The BBC, ITV and Channel 4 are working towards the file based delivery of programmes by 2014.

As part of the drive away from the tape-based delivery of programmes, the cross-broadcaster Digital Production Partnership (DPP) will release a common standard for the file-based delivery of programmes before the end of the year.

The DPP said the tech spec will be a response to producers citing “unnecessary complexity and lack of standardisation” as one of the key barriers to digital production.

Channel 4’s chief technology officer Broadcast and Distribution and DPP technical standards chair Kevin Burrows said: “Having one set of standards for file-based delivery across the industry is of huge benefit in ensuring ease of exchange. 

“It will also save costs for independent producers as well as minimising confusion amongst programme makers.” 

The DPP has worked with US-based Advanced Media Workflow Association (AMWA) on a new standard for HD files. 

AS-11 is planned to  be published by AMWA by the end of the year, and the DPP guidelines will require files delivered to UK broadcasters to be compliant with a specified subset of this internationally recognised file structure. The metadata standards have been developed with reference to the European Broadcasting Union’s ‘EBU Core’. 

From 2012, the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 will begin to take delivery of programmes as files “on a selective basis”, with file-based delivery the preferred format by 2014.

The DPP today released a report on digital production that argues that broadcasters, suppliers and manufacturers have failed to understand the practical realities and frustrations of the production community.

The Mediasmiths-produced The Reluctant Revolution: Breaking Down Barriers to Digital Production in Television report found that although the move to end-to-end digital production is “inevitable”, “the pace of change is limited by the lack of clear signposts or standard ways of working, and therefore a reluctance in the production community to set off on the journey”.

Controller of production, BBC North and BBC lead for the DPP Mark Harrison (pictured, right) said: “Those of us who have been evangelists for the creative and business benefits of fully digital production have been mystified by the slow pace of change.

“This report explains that slowness, and offers practical suggestions for how change can be accelerated – not least by recognising that broadcasters must get more involved.”

For more on the DPP and Mediasmiths report see this week’s issue of Broadcast magazine.