The BBC has outsourced part of its much-maligned digital media initiative (DMI) project to a consortium of three technology firms.
IT infrastructure services company Computacenter, media technology consultant Mediasmiths and software platform Vidispine have been tasked with delivering the infrastructure for DMI, which will see an end-to-end digital workflow installed at the broadcaster.
Broadcast understands the consortium’s work will address the back-end storage and video processing aspects of the project.
One area being tackled by the firms relates to the complexities of handling video, including the range of codecs that can be difficult to integrate with standard IT systems.
A media workflow designed by Mediasmiths has been overlaid onto an IT infrastructure provided by Computacenter, while Vidispine has dealt with content processing and compatibility between different edit suites, such as moving content and metadata from Final Cut Pro into Avid, and vice versa.
One of the challenges involved creating an architecture that can host different versions of files, transitions and effects through to single frames.
The majority of the project is still being completed in-house, following the BBC’s decision to ditch technology partner IT firm Siemens in 2009 after it missed a series of deadlines.
A BBC Trust-commissioned report by the National Audit Office (NAO) in February criticised the corporation over the appointment of Siemens, accusing the broadcaster of failing to deliver value for money.
One of the firms in the consortium said the BBC had been “very careful in how it went about the procurement process. I think it learned a lot of lessons from the NAO review. The BBC has been sensible in its approach. This time around we are getting a strong sense of pragmatism.”
The consortium’s involvement in the project is due for completion by the end of the summer, in time for the core delivery of DMI later this year.
A BBC spokesperson said: “The Computacenter-led consortium is primarily responsible for delivering the infrastructure for DMI as this was the most cost-effective way to deliver this part of the project. They are on schedule for delivery by the end of the summer.”