BBC signs with IBM in yet another content deal

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BBC signs with IBM in yet another content deal

Antony Savvas

The BBC has signed its third major technology deal in a matter of months, after announcing that it will work with IBM to develop media content distribution systems and improve the sharing of business data across the organisation.

Last year, the BBC signed a major content distribution and technology deal with Microsoft, and last week teamed with Google-owned YouTube to produce content for the video clips distribution network.

The IBM deal will cover several projects, and one of the first initiatives will focus on applying state-of-the-art image/video search technologies to CBeebies and CBBC children’s programmes.

This IBM Research system, code-named “Marvel”, has the ability to visually analyse images/video to categorise the content based on appearance and make it more searchable. 

The project will use Marvel to create a set of multimedia interactive search experiences for accessing BBC children’s content on-line.

Ashley Highfield, BBC director of future media and technology, said, “This alliance with IBM will offer new and genuinely innovative services to our audiences. For example, combining the BBC's massive TV and radio archive with IBM's cutting-edge research into video and audio search technology, should provide the means to unlocking huge latent value in our long tail of content.”

In addition, IBM will work with the BBC’s official technology partner Siemens to deploy a pilot of Big Blue’s Media Hub technology, in order to trial new business processes and ways of working amongst the BBC’s creative teams. 

The pilot follows the recent deployment by Siemens of IBM’s WebSphere products, which sit at the centre of the BBC’s service oriented architecture.

IBM is also discussing potential collaboration projects with the BBC in areas including content distribution, customer relations management, joint research, and rights management. Siemens will work in conjunction with the BBC and IBM on these projects too.

BBC and Microsoft work on new distribution channels

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