innovation and quality content that our audiences expect from the BBC.

All the best,

Ashley Highfield Director, Future Media & Technology

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