Avid Acquires Blue Order, Ties Media Asset Management to Production Workflows

Avid has acquired media asset management technology provider Blue Order, a move that continues Avid’s expansion beyond production tools like editing and graphics systems and into the larger content creation and management ecosystem. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“We’ve worked with Blue Order as a partner as they have the leading media asset management capability in the marketplace,” says Kirk Arnold, Avid, COO. “We share common customers and now we can deploy systems and think of asset management in the context of our customer’s business.”

Avid wasted no time in showing off the result of the deal as Avid’s Interplay product line now includes a new module, Interplay Media Asset Manager (MAM), based on the Blue Order Media Archive product. The new module makes it easier for those using Interplay for content management to collect, index, catalog, manipulate, retrieve and distribute rich media.

“Our customers can now leverage their content as the MAM manages finished assets and can pass them on to distribution networks,” says Craig Dwyer, Avid, senior director, project management. Dwyer adds, however, that Avid is not involved with the actual content distribution platform but there is rights management aspects to the system.

Interplay Media Asset Manager will be integrated with the existing Interplay production asset management solution, now called Interplay Production, forming a combined family of Interplay products that satisfy customer workflows in acquisition, production, archive and distribution.

On the production side, Interplay’s database server controls the ingest of content and coordinates the software-based editing tools that are tied into the video server. Content can be accessed through standard streaming formats like Quicktime, MPEG-4 proxy video, and MP2 audio. It also allows for Avid products to tie into Apple Final Cut Pro, offering media check-in and check-out with project links as well as media and metadata conversion of Apple-to-Avid and Avid-to-Apple projects. And Interplay Delivery offers one-step transfer of subclips and shot lists.

In recent years Blue Order has made strides into the broadcast sports market, most recently inking a deal with ESPN BRASIL to gradually migrate into a fully file-based operation and digitize a 40,000 hour tape archive. In that application Blue Order’s MAM solution, Media Archive version 3.2, is the intelligent layer that serves as the central repository of metadata tied into a Front Porch DIVArchive. The transcoding engine chosen is Rhozet’s Carbon Coder, generating proxy copies and thumbnails from the original essence files and it will be controlled directly from Blue Order’s Media Archive system. Nearline Storage are provided by IBM and a TS3500 LT03 Tape Library.

“The openness and flexibility of Blue Order’s technology was a centerpiece in the decision to acquire them,” says Arnold. “They have an understanding of industry-based standards and service-based architectures for open, component based systems.”

Relying on Web services will allow customers to bring teams located in different locations into a single integrated media platform. For example, an open media catalog that can handle any type of media, tracks the history of assets, and provides multiple layers of time-based metadata is now part of the Interplay system. This enables customers to easily identify which assets are available, what rights they have to the content and how to easily repurpose the content for distribution.

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