ITV has moved a step closer to a tapeless workflow after selling Independent Facilities Centre (ITFC) to digital services company Elektrofilm for£8.1m.
ITV has moved a step closer to a tapeless workflow after selling Independent Facilities Centre (ITFC) to digital services company Elektrofilm for £8.1m.

Elektrofilm is a subsidiary of production and distribution specialist the Medici Group.

As part of the transaction, ITFC, now owned by Elektrofilm, has agreed a long-term service deal with ITV.

Although the company will provide many of the same services initially, such as sub-titling and post facilities, the deal will let ITV move towards implementing a digital asset management (DAM) solution.

This and the repurposing of material is the focus of the Medici Group, headed by chief executive Robert Walston. ITV Broadcasting director of broadcast resources Helen Stevens said ITFC and Medici would be a key partner in ITV's migration to DAM and its distribution.

DAM includes searching, verifying and organising content, with repurposing and distribution becoming more important. It has long been talked about as the most likely way of working in the future, but take-up has been relatively limited so far.

DAM can be a difficult service to provide. The more people involved in creating a project (reporters, production crews, camera crews, producers etc) the more complicated - and probably more expensive - the access system will be.

It can also be hard to convince broadcasters and producers of the savings offered by the system. But there is a growing feeling that DAM is necessary because of the move from tape to digital, the need to move content internationally, and the proliferation of platforms such as mobile and the web.

The likes of Ascent Media, Prime Focus and Red Bee Media all provide DAM solutions. Neil Lane, managing director of the VTR Group, a holding company for post house Prime Focus London, said: 'Selling a DAM solution can be a nightmare.

'A company needs to know where its efficiency savings will be. It is easy if you can tell it that it no longer needs to allocate money for a courier bill, but just how its HR team will need to change or how a new workflow will affect a company's top line is difficult to quantify. It must be worked out on a company by company basis.'

Ascent Media UK chief technology officer Adrian Bull is more positive about demand for DAM. Ascent has been working with broadcasters and studios in this area for some time and sees an increasing demand from smaller independent producers, advertising agencies and archives.

Bull said ITV's tie-in with Elektrofilm and Medici reflected a growing acceptance of the need for the hosting, repurposing and distribution of digital assets.

He said: 'There is a lot of high value content aimed at younger audiences that can be monetised via repurposing for the web or mobile. Leading broadcasters and production companies do not need to be convinced of the need for DAM; they are already there.'

Technology research company Gistics has also backed DAM, saying it can save companies considerable sums.

It said around £4,000 per person is spent annually on traditional file management, while a DAM solution for a broadcaster can cost between £20,000 for a managed event to £1m per year for a managed service for all its content.