Front Porch Digital buys SAMMA archiving systems

Front Porch Digital, a provider of content repurposing and management software and hardware systems, has acquired SAMMA Systems, a supplier of automated systems for the migration and preservation of videotape to digital files. Both parties chose to keep the financial details private, although the deal has been finalized.

Mike Knaisch, president/CEO of Front Porch Digital, said the acquisition made sense for his company because it works with large organizations that have a need for managing their archives, and working in the file-based domain is the best alternative. Likewise, SAMMA Systems works with some of the most content-intensive organizations like the ABC O&O stations that have large inventories of videotaped material that they want to preserve. (SAMMA stands for System for the Automated Migration of Media Assets.)

“We were in a position to make an acquisition and SAMMA needed the resources of a larger company to bring it to the next level,” Knaisch said. “The SAMMA technology is going to be very successful when paired with our products.”

The move also gives both companies entrance into new industries, such as the government, where SAMMA has been working with the Library of Congress to help it preserve thousands of hours of aging material. The newly combined company will offer a new system capable of accessing stored content and making it available in a cost-effective way.

Front Porch Digital has offered its DIVArchive nearline and online storage solutions for more than five years. Knaisch said he sees a huge opportunity for Front Porch Digital. There are more than 7000PB of high-value data stored only on videotape across the United States. An estimated 5 percent of this content is lost to deterioration each year, while the expense of digitizing it has proved prohibitive.

SAMMA Systems founder Jim Lindner recognized this opportunity when he began to develop solutions that provide a path to “the last mile to digital.” The flagship product includes robotic tape handling and simultaneous migration streams to allow tapes to be digitized in a totally unattended fashion. SAMMA Systems also manufactures computer-controlled tape cleaners, TBC/frame synchronizers and a Motion JPEG2000 lossless compression encoder.

The SAMMA system is available as a fully configured system, however components can be purchased individually to address specific needs. Front Porch Digital offers a variety of new modules for its DIVArchive technology, which can now be found in more than 270 installations across 50 countries, representing 9.5 million hours of content and more than 60PB of data storage.

The company’s DIVArchive v.6.1 can preserve, share and access content from more applications (automation systems, media asset management, newsroom systems, etc.) and more devices (video servers, editing environments, browsing servers, etc.), locally or remotely, than ever before. Content migration and transcoding plug-ins extend usage and access to new devices and new delivery networks.

The SAMMA executive team will remain intact, although they will expand their responsibilities to include the marketing and sales of Front Porch Digital’s product line in the United States as well. For example, Mark Gray, CEO at SAMMA, will now serve as executive vice president and general manager of the new company’s Americas division. Lindner will continue to oversee product development.

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