Thought Equity Motion Extends NCAA Partnership to New Rights Window

As the NCAA and Turner dive into their long-term digital-rights agreement, Thought Equity Motion has also extended its archival partnership with the association. TEM serves as the licensor for archival NCAA video content, including the NCAA Vault video archive. Under the extended agreement, TEM will increase the size and scope of both licensing and technology roles, taking on “near-live” licensing rights on the development side and expanding its content-digitization commitment on the technology side.

Living in the Near-Live
Previously, TEM put most of its rights-development energy into the NCAA’s archival rights, but the company has now set its sights on a new window: the near-live window.

“Instead of just seeing the live event broadcast and then placing everything else behind that, we really like the development of this near-live right for the one year right after the event,” explains Dan Weiner, VP of marketing and products for TEM. “We’ve grown the licensing revenue for the archive through work with sponsors on build-up packages for things that lead up to the event. Elements like the NCAA Vault really extend what used to be just about the four weeks that the [Division I Men’s Basketball] tournament is on TV.”

Under the new agreement, in addition to managing the archive window, TEM will manage licensing for the near-live window across television and cross-media platforms (such as documentary use). Turner will manage the digital part of that one-year near-live window.

“Through a mix of what we did with digitization and technology, our licensing expertise and being more aggressive and innovative with sponsors, we’ve grown revenues by double-digit percentages each year on the archive side,” Weiner says. “Creating that year-round window is a nice connection point to what had previously been just the live right.”

A Bigger Vault
On the technology side, TEM will continue to digitize, preserve, and add metadata to the growing NCAA archive, where the library has grown past 10,000 hours. The company will digitize additional content, including adding NCAA championship events in women’s basketball, baseball, and wrestling to the Vault, and deliver archival video dynamically through its APIs.

“Given the way rights are developing, you can’t separate technology tools from the ways you start to drive value in a world that involves more interactivity and richer metadata,” Weiner says. “It’s great not just that the NCAA history is archived, but now anyone at the NCAA can log in, search, preview, download clips, and access the content internally in a B-to-B way.”

Working with the Turner interactive team, Weiner hopes to integrate the Vault into the March Madness on Demand streaming application for the 2011 tournament. Around each game, the Vault can provide historical context, clips from past games and relevant players, and a way to tie the past content into the current year’s experience.

“It’s great for the fans and creates monetization opportunities,” Weiner says. “When you have the content curated, accessible, and digital, we can start to create a richer experience.”

Three’s a Partnership
Although the Turner partnership means that TEM does not have control over the NCAA’s digital rights, Weiner says that the deal allows all three companies to work together.

“If you look at how this has evolved, I think the NCAA did a good job in talking with Turner and us in realizing the way these things can fit together and support each other,” Weiner says. “Fans are interested in the history of the game, and they are engaged with teams year-round. There’s an opportunity to really enhance the experience if different partners are working together, and I think the NCAA has done a good job of recognizing that.”

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