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Ascent Media Content Distribution — Roger Henderson

(click thumbnail)Roger HendersonQ. What broad technology trends do you think will be front-and-centre at IBC2008?

There are three big industry trends that look poised to take centre stage at IBC2008:

  • 3D is a rapidly growing category with companies involved in content development, production tools and supply chain technologies emerging. HD is by and large a standard platform, and 3D represents the next generation.
  • Content security is always an important topic and with a huge industry shift towards multiplatform delivery, so techniques such as fingerprinting/watermarking are increasingly necessary to protect content that is being more widely distributed.
  • Mobile video and IPTV services have made big promises over the past few years, but have yet to deliver in terms of revenue. This may be the year that vendors and operators show the new technologies and services that will finally get consumers onboard.

Q. What’s new that you will show at IBC2008 and that broadcasters should look for there?
At the IBC convention this year we will be showcasing Viia, a suite of file-based media services that enable content to be digitised once, stored, managed, repurposed and distributed globally in multiple formats and languages to numerous providers simultaneously. We have some customers who alone need content repurposed in over 70 formats in terms of metadata, sizing, quality etc. Viia makes this process simple and allows content distribution on an international scale.

The Ascent Media team will also be talking more about its Global Media Exchange (GMX), which complements Viia in bringing together massive libraries of content into the marketplace to meet the growing demand for content across a diverse range of formats. GMX provides a platform to match content rights owners to people who need content and enable the monetising of the “long tail” of assets that are currently locked away in vaults and warehouses because marketing costs are not economically viable. GMX can be imagined as the Amazon for media professionals.

Q. How is your new product/service offering different from what’s available on the market?

There are many companies that can repurpose and distribute content, but few if any on the scale of Ascent Media. We truly have global reach, with our hubs in Singapore, London, New York and Los Angeles interconnected by a diverse, high reliability and managed infrastructure, which provides the backbone and scalability to deliver file-based or real-time media almost anywhere in the world.

Q. Where are you based, and how many employees do you have? Anything else we should know about your company?

Ascent Media Network Services has content distribution facilities in Los Angeles, Calif.; New York, NY; Stamford, Conn.; Minneapolis, Minn.; London, England and Singapore. I am based at the Stephen Street London office and there are 300 employees here with a total global staff head count of around 1,000.

Q. How many years have you been going to the IBC show and what’s your fondest memory? What’s your favourite restaurant or pub?

I first went to the IBC exhibition back in 1984 — that was back in the good old days when it used to be held in Brighton, but things have moved on since then and the move to Amsterdam was definitely a step up. Perhaps my fondest memory at one show, was a last-minute, massive order, which we “stole” from a competitor. The customer was all but leaving the show and on the way out strolled past our company’s stand, the last in the hall. They stopped by, liked what they saw and signed the contract with us soon after, which was a great feeling. Had drinks on that for weeks afterwards.

It’s hard to single out a favourite restaurant although I can highly recommend Restaurant d’Vijff Vlieghen (Five Flies), which always seems to get me back year on year — definitely worth booking a table.