Digitization Spreads Like Wildfire

(click thumbnail)Shane Robison, executive vice president and chief strategy officer of Hewlett-PackardLAS VEGAS

Digitization is causing a “massive transformation” in the media, entertainment, broadcasting and production industries, according to Shane Robison, executive vice president, chief strategy and technology officer of Hewlett-Packard.

“At H-P our goal is to build the world’s leading technology infrastructure company,” Robison said. “When we say information our definition includes rich digital media. We’re at a crucial turning point, the tire kicking phase is over, everything is going digital. Today, we’re on a path to digitize every step in the production and use of digital media from the concept to how you script it and create it, right down to the end user experience.”

Robinson made his remarks during the NAB2007 Super Session, “Digital Content: The Race is On.” The session was moderated by Peggy Miles of Intervox Communications.


Robison discussed how creating a true end-to-end digital supply chain by connecting the islands of digitization that exist in the media space today will irrevocably alter the worlds of both old and new media.

James Tooley of Industrial Light and Magic was on hand to discuss the increased use of digitization and computer graphics techniques in the production of the second “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie.

Joel Hyatt, CEO of Current TV, provided examples of user-generated video content that makes for compelling television. These included virtually real-time reports by a citizen journalist from New Orleans on rescue efforts in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina as well as commercials for Toyota.

Another citizen journalist created a poignant report from the Gaza Strip on the dispossession of an Israeli settlement by Israeli soldiers. The video report from the Gaza Strip was instant-messaged by the video journalist to Current TV.

This presentation clearly stated that it is digitization and an increasingly sophisticated IT infrastructure that makes the work of Current TV and ILM possible.

(click thumbnail)Peggy Miles of Intervox Communications

Robison emphasized that it is consumers who are driving the inescapable move to digitization.

“People are willing to spend money to have fun their way on their terms,” Robison said. “If you can deliver personalized content to viewers that they can enjoy on their terms, that they can view when and where they want to view it, they will pay a premium for that content.”

Robison showed a picture of a warehouse with rows and rows and shelves and shelves of canisters containing film and boxes containing videotape. The digitization of all this content will provide irresistible business opportunities to those prepared to repurpose and reuse this valuable content.

Robison indicated that new content, which begins its life as a digital asset, offers even greater business opportunities. Digitization offers end-to-end solutions for the seamless creation, management, distribution and consumption of content. Business models that focus on digital solutions are disruptive to current business practices but offer great potential, Robison said.


The Super Session also featured H-P’s efforts in the gaming space and an appearance by Olympic gold medalist Shaun White (the red-haired snowboarder known as “The Flying Tomato”). White demonstrated a race car video game that included digitized feedback to the chair in which he was seated.

Robison indicated H-P is deeply involved in the hardware and software infrastructure that is making end-to-end digitization possible. It seems clear that H-P believes digitization will have profound effects on the world of media and entertainment and on consumers who enjoy media and entertainment products.